Here are highlights from today's opinion and editorial columns.
WHO'S SERIOUS NOW BY PAUL KRUGMANNEW YORK TIMES
Mr. Obama’s plan already relies more on spending cuts than it should, and moving it significantly in the G.O.P.’s direction would produce something unworkable and unacceptable. What happened over the past two weeks, then, was more about staking out positions than about enacting policies. On one side you had a combination of mean-spiritedness and fantasy; on the other you had a reaffirmation of American compassion and community, coupled with fairly realistic numbers. Which would you choose?
AN UNDEMOCRATIC BAILOUTNEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL Lisbon appears to have the funds it needs to meet a $7 billion debt-service payment coming due on Friday. While it does not have the money to meet a $10 billion payment on June 15, the European Union could provide short-term financing — with few strings attached — until a definitive deal could be negotiated with the new government. That is the best hope of coming up with a deal that Portugal’s new government and its voters can support — and one creditors will trust.
A BUDGET FOR THE 21ST CENTURY BY PAUL RYANWASHINGTON POSTHouse Republicans are fighting to prevent this. Our budget offers a compassionate and optimistic contrast to a future of health-care rationing and unbearably high taxes. We lift the crushing burden of debt, repair the safety net, make America’s tax system fair and competitive, and ensure that our health and retirement programs have a strong and lasting future. These issues are too important to leave to the politics of the past. If President Obama won’t lead, we will.
THE REPUBLICAN MEDICARE RESHUFFLE NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIALBeneficiaries would have to pay higher out-of-pocket costs or buy skimpier policies. The Ryan plan has no chance of becoming law while the Democrats still control the Senate and the White House. But if health care becomes a defining issue in the 2012 elections — as it should — everyone under the age of 55 is on notice that Mr. Ryan’s plan would impose heavy costs on them when they reach age 65.
THE SELFISH BUDGET? OF THE SELFLESS ONE? BY EUGENE ROBINSONWASHINGTON POSTOn Medicaid, Republicans want to shift the burden to the states, giving them block grants and essentially telling them to take care of the indigent however they choose. Some states would be diligent in providing adequate medical care. Some would not. Is this the kind of America we want? How selfish are we, really? How selfless? ... These are the kinds of basic choices we face. There are two plans on the table now. Only one of them — Obama’s — appeals to the better angels of our nature.
THE GRAND COMPROMISE BY CHARLES KRAUTHAMMERWASHINGTON POSTGiven the Democrats’ instinctive resort to granny-in-the-snow demagoguery, the Republicans are right not to budge on taxes until serious spending cuts are in place. At which point, the grand compromise awaits. And grand it would be. Saving the welfare state from insolvency is no small achievement.
OBAMA IS LIKELY TO LOSE BY PEGGY NOONANWALL STREET JOURNALThe great question of the coming year is not, "Will Obama reignite his base?" or, "Will the Democrats outraise and outspend the GOP?" It is: Will the GOP be serious? Will Republicans be equal to their history, their tradition and the moment? If they are—if they recruit and support candidates who can speak to the entire country, who have serious experience and accomplishments, who are grounded and credible, then they will win centrist support. And with it they will likely win the thing without which they cannot achieve the big changes they seek, and that is the presidency.