Here are today's major opinion and editorial columns.
IS SUGAR TOXIC? BY GARY TAUBES SUNDAY APRIL 17 NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE [I]f you take...sugar in liquid form — soda or fruit juices — the fructose and glucose will hit the liver more quickly than if you consume them, say, in an apple... In animals, or at least in laboratory rats and mice, it’s clear that if the fructose hits the liver in sufficient quantity and with sufficient speed, the liver will convert much of it to fat. This apparently induces a condition known as insulin resistance, which is now considered the fundamental problem in obesity, and the underlying defect in heart disease and in the type of diabetes, type 2, that is common to obese and overweight individuals. It might also be the underlying defect in many cancers...
LET'S NOT BE CIVIL BY PAUL KRUGMAN NEW YORK TIMESSorry to be cynical, but right now "bipartisan" is usually code for assembling some conservative Democrats and ultraconservative Republicans and having them proclaim that low taxes on high incomes and drastic cuts in social insurance are the only possible solution. ... So let's not be civil. Instead, let's have a frank discussion of our differences. In particular, if Democrats believe that Republicans are talking cruel nonsense, they should say so - and take their case to the voters.
THE MIDDLE-CLASS TAX TRAP BY ROSS DOUTHATNEW YORK TIMES[Obama's] right: asking the elderly to pay more for their health care, as Paul Ryan proposes to do, would transform the American social contract, and cause no small amount of pain. But what Obama didn't acknowledge is that the alternative path could lead to a different country as well - a more stagnant and balkanized society, in which our promise to the elderly crowds out the fundamental promise of America itself.
THE NEW REPUBLICAN LANDSCAPE EDITORIAL NEW YORK TIMESPresident Obama, after staying in the shadows too long, is starting to illuminate the serious damage that Republicans are doing. Their vision, he said last week, "is less about reducing the deficit than it is about changing the basic social compact in America." Other Democrats are also beginning to stand up and reject these ideas, having been cowed for months by the electoral wave. Their newfound confidence will give voters a clearer view of this bare and pessimistic landscape.
AMERICAN'S ELITES HAVE A DUTY TO THE REST OF US BY E.J. DIONNEWASHINGTON POST The American ruling class is failing us -- and itself. … It stopped being concerned with the health of society as a whole and became almost entirely obsessed with money. … If the ruling class were as worried about the deficit as it claims to be, it would accept that the wealthiest people in society have a duty to pony up more for the very government whose police power and military protect them, their property and their wealth. … ‘A blind and ignorant resistance to every effort for the reform of abuses and for the readjustment of society to modern industrial conditions represents not true conservatism, but an incitement to the wildest radicalism.’ With those words in 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt showed he understood what a responsible ruling class needed to do.
ON CLIMATE CHANGE, THE GOP IS LOST IN NEVER-NEVER LAND BY FRED HIATT WASHINGTON POST Does Pawlenty believe what he says now? I’ve spoken with the former Minnesota governor. I know he is a smart man. As recently as 2008 he was supporting congressional action to limit greenhouse gas emissions. I do not believe that he believes those 998 scientists are wrong. Which leads to another question: Should we feel better if a possible future president is not ignorant about the preeminent environmental danger facing our planet, but only calculating or cowardly?
WHAT'S MISSING FROM THE GREAT BUDGET DEBATE: SERIOUSNESS BY ROBERT SAMUELSONWASHINGTON POST We still await a serious debate about which programs to cut and which taxes to raise. Congressional Republicans advance a radical plan for shrinking government — and are not candid about it. Obama defends the status quo of ever-bigger government — and is not candid about it. Perhaps these are negotiating positions and, needing to raise the federal debt ceiling, both sides will recognize their shortcomings. It’s a hope.
WISCONSIN'S ELECTION SNAFU IS A NATIONAL WAKE-UP CALL BY JOHN FUNDWALL STREET JOURNALWhile Americans frequently demand observers and best practices in the elections of other countries, we are often blind to the need to scrutinize our own elections. Wisconsin's snafu reminds us that we still have time to address problems with our own voting procedures before finding ourselves in pitched partisan battles over the 2012 elections.
WHERE THE TAX MONEY IS EDITORIALWALL STREET JOURNAL
Let's stipulate that this is a thought experiment, because Democrats don't need any more ideas. But it's still a useful experiment because it exposes the fiscal futility of raising rates on the top 2%, or even the top 5% or 10%, of taxpayers to close the deficit. The mathematical reality is that in the absence of entitlement reform on the Paul Ryan model, Washington will need to soak the middle class—because that's where the big money is.