Must Read Op-Eds for September 16, 2011

Updated
 

FREE TO DIE  BY PAUL KRUGMAN
NEW YORK TIMES
What this means is that modern conservatism is actually a deeply radical movement, one that is hostile to the kind of society we’ve had for the past three generations - that is, a society that, acting through the government, tries to mitigate some of the “common hazards of life” through such programs as Social Security, unemployment insurance, Medicare and Medicaid. Are voters ready to embrace such a radical rejection of the kind of America we’ve all grown up in? I guess we’ll find out next year. 

 

THE GREAT PONZI SCHEME  BY CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER
WASHINGTON POST
When Franklin Roosevelt created Social Security, choosing 65 as the eligibility age, life expectancy was 62. Today it is almost 80. FDR wanted to prevent the aged few from suffering destitution in their last remaining years. Social Security was not meant to provide two decades of greens fees for baby boomers. Of course it’s a Ponzi scheme. So what? It’s also the most vital, humane and fixable of all social programs. The question for the candidates is: Forget Ponzi — are you going to fix Social Security?

THE PLANNING FALLACY  BY DAVID BROOKS
 NEW YORK TIMES
Republicans should be reflecting on the fact that if a Republican president were in office right now, and even if he or she did sensible things, the economy would still be in the dumps. … When you are the president in a financial crisis, you have the power to pave roads and hire teachers. That will reduce the suffering of real people who would otherwise be jobless. You have the power to streamline regulations and reduce tax burdens. That will induce a bit more hiring and activity. These are real contributions.  

  

IT WASN’T REALLY AN UPSET  BY PEGGY NOONAN
WALL STREET JOURNAL
An upset is a surprise. The loss of Anthony Weiner’s former seat to the Republicans was not a surprise. It was the latest in a long string of referendums on the president’s leadership. That string started in 2009 when the New Jersey and Virginia governorships went Republican, and continued in 2010 with the loss of Ted Kennedy’s former Senate seat. Then there was last November. At first these elections looked like, and could be experienced by the White House as, an attempt at a corrective: Change your ways or you’ll lose us. By November 2010 they were a warning: You’re losing us, we’re leaving. Now they are simply more proof of a broad rejection: You’ve lost us.

 

U.N. RIGHT PLACE FOR PALESTINE  BY SHIBLEY TELHAMI & JOSHUA GOLDSTEIN
WASHINGTON POST
Even if the United States must negotiate any such resolution [with the Palestinians], the effort would be better received than attempts to dissuade the Palestinians from taking up the issue of statehood at the United Nations — a move that will be condemned in the region regardless of its outcome. … Polling suggests that the souring Arab mood toward Obama has been principally based on his policy toward the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. As Egypt enters its electoral season and Arabs everywhere are asserting their opinions, much is at stake for the United States. Washington faces a choice: It can block the Security Council from acting, or it can get out front and shape a solution using the best tool the world has today.

 

BIPARTISANSHIP OF THE WRONG KIND  BY EDITORIAL
NEW YORK TIMES

The last thing Democrats should do now is repeat that mistake, cowing in the face of Republican tirades against government help. Economists have estimated that Mr. Obama’s plan, if fully adopted, could create 1.3 million to 1.9 million jobs next year. Despite poll after poll showing that Americans support tax increases on the wealthy, Democrats have failed to act. In 2010, with majorities in both houses of Congress, they did not even vote on letting President Bush’s high-end tax cuts expire. The Republicans will not support the jobs bill, if only because Mr. Obama wants it. Americans need Democrats to step up now, and for Mr. Obama to lead them.

WHERE ARE THE COMPASSIONATE CONSERVATES  BY EUGENE ROBINSON
WASHINGTON POST
Perry, who is leading in the polls, wants to make the federal government “inconsequential.” He thinks Social Security is a “Ponzi scheme” and a “monstrous lie.” He doesn’t much like Medicare, either. But there was a fascinating moment in the debate when Perry defended Texas legislation that allows children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition at state universities. “We were clearly sending a message to young people, regardless of what the sound of their last name is, that we believe in you,” Perry said. The other candidates bashed him with anti-immigrant rhetoric until the evening’s only glimmer of moral responsibility was snuffed out.

 

ANOTHER FINANCIAL CRISIS?  BY ROBERT SAMUELSON
WASHINGTON POST
Even if the United States must negotiate any such resolution [with the Palestinians], the effort would be better received than attempts to dissuade the Palestinians from taking up the issue of statehood at the United Nations — a move that will be condemned in the region regardless of its outcome. … Polling suggests that the souring Arab mood toward Obama has been principally based on his policy toward the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. As Egypt enters its electoral season and Arabs everywhere are asserting their opinions, much is at stake for the United States. Washington faces a choice: It can block the Security Council from acting, or it can get out front and shape a solution using the best tool the world has today.

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Must Read Op-Eds for September 16, 2011

Updated