Must-Read Op-Eds for Thursday, May 17, 2012

Updated
 

IS ATTACKING BAIN CAPITAL A POLICY ARGUMENT
MOLLY BALL
THE ATLANTIC

[This], not policy, is what the attacks on Bain are really about: what kind of person Romney is. It’s about character – whether he feels the pain of average folks or is instead seen as callous and greedy. It’s yet another in the seemingly endless litany of depictions of Romney as an out-of-touch rich guy. Romney has tried to engage the Bain critique on this level, issuing a video featuring out-of-work Americans and telling more stories about regular people on the campaign trail. But he hasn’t done a very effective job fending off the Bain critique, and maybe this is why: The idea that he lacks empathy has become so deeply embedded it’s nearly impossible to shake.

FUN PLANS FOR SUMMER VACATION
GAIL COLLINS
NEW YORK TIMES

John Boehner wants to restart the debt-limit debate. This is big news. … Mitt Romney made a major speech in which he laced into President Obama for adding “almost as much debt as all the prior presidents combined.” This is a much-repeated factoid whose shock value is matched only by its extreme inaccuracy. … It was a pretty dramatic speech, which compared the debt to a raging prairie fire. Romney said he would extinguish the blaze with his spending and tax-cutting plan, which the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated would, at the very best, do nothing whatsoever. Only 25 more weeks to go.

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BOEHNER REPEATING BAD HISTORY
EDITORIAL
WASHINGTON POST

 

There was a point, we confess, when we too hoped that debt-limit brinkmanship might encourage responsible behavior. Then came last summer’s debacle. The country moved closer to the edge of default than anyone had thought imaginable. The U.S. credit rating was downgraded for the first time in history, and the resulting uncertainty and lack of confidence dragged down the economy. And for what? For no real progress. … The action-forcing event did not force the necessary action. … So it is appalling that Mr. Boehner would be willing to repeat this dangerous episode, this time at potentially even greater risk.

RAND PAUL’S CYNICAL BUDGET
DANA MILBANK
WASHINGTON POST

The tea party darling’s plan would, among other things, cut the average Social Security recipient’s benefits by nearly 40 percent, reduce defense spending by nearly $100 billion below a level the Pentagon calls “devastating,” and end the current Medicare program in two years. … Paul is evidently not eager to defend the plan. He showed up at a news conference on the budget Wednesday afternoon but then slipped out of the room before the questions began. But his remarks, two minutes long, may have set a Senate speed record for the rate of dishonest statements per second. “You know, much has been said about the need for compromise,” Paul told reporters, adding: “People say ‘compromise, compromise, be a moderate.’ Well, how do we do that if the other side has no plan and won’t talk to us?”

TOO MUCH AGREEMENT MEANS MORE ENTITLEMENTS
GEORGE WILL
WASHINGTON POST

Between now and July, the two parties will pretend that it is a matter of high principle how the government should pretend to “pay for” the $6 billion while borrowing $1 trillion this year. But bipartisanship will have been served by putting another entitlement on a path to immortality. Campaigning recently … Romney warned students about their burden from the national debt, but when he took questions, the first questioner had something else on her peculiar mind: “So you’re all for like, ‘Yay, freedom,’ and all this stuff and ‘Yay, like, pursuit of happiness.’ You know what would make me happy? Free birth control.” While awaiting that eventual entitlement, perhaps she can land a subsidized loan so she can inexpensively continue to hone her interesting intellect.

GEORGETOWN GETS IT RIGHT ON INVITATION TO KATHLEEN SEBELIUS
EDITORIAL
WASHINGTON POST

The Archbishop of Washington finds it “shocking” that Georgetown University president … would defend the university’s decision to have Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius participate in a commencement event in the aftermath of the furor over the Obama administration’s rule on contraceptive coverage. … It is the essence of a university to be a place where students can hear from an array of thinkers — and doers. Georgetown’s role as a Jesuit institution need not conflict with that fundamental tenet. … The Georgetown community, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, should be proud of its president’s defense of open-minded debate.

THE FUTURE IS MORE THAN FACEBOOK
RICH KARLGAARD
WALL STREET JOURNAL

The… worry is that only a certain kind of company is getting rich in the Obama economy. These are outfits that make algorithms—bits of software code cleverly strung together to take the form of an iPhone operating system, a LinkedIn social network, or a proprietary trading scheme. … That can’t be America’s future, can it? … Can it go mainstream and transform the really big things: transportation, energy, electricity, food production, water delivery, health care and education? If it can’t do that—or if it is thwarted by high taxes and complex regulation—then welcome to the new normal of 2% annual growth.

 

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Must-Read Op-Eds for Thursday, May 17, 2012

Updated