Must-Read Op-Eds for August 6, 2012

Updated
 
FRANKENSTEIN TAKES OVER THE MARKET
BY JOE NOCERA
NEW YORK TIMES

This week, yet another Wall Street firm most people have never heard of, relying on a computerized trading program that they can’t possibly understand, shook investors’ faith in the market. …Trying to stay a step ahead of its competitors, Knight [Capital]  rolled out some new trading software. The software wasn’t ready. Instead of fulfilling customers’ orders, Knight’s computers went on an out-of-control spree of rapid-fire buying and selling. …Even putting aside the havoc wreaked on customers, you’d think that self-preservation would have been enough for Knight to want to ensure that its software worked. But apparently not. Wall Street is now as blindly reliant on computers, on algorithms, on high-frequency trading, as it was once blindly reliant on the risk models that allowed “toxic bonds” to be rated Triple A. Wall Street has created its own Frankenstein. The machines are now in charge.

STOP RIGGING SYSTEM AGAINST SMALL BUSINESS
BY ELIZABETH WARREN
POLITICO

Washington politicians line up 10-deep to claim they support small businesses, but they avoid talking about a harsh reality: The system is rigged against small business. These owners can’t afford armies of lobbyists in D.C., but the big corporations can.  …We’ve got to close those loopholes and end the special breaks - so small businesses have a level playing field and a fair chance to succeed. …
If a business takes its profits to the Cayman Islands, ships its jobs overseas or finds a loophole to avoid paying its fair share of taxes, then that business now has a leg up over every small business and start up that can’t take advantage of those loopholes. Sometimes the big can get bigger not because they are better, but because they can work the system better. That’s bad for every small business in America. EMBRACING SHELDON ADELSON
BY THOMAS B. EDSALL
NEW YORK TIMES

There is a succinct answer to the question of why Romney would take the risk of closely associating himself with the immensely controversial
Adelson: 10 million dollars - the amount Adelson and his wife have contributed to the super Pac supporting Romney, Restore Our Future. The Adelsons are the largest donors to the Romney PAC. They have providing just over 12 percent of the $82.2 million Restore Our Future has raised so far. …Adelson’s cash is more than enough to persuade Romney to swallow his pride and embrace the man who, earlier in the campaign, spent millions on a different candidate. … At a minimum, Romney could tell us how he reconciles the values he says he stands for with the basis on which Adelson’s fortune is built.

THE RISKS OF INACTION IN SYRIA
BY JOHN MCCAIN, LINDSEY GRAHAM AND JOSEPH LIEBERMAN
WASHINGTON POST

All evidence suggests that, rather than peacefully surrendering power, Assad and his allies will fight to the bitter end, tearing apart the country in the process. America’s disengagement from this conflict carries growing costs - for the Syrian people and for U.S. interests.
Because we have refused to provide the rebels the assistance that would tip the military balance decisively against Assad, the United States is increasingly seen across the Middle East as acquiescing to the continued slaughter of Arab and Muslim civilians. This reluctance to lead will, we fear - like our failure to stop the slaughter of the Kurds and Shiites under Saddam Hussein in Iraq or of the Tutsis in Rwanda - haunt our nation for years to come.

STAY CLASSY, HARRY
EDITORIAL
WALL STREET JOURNAL

In his latest claim to statesmanship, [Harry Reid] is accusing Mitt Romney of not having paid taxes for 10 years based on a conversation Mr.
Reid claims to have had with a person who had invested with Bain Capital. … Mr. Romney’s problem is that he can only disprove the charge by releasing his tax returns, which he says he will not do for years other than 2010 and 2011. Mr. Reid knows this, which is why he has thrown out the unproven accusation from an unknown source. If someone calls him a liar, no one can prove that either. … But without any proof, Mr. Reid’s accusations are a smear from the fever swamps that say more about Mr. Reid’s ethics than they do about Mr. Romney’s taxes.

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Must-Read Op-Eds for August 6, 2012

Updated