Forum Editorial Board
North Dakota should raise taxes on tobacco products. The state’s tax is among the lowest in the nation (44 cents on a pack of cigarettes), indeed lower than some of...
North Dakota’s attorney general again warned that sex trafficking in oil country is, by state historical standards, approaching epidemic levels. Wayne Stenehjem was on the airwaves last week reporting how easy it’s been for law enforcement agents to set up stings and nab men who were seeking to buy sex involving girls as young as 12 and 13. Every successful sting reveals the pervasiveness of the sex trade. All the pretty spin on the obvious benefits of oil and gas development in North Dakota’s Bakken cannot put a happy face on sex trafficking.
North Dakotans should not cheer too loudly about the decline in youth binge drinking, as reported last week by the national Youth Risk Behavior Survey. The rate fell from 41.5 percent in 2001 to 21.9 percent last year. That’s a significant decline, but it still puts North Dakota kids slightly ahead of the national average. Progress certainly has been made.
Americans are a contentious lot. They scrap and scrabble over most everything. In politics, they draw lines, point figures, assign malicious motivations to adversaries, fight like hell to get elected to public office, and then brutally criticize public service. They cast a jaundiced eye on institutions of government. They instinctively mistrust big business. They honor the armed services but resist foreign entanglements. They savage big media but demand the press call government to account.