Here are today’s must read opinion and editorial columns.
RULE BY RENTIERS BY PAUL KRUGMAN
NEW YORK TIMES
The only real beneficiaries of Pain Caucus policies (aside from the Chinese government) are the rentiers: bankers and wealthy individuals with lots of bonds in their portfolios…Creditor-friendly policies are crippling the economy. This is a negative-sum game, in which the attempt to protect the rentiers from any losses is inflicting much larger losses on everyone else. And the only way to get a real recovery is to stop playing that game.
POLITICIANS BEHAVING WELL BY DAVID BROOKS
NEW YORK TIMES
In the 19th century, Anthony Trollope wrote a series of popular novels fussing over what it means to behave well in political life…I’m not sure his exemplars could thrive amid the TV politics of today, which calls for grand promises and bold colors. But there are prudent, reserved people in government even now. And if more people spent their evenings at least thinking about what exemplary behavior means, they might be less likely to find themselves sending out emotionally stunted tweets late at night.
GOV. CUOMO AND PUBLIC PENSIONS EDITORIAL
NEW YORK TIMES
Over the last decade, the state’s pension costs have risen tenfold, and the city’s have risen nearly eightfold, largely because lawmakers were eager to curry favor with public employee unions, which are among their most generous campaign contributors. While schoolchildren crammed into crowded classrooms and poor families lost medical coverage, public employees preserved better benefits than those in many other states and did far better than private-sector workers.
BRING HOME THE TROOPS BY EUGENE ROBINSON
The hawks tell us that now, more than ever, we must stay the course — that finally, after Obama nearly tripled U.S. troop levels, we are winning…I take a different view. We should declare victory and leave. We wanted to depose the Taliban regime, and we did. We wanted to install a new government that answers to its constituents at the polls, and we did. We wanted to smash al-Qaeda’s infrastructure of training camps and havens, and we did. We wanted to kill or capture Osama bin Laden, and we did.
PAWLENTY’S MAGICAL ECONOMIC PLAN BY RUTH MARCUS
The centerpiece of Pawlenty’s plan is massive new tax cuts. The corporate tax would be slashed from 35 percent to 15 percent. Capital gains taxes, taxes on dividends and interest, the estate tax — all would disappear. Families would pay a 10 percent tax rate on the first $100,000 of income, 25 percent on everything above that. If you’re thinking — oh good, flatter, fairer tax system, think again. Pawlenty is lowering individual income tax rates and keeping the existing hodgepodge of deductions and credits. This is the worst of all possible worlds (lower revenue and a complex tax code).
SOMEONE HAD A GOOD WEEK BY PEGGY NOONAN
WALL STREET JOURNAL
The real problem for Romney is: Does he mean it? Is he serious when he takes a stand? Has he thought it through or merely adopted it? And there is of course religion. In a silly and baiting interview with Piers Morgan on CNN, Mr. Romney swatted away an insistence that he delve into Mormonism and, by implication, defend it. It was like seeing some Brit in 1960 trying to make John F. Kennedy explain and defend Catholicism. It’s not something we do in America. Because we still have a little class.