Not a ton of opinion columns discussed on the show today, but here are other pieces worth a look.
The Big Disconnect by David Brooks
The New York Times
There are structural problems in the economy as growth slows and middle-class incomes stagnate. … There are structural problems with immigration policy and tax policy and on and on…As these problems have gone unaddressed, Americans have lost faith in the credibility of their political system, which is the one resource the entire regime is predicated upon. This loss of faith has contributed to a complex but dark national mood. The country is anxious, pessimistic, ashamed, helpless and defensive.
The Limits of School Reform by Joe Nocera
The New York Times
What needs to be acknowledged, however, is that school reform won’t fix everything. Though some poor students will succeed, others will fail. Demonizing teachers for the failures of poor students, and pretending that reforming the schools is all that is needed, as the reformers tend to do, is both misguided and counterproductive. Over the long term, fixing our schools is going to involve a lot more than, well, just fixing our schools. In the short term, however, the reform movement could use something else: a dose of humility about what it can accomplish — and what it can’t.
The World Most Politicians Ignore: Jobs by Eugene Robinson
The question isn’t how to manage health care or retirement costs two decades from now. It’s how the family can make it to the end of the month…We want an America that takes care of senior citizens in their retirement. We want an America that ensures medical care for the elderly and the poor. We may not yet know how to guarantee these benefits decades from now, but we know precisely where to start: In both surveys, 72 percent of respondents favored raising taxes on households making more than $250,000 a year. Both polls showed some doubt about deep cuts in military spending, but suggested that after the wealthy are asked to contribute their fair share, the defense budget would be the next place to look.
Obama’s serial indecision on the Middle East by Michael Gerson
Ending tyranny in the traditional centers of Arab cultural influence — Baghdad, Cairo and Damascus — would be a transformation akin to the fall of the Berlin Wall. It would demonstrate the exhaustion of authoritarianism in the Arab world and open the possibility of more successful, hopeful societies in the region. This transformation involves considerable risks. But those risks are magnified by an administration that refuses to take risks — that is willing to speak or act only when it becomes obvious that silence and inertia will bring disaster.