Must Read Op-Eds for October 18, 2011

Updated

POLLING THE OCCUPY WALL STREET CROWD BY DOUGLAS SCHOEN
WALL STREET JOURNAL
President Obama and the Democratic leadership are making a critical error in embracing the Occupy Wall Street movement—and it may cost them the 2012 election. Last week, senior White House adviser David Plouffe said that “the protests you’re seeing are the same conversations people are having in living rooms and kitchens all across America… . People are frustrated by an economy that does not reward hard work and responsibility, where Wall Street and Main Street don’t seem to play by the same set of rules.” Nancy Pelosi and others have echoed the message.

WE CAN ALL BECOMES JOB CREATORS BY JOE NOCERA
NEW YORK TIMES

Here’s the idea [Starbucks] came up with: Americans themselves would start lending to small businesses, with Starbucks serving as the middleman. Starbucks would find financial institutions willing to loan to small businesses. Starbucks customers would be able to donate money to the effort when they bought their coffee. Those who gave $5 or more would get a red-white-and-blue wristband, which Schultz labeled “Indivisible.” “We are hoping it will bring back pride in the American dream,” he says. The tag line will read: “Americans Helping Americans.” … Here is the most beautiful part about the whole arrangement. The donations to Create Jobs for USA … will be turned into capital - equity that can be leveraged. Pinsky and others told me that that equity can be leveraged 7 to 1, meaning that if 10 million Starbucks customers donate $5, that will support $350 million worth of lending. That’s real money.

THE GREAT RESTORATION BY DAVID BROOKS
NEW YORK TIMES

56 percent [of Americans] have said “government spending when the government is already running a deficit is the wrong approach during an economic downturn because it is only a temporary solution that increases long-term debt.” These majorities are focused on the fundamentals. They say that repairing the economic moral fabric is the essential national task right now. They are suspicious of government action … But they support specific federal policies that nurture industriousness, responsibility and delayed gratification, like spending on infrastructure, education and research. They distinguish between the deserving and undeserving rich. America went through a similar values restoration in the 1820s. Then, too, people sensed that the country had grown soft and decadent. Then, too, Americans rebalanced. They did it quietly and in private.

REPUBLICANS AND FOREIGN POLICY EDITORIAL
NEW YORK TIMES

Certainly, the Republican hopefuls have put to rest any lingering notion that their party is the one to trust with the nation’s security. … Some made weak attempts to resurrect Reagan-era ideas about American leadership that make no sense today. Accusing President Obama of being weak or refusing to lead is ludicrous when you consider all he has done to repair the damage his predecessor did to America’s standing in the world. Then there was that small matter of assassinating Osama bin Laden. The Republican hopefuls seem to know that their main talking point is to criticize Mr. Obama, but, when it comes to global affairs, they are not quite sure how or why.

OCCUPY ‘FILL-IN-THE-BLANK’ BY ANNE APPLEBAUM
WASHINGTON POST

Unlike the Egyptians in Tahrir Square, to whom the London and New York protesters openly (and ridiculously) compare themselves, we have democratic institutions in the Western world. They are designed to reflect, at least crudely, the desire for political change within a given nation. But they cannot cope with the desire for global political change, nor can they control things that happen outside their borders. Although I still believe in globalization’s economic and spiritual benefits — along with open borders, freedom of movement and free trade — globalization has clearly begun to undermine the legitimacy of Western democracies. “Global” activists, if they are not careful, will accelerate that decline. Protesters in London shout,“We need to have a process!” Well, they already have a process: It’s called the British political system. And if they don’t figure out how to use it, they’ll simply weaken it further.

THE DEMS’ OPPORTUNITY BY EUGENE ROBINSON
WASHINGTON POST

If Democrats reap a political windfall from Occupy Wall Street, it will not be richly deserved… Although Obama is disliked by many on Wall Street for his rhetoric… the fact is that he decided not to seek fundamental reforms. It is also a fact that Wall Street is a major source of campaign financing for both parties. At present, Wall Street donors are giving heavily to Romney… In July, however, the Center for Responsive Politics reported that of the $35 million collected this year by Obama’s top-tier fundraisers, one-third came from the financial industry. Apparently, animosity is no match for self-interest. By calling attention to this unholy alliance of financial power and political power, the Occupy Wall Street protests struck a nerve. The Republican Party is trapped on the wrong side of this issue. Democrats should be moving boldly, not timidly, to claim the issue of economic justice as their own.

A NEW SPENDING RECORD EDITORIAL
WALL STREET JOURNAL

Under those same tax rates in 2007, the government raised $2.57 trillion in revenue but it spent only $2.73 trillion. Four years later, the government raised $265 billion less thanks to the tepid recovery, but it spent nearly $900 billion more thanks to the never-ending Washington stimulus. The lesson for Congress’s super committee contemplating fiscal reform is that faster economic growth and spending restraint are the keys to reducing deficits. Higher taxes will hurt growth and feed a Washington spending appetite that is as voracious as ever, despite the claims of political sacrifice.

THE REALITY SHOW FACING GOP VOTERS BY JOE SCARBOROUGH
POLITICO

The fact that Citizen Cain takes great pride in his ignorance of global affairs is understandably unnerving to American voters in this unstable age. But on the small stage on which Mr. Cain now finds himself, the Godfather’s Pizza CEO fits with these vapid times as much as James Dean did with his in the 1950s classic, “Rebel Without a Cause.” Sadly, Cain and his fellow cast members are little more than rebels without a clue. That reality is a dismal curtain call for the Republican party and the country it hopes to run. Compared with the GOP’s field of reality stars, George W. Bush looks like Brando, Paul Ryan is as attractive as Robert Redford, and Chris Christie is Brad Pitt. So much for an audition process that leaves the audience, once again, aching for more.

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Must Read Op-Eds for October 18, 2011

Updated