THE FED SHOULD START TO ‘TAPER’ NOW
WALL STREET JOURNAL
Although interest rates have increased, they are still abnormally low. Investors and financial institutions are still accepting significant risks in order to enhance the yield on their portfolios by buying low-quality corporate bonds, holding longer-term bonds, making covenant-light loans that increase the risk to lenders by imposing fewer restrictions on borrowers. They are also bidding up prices of agricultural land and other assets.
The danger of mispricing risk is that there is no way out without investors taking losses. And the longer the process continues, the bigger those losses could be. That’s why the Fed should start tapering this summer before financial market distortions become even more damaging.
BOEHNER’S IMMIGRATION WIN-WIN
If the past is any guide, Boehner’s pledge to follow the wishes of a majority of House Republicans is as good as gold — until he breaks it. This time, however, the issue is so fraught that he likely would face a rebellion. Shortly after the House passed the Senate immigration bill, irate tea-party conservatives could depose Boehner from his post. The nation would get the immigration reform it needs, and Boehner wouldn’t have to teach cats to swim anymore. He should consider it a win-win.
JAMES CLAPPER IS STILL LYING TO AMERICA
Out of all people, [Clapper] has to understand that equal protection under the law means treating Clapper… exactly the same way his administration treated pitcher Roger Clemens. Otherwise, the message from the government would be that lying to Congress about baseball is more of a felony than lying to Congress about Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights. Such a message would declare that when it comes to brazen law-breaking, as long as you are personally connected to the president, you get protection rather than the prosecution you deserve.
PLUGGING THE LEAKS IN THE EDWARD SNOWDEN CASE
WALL STREET JOURNAL
The first U.S. priority should be to prevent Mr. Snowden from leaking information that harms efforts to fight terrorism and conduct legitimate intelligence operations. Documents published so far by news organizations have shed useful light on some NSA programs and raised questions that deserve debate, such as whether a government agency should build a database of Americans’ phone records. But Mr. Snowden is reported to have stolen many more documents, encrypted copies of which may have been given to allies such as the WikiLeaks organization.
LET’S NOT BRAISE THE PLANET
NEW YORK TIMES
Americans and Western Europeans have been the primary beneficiaries of the lifestyle that accelerated climate change, and, of course are among the primary emitters of greenhouse gases. For the first 200-plus years of the fossil fuel age, we could claim ignorance of its lasting harm; we cannot do that now. With knowledge comes responsibility, and with that responsibility must come action. As the earth’s stewards, our individual changes are important, but this is a bigger deal than replacing light bulbs or riding a bike. Let’s make working to turn emissions around a litmus test for every politician who asks for our vote.
THE DANGER OF WHAT EDWARD SNOWDEN HAS NOT REVEALED
Greenwald said the people in possession of Snowden’s files “cannot access them yet because they are highly encrypted and they do not have the passwords.” I’m sure that elicited laughter in Moscow and Beijing. Snowden’s encryption may be an obstacle for journalists such as Greenwald, but it’s not a problem for the PLA and the FSB. What this means is Snowden’s public revelations of classified information may very well be the least damaging thing he has done. By taking top-secret documents out of the country and carrying them first to China and then to Russia, Snowden has aided and abetted the PLA and the FSB in their espionage efforts against the United States.
That doesn’t make Snowden a hero. It makes him a traitor.