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

Updated
 

BITTER POLITICS OF ENVY?
BY CHARLES M. BLOW
NEW YORK TIMES

In his New Hampshire victory speech on Tuesday, Romney lambasted his Republican opponents (who have raised real issues about his role at the private equity firm Bain Capital) for following the lead of President Obama, whom he described as a leader who divides us “with the bitter politics of envy.”…But somewhere along the way this got lost. Greed got good. The rich wanted all of the societal benefits and none of the societal responsibilities. They got addicted to seeing profits go up and taxes go down, by any means necessary, no matter the damage to the individual or the collective. Those Maseratis weren’t going to pay for themselves.

THE BENEFITS OF BAIN CAPITALISM
BY ROSS DOUTHAT
NEW YORK TIMES

But neither was Romney the Henry Ford-esque job creator he’s tried to play on the campaign trail. He served his investors, not his employees, and his goal was always to make an uncompetitive company competitive, even if that required cutting paychecks and shuttering plants along the way. What’s more, Bain usually found a way to reap profits even when the overhaul failed and the company went belly-up… Keeping America’s edge came at a cost. Our economy became more efficient, but also more ruthless and Darwinian. Our G.D.P. kept rising, but the new wealth was less evenly distributed. The revolution delivered growth, but at the expense of stability and certainty. And for many Americans, even the “modest net impact” of private equity buyouts cost them a solid, good-paying job.

WHAT THEY DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT
EDITORIAL
NEW YORK TIMES

Anyone who criticizes Mr. Romney’s business practices now faces the absurd charge of putting free-market capitalism on trial. No one is trying to end capitalism, but President Obama is calling for more effective regulation to protect consumers. While Republicans attack a supposed “entitlement culture,” Mr. Obama is calling for strengthening a desperately needed safety net. And he is calling for raising taxes on the wealthy, particularly for those on Wall Street and in private equity, to protect that safety net and reduce the deficit. Mr. Romney has based his campaign on his business experience. Americans need to know how that experience was gained, and what values — if any — it represents. Class reality has nothing to do with class warfare.

HOW FARES THE DREAM?
BY PAUL KRUGMAN
NEW YORK TIMES

[A]lthough we still see ourselves as the land of opportunity, we actually have less intergenerational economic mobility than other advanced nations. That is, the chances that someone born into a low-income family will end up with high income, or vice versa, are significantly lower here than in Canada or Europe. … That is not a development we should meekly accept. … Luckily, however, there were people like Martin Luther King who refused to stay quiet. And we should follow their example today. For the fact is that rising inequality threatens to make America a different and worse place — and we need to reverse that trend to preserve both our values and our dreams.

RON PAUL’S ACHIEVEMENT
BY CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER
WASHINGTON POST
I see libertarianism as an important critique of the Leviathan state, not a governing philosophy. As for [Ron] Paul himself, I find him a principled, somewhat wacky, highly engaging eccentric. … [T]he plain fact is that Paul is nurturing his movement toward visibility and legitimacy. Paul is 76. He knows he’ll never enter the promised land. But he’s clearing the path for son Rand, his better placed (Senate vs. House), more moderate, more articulate successor. And it matters not whether you find amusement in libertarians practicing dynastic succession. What Paul has already wrought is a signal achievement, the biggest story yet of this presidential campaign.

WE’RE ALL GUILTY OF DEHUMANIZING THE ENEMY
BY SEBASTIAN JUNGER
WASHINGTON POST

A 19-year-old Marine has a very hard time reconciling the fact that it’s okay to waterboard a live Taliban fighter but not okay to urinate on a dead one. … The Internet and the news media are filled with self-important men and women referring to our enemies as animals that deserve little legal or moral consideration. We have sent enemy fighters to countries like Syria and Libya to be tortured by the very regimes that we have recently condemned for engaging in war crimes and torture. … For the past 10 years, American children have absorbed these moral contradictions, and now they are fighting our wars. The video doesn’t surprise me, but it makes me incredibly sad — not just for them, but also for us.

MARTIN LUTHER KING AND THE DREAM THAT CAME TRUE
BY EUGENE ROBINSON
WASHINGTON POST

As he predicted, King did not live to reach the mountaintop. But his leadership — and that of so many others in the civil rights movement — set us on a path that changed the nation in ways that once seemed unimaginable. Racism, sexism and all the other poisonous -isms have not been eradicated, but they have been dramatically reduced and marginalized. It is difficult for young people to believe that overt discrimination — “You can’t have that job because you’re black” or “I’m going to pay you less because you’re a woman” — used to be seen as normal. … Demographic change is about to make this a nation without a white majority; by the middle of the century, we’ll be an increasingly diverse collection of racial and ethnic minorities — held together, even more than in the past, by the ideals of the nation’s founding documents.

THE SECRETS OF TEBOW HATRED
BY MICHAEL MEDVED
WALL STREET JOURNAL

Hoping that the hero stumbles in terms of personal integrity might seem churlish and cruel, but it’s more acceptable to root for onfield performance that gives evidence of mere mortality. Tebow hatred may recede significantly if that hard-lovin’ ladies man Tom Brady and his New England Patriots manage to corral the Apostle Timothy and his blessed Broncos on Saturday. This means that even if the final numbers work against him in the game, Tim Tebow might actually come out ahead in scoring with the public.

THE TRUTH ABOUT BAIN AND JOBS
BY HOLMAN JENKINS
WALL STREET JOURNAL

Looking back, it may even be true that his ratio of jobs created to jobs destroyed was better than the economy’s as a whole. What does this have to do with [Romney’s] presidency? Perhaps not much, but one thing he didn’t learn at Bain Capital was to twiddle his thumbs because taking action might make somebody mad at him. That’s not the worst qualification to bring to the Oval Office right now.

THE CIRCULAR FIRING SQUAD
BY FRED BARNES
THE WEEKLY STANDARD

Thanks to Gingrich and company, Democrats have been handed a gift that’s likely to keep on giving all year. Their attacks on Romney as a ruthless, uncaring businessman play into Obama’s reelection theme that the rich are the source of America’s economic trouble. Perry calls Romney a “vulture capitalist,” a tag certain to stick in the minds of voters. Because of his campaign strategy, Romney has all but encouraged opponents to go after his career at Bain Capital from 1984 to 1999. … Romney’s idea for restoring good times to America isn’t a policy or program or innovation. It’s himself. His performance at Bain demonstrates he has the know-how and experience to create economic growth and jobs. That’s his calling card.

THE RON PAUL FACTION
BY MARK STEYN
NATIONAL REVIEW

No candidate is ideal, and we conservatives are always enjoined not to make the perfect the enemy of the good — or in this case the enemy of the mediocre: Sitting next to me last Tuesday … Frank Luntz said that Romney in his victory speech was now starting to use words that resonate with the American people. The main word he used was “America.” On Tuesday night Romney told us he wants to restore America to an America where millions of Americans believe in the American ideal of a strong America for millions of Americans. Which is more than your average Belgian can say. The crowd responded appreciatively. An hour later a weird goofy gnome in a baggy suit two sizes too big came out and started yakking about the Federal Reserve, fiat money, and monetary policy “throughout all of history.” And the crowd went bananas! 

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

Updated