THE NEED TO AGREE
NEW YORK TIMES
In calling for cooperation from Congress, Mr. Obama said that the point is to “agree to do what we agree on”: extend the middle-class tax cuts. As a matter of fairness and responsible policy making, he said, the majority of Americans, and the broader economy, should not be held hostage again to another debate over the merits of tax cuts for the wealthy. Unfortunately, it is not a message Congressional Republicans want to hear, committed as they are to preserving tax cuts for the rich at all costs. It is not even what some Democratic leaders want to hear… But it’s a message that needs to be sent, loud and clear, over and over. There will never be consensus for solving the nation’s budget problems without first ending the lavish tax breaks at the top.
MITT ROMNEY’S HAMPTON’S WEEKEND
BY ANDREW ROSENTHAL
NEW YORK TIMES
While Americans so unlucky as to lack second homes sweated under fans, dealt with power outages and drenched themselves before fire hydrants amid the sweltering heat this past weekend, one of the men who wants to be their leader had a much more exciting adventure. Mitt Romney headed to the sprawling estates of the Hamptons… He assured his audience that even if the common man were largely gone from Hamptons (unless he was passing the champagne flutes or parking the Bentleys, of course) he was not forgotten. … [t]he vast majority of Mr. Romney’s policy ideas would do little to help those poor and working-class people who seem to cause him so much worry. Some would actually harm them. … The very rich certainly are very different.
BY THOMAS E. RICKS
NEW YORK TIMES
A revived draft, including both males and females, should include three options for new conscripts coming out of high school. Some could choose 18 months of military service with low pay but excellent post-service benefits, including free college tuition. … Those who don’t want to serve in the army could perform civilian national service for a slightly longer period and equally low pay — teaching in low-income areas, cleaning parks, rebuilding crumbling infrastructure, or aiding the elderly. … And libertarians who object to a draft could opt out. Those who declined to help Uncle Sam would in return pledge to ask nothing from him — no Medicare, no subsidized college loans and no mortgage guarantees. Those who want minimal government can have it.
OBAMA THE INEFFABLE
BY RICHARD COHEN
There is something about Obama — something ineffable — that obscures who he really is. This was apparent in the last presidential campaign where radicals and moderates embraced him as one of their own. …The left, not the right, gets Obama. It faults him for what he is not now and never was — a left-winger. … Yet from the right comes this caricature of Obama as a wild-eyed barricade breacher straight out of “Les Misérables.” But for all their duress, the rich under Obama have remained rich and there is nothing in his rhetoric to suggest that that will change much. From everything Obama says, it’s clear he doesn’t want to destroy the Hamptons or even buy there. Knowing him, he would split the difference and rent.
OBAMA IN DENIAL
BY MICHAEL GERSHON
Obama’s economic agenda is debilitated by a political problem. Announcing an ambitious new set of policy proposals would be an admission that previous approaches were insufficient — that the economy is not moving in the right direction. But winning reelection during a serious labor-market recession is no easy task. Up to this point, Obama has successfully finessed the issue — recalling the initial challenges he faced, urging patience and criticizing congressional obstruction on a series of incremental reforms. At some point, however, claiming to be a victim of fate just appears feeble. Patience takes on the air of complacency. And the lowering of expectations seems more like the acceptance of permanent decline — a new normal less ambitious and optimistic than the old.
THE TRUTH ABOUT OBAMACARE
BY KATHLEEN SEBELIUS
Those calling for repeal have yet to propose credible ideas for lowering health-care costs. In fact, the same House Republicans who are voting Wednesday to repeal these Medicare savings voted to keep them in their budget in March. People are entitled to their opinions, but not to their own facts. And the facts in this case are clear: Since the Affordable Care Act was passed, national health spending is rising at a slower rate, health insurance premiums are rising at a slower rate, small-business coverage is holding steady and Medicare is on a stronger financial footing. Now that the Supreme Court has issued a decision, the American people would be better served if Congress joined the president in working to build on that progress, not undo it.