Must-Read Op-Eds for Monday, April 16, 2012

Updated
 
The Buffett rule, named after billionaire investor Warren Buffett, above.
The Buffett rule, named after billionaire investor Warren Buffett, above.
Nati Harnik / AP

THE SWEET SPOT
BY BILL KELLER
NEW YORK TIMES

The problem isn’t that the Buffett Rule is necessarily a bad idea. It isn’t that “social Darwinism” is a slander on Republicans. (Heck, it may be the only Darwinism Romney believes in.) The problem is that when Obama thrusts these populist themes to the center of his narrative, he sounds a little desperate. The candidate who ran on hope — promising to transcend bickering and get things done — is in danger of sounding like the candidate of partisan insurgency. Just as Romney was unconvincing as a right-wing scourge, Obama, a man lofty in his visions but realistic in his governance, feels inauthentic playing a plutocrat-bashing firebrand. The role the middle really wants him to play, I think, is president.


EUROPE’S ECONOMIC SUICIDE
BY PAUL KRUGMAN
NEW YORK TIMES

In March, European leaders signed a fiscal pact that in effect locks in fiscal austerity as the response to any and all problems. Meanwhile, key officials at the central bank are making a point of emphasizing the bank’s willingness to raise rates at the slightest hint of higher inflation. So it’s hard to avoid a sense of despair. Rather than admit that they’ve been wrong, European leaders seem determined to drive their economy — and their society — off a cliff. And the whole world will pay the price.

FROM THE BIRTHPLACE OF BIG BROTHER
EDITORIAL
NEW YORK TIMES

Britain has no formal equivalent of America’s constitutional guarantee against unreasonable search, although that concept is rooted in English common law. But Britain has its own long and admirable civil liberties traditions going back to the Magna Carta of 1215. With London’s Olympics just months away, we recognize the need for vigilance against terrorist plots. But this legislation would go much too far. It needs to be rethought to protect the privacy of innocent British citizens.

FIX INCOME INEQUALITY WITH $10 MILLION LOANS FOR EVERYONE
BY SHEILA BAIR
WASHINGTON POST

Some may worry about inflation and long-term stability under my proposal. I say they lack faith in our country. So what if it cost 50 billion marks to mail a letter when the German central bank tried printing money to pay idle workers in 1923 That couldn’t happen here. This is America. Why should hedge funds and big financial institutions get all the goodies Look out 1 percent, here we come.

ROSEN WAS RIGHT: ROMNEY HAS NEVER WORKED A DAY IN HER LIFE
BY LINDA HIRSHMAN
WASHINGTON POST

Although Democrats probably don’t think so, Rosen’s gaffe may be a blessing. It’s time to stop treating women as if we were one monolithic interest group. … Maybe Democrats ought to concentrate on those voters — single women, wage-earning women — who do have an interest in equal pay. … But what if Rosen could teach her kids something more valuable: what it means to say something true and difficult, and stand by it. Her comments were uncharacteristically tone-deaf. But her call to focus on those women who are really hurt by job losses was pitch-perfect.

EVENTS DO NOT WAIT AS OBAMA PLAYS A DELAY DEFENSE
BY JACKSON DIEHL
WASHINGTON POST

If the [Iranian] regime then cheats, or refuses to negotiate a more lasting solution to its pursuit of nuclear technology, Obama will end his term with Iran closer to a an atomic bomb than it was in 2009. And if Iran won’t agree, and the talks collapse? Then Obama’s effort to stop history until November will once again depend on a man who probably would like to see him lose the election: Netanyahu. That’s the problem with asking for “space”: It tends to get filled by others.

WHY YOUR HIGHWAY HAS POTHOLES
EDITORIAL
WALL STREET JOURNAL

Less federal control would also allow states to lure billions of dollars of private financing for new roads … One of the worst features of Ms. Boxer’s Senate bill is that she would exacerbate the funding shortage by adding new penalties if states leverage private dollars to build new toll roads and bridges. The Senate’s highway-fund bailout will only perpetuate the spending misallocation that has contributed to traffic nightmares. It will also run up the deficit. If Congress really wants to enhance the livability of cities and suburbs, it will pass a highway bill that builds more roads.

 

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Must-Read Op-Eds for Monday, April 16, 2012

Updated