Must-Read Op-Eds for Feb. 5, 2013

Updated
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n_mj_orszag_130205

MORE JOBS, HIGHER PAY

EDITORIAL

NEW YORK TIMES

In recent years, the administration and Congress have been consumed with deficit reduction, which is antithetical to job creation because it curbs government spending when the economy is weak. Unless Mr. Obama can shift policy away from premature austerity and toward ways to bolster demand and foster investment, job growth will remain sluggish and unemployment high. What has been missing for years is a forceful labor agenda — one that calls for more jobs, but also has as its goal rising wages coupled with robust hiring. … In his first term — a time of persistent high unemployment, weak job growth, stagnating wages and rising income inequality — Mr. Obama neglected a basic labor agenda. He now has a chance to take corrective action.

STATE OF CONTENTMENT

DANA MILBANK

WASHINGTON POST

Kerry, after much striving, was finally where he belonged. At 69, he is in the job he had trained for his whole life — as a diplomat’s son, as a military man, as a young politician in a hurry, as a failed presidential candidate and as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Often rumored to be in line for the post in the past, Kerry was palpably joyful to have the prized assignment. … Not since John Quincy Adams, perhaps, has a man been bred to be secretary of state as John Kerry has. A son of the world and a scion of privilege, he struggled to demonstrate the common touch, mocked in 2004 for his windsurfing and his French. But for this job he’s well-suited… The crowd, although not quite as large as the one for Clinton’s departure on Friday, was as adoring as any Kerry has seen since ’04.

GOP RULES, PLEDGES AND COMMANDMENTS

RICHARD COHEN

WASHINGTON POST

[The Buckley Rule] went like this: Support the most conservative candidate who can win. …The operative words are “who can win” since a touching belief in witchcraft (Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell) or some antediluvian ideas about rape and conception (Todd Akin, Richard E. Mourdock) can and have had a deleterious effect on the Republican vote caused, mainly, by nausea. …The trouble is that the Buckley rule can run afoul of Ronald Reagan’s “11th Commandment” which, paraphrased, goes like this: Never, but never, speak ill of a fellow Republican… This a dilemma because to ensure that witchcrafters and medievalists of all sorts do not get to represent the GOP in Senate races, you have to speak ill of them by, of all things, telling the truth.

BARACK OBAMA, STRAIGHT SHOOTER?

JAMES TARANTO

WALL STREET JOURNAL

Just seven weeks after a massacre at an American elementary school, the White House released a photo of the president firing a gun. Strangely, no one seems to think this is in atrocious taste. We imagine the reaction would be quite different if it were, say, George W. Bush. … The photo, purportedly shot last Aug. 4 (which happens to be the president’s birthday), shows Obama holding a shotgun. The barrel is smoking, indicating that the gun has just been fired. What’s odd about it is that the president is aiming straight ahead, as if he were firing a rifle at a stationary target. But in skeet shooting, the target, a disk known as a clay pigeon, is moving. … We therefore surmise that the picture is the product of a photo shoot, not a skeet shoot.

HIGHER LEARNING, MEET LOWER JOB PROSPECTS

JANE SHAW

WALL STREET JOURNAL

Referring specifically to North Carolina’s 16-campus state university system, [Governor Pat] McCrory wondered if state funding incentives should encourage areas of study that align with the job market. Other disciplines, such as gender studies, Mr. McCrory said, might be subsidized less.  …The truth is: Elite universities, such as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, are doing a disservice when they lead students into majors with few, if any, job prospects. Stating such truths doesn’t mean you’re antagonistic to the liberal arts. … The governor may have understated the case. Many liberal-arts graduates, even from the best schools, aren’t getting jobs in large part because they didn’t learn much in school. They can’t write or speak well or intelligently analyze what they read.

Must-Read Op-Eds for Feb. 5, 2013

Updated