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Must-Read Op-Eds for Friday, May 4, 2012

U.S. WEAKNESS IN BEIJINGEDITORIALWALL STREET JOURNALNow more than Mr. Chen's best interests are at stake.

U.S. WEAKNESS IN BEIJINGEDITORIALWALL STREET JOURNALNow more than Mr. Chen's best interests are at stake. The case will reverberate within China and in U.S.-China relations for years. In response to Beijing's demands that the U.S. apologize for sheltering Mr. Chen for six days, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell—who had helped negotiate the deal—said "this was an extraordinary circumstance" and "we don't expect it to be repeated." That may have been diplomatic of Mr. Campbell, but it was credited by Chinese state media as a sign of "contrition." It certainly smacks of weakness that could end up harming Mr. Chen, his family, and U.S. interests.

PLUTOCRACY, PARALYSIS, PERPLEXITYBY PAUL KRUGMANNEW YORK TIMESMany pundits assert that the U.S. economy has big structural problems that will prevent any quick recovery. All the evidence, however, points to a simple lack of demand, which could and should be cured very quickly through a combination of fiscal and monetary stimulus. No, the real structural problem is in our political system, which has been warped and paralyzed by the power of a small, wealthy minority. And the key to economic recovery lies in finding a way to get past that minority’s malign influence.

Must-Read Op-Eds for Thursday, May 3, 2012

Must-Read Op-Eds for Wednesday, May 2, 2012

INEQUALITY, DEBT AND THE FINANCIAL CRISISEDITORIALNEW YORK TIMESThe first step in restoring real stability to the economy is to lower the debt levels through what the researchers call “orderly debt reduction.” An example of that would be mortgage modifications. The second and more important step is to reduce income inequality by raising wages, possibly by strengthening collective bargaining. Income inequality and high household debt are not the only explanations of the financial crisis. But the researchers make a compelling case that greater equality and lower debt could make future crises less likely.WHY ARE WE IN AFGHANISTAN FOR THE LONG HAUL?BY EUGENE ROBINSONWASHINGTON POSTThe president’s televised address from Bagram air base raised more questions than it answered. Let’s start with the big one: Why?... The United States has agreed to support Afghanistan’s social and economic development and its security institutions through 2024. Does this sound like nation-building to you? Because that’s what it sounds like to me. “Tonight, I’d like to tell you how we will complete our mission and end the war in Afghanistan,” Obama said Tuesday. We’re still waiting.DIVIDER IN CHIEFBY CHARLES KRAUTHAMMERWASHINGTON POSTSlice and dice, group against group. There is a problem, however. It makes a mockery of Obama’s pose as the great transcender, uniter, healer of divisions. This is the man who sprang from nowhere with that thrilling 2004 convention speech declaring that there is “not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America.” That was then. Today, we are just sects with quarrels — to be exploited for political advantage. And Obama is just the man to fulfill Al Gore’s famous mistranslation of our national motto: Out of one, many.THE CASE FOR DICK LUGARBY PEGGY NOONANWALL STREET JOURNALThe most recent polls suggest Dick Lugar, the senior U.S. senator from Indiana, first elected in 1976, is on track to lose his primary on Tuesday. I hope he doesn't for a number of reasons but one big one: the Senate needs grown-ups. The entire American government needs grown-ups, from Capitol Hill to the White House to the executive agencies. This is no time to lose one. ... In Washington now very few have their eye on the big picture. Mr. Lugar does, and should not be lost. Mark Peters of this paper wrote a smart piece this week noting that the primary is an open one, and the race may come down to the independent vote. They should save the old guy. He has value.WISCONSIN RECALL AMNESIAEDITORIALWALL STREET JOURNALAccording to a Marquette University Law School poll released Wednesday, only 12% of Wisconsin voters say "restoring collective bargaining rights" is their priority, which explains the Democratic decision to fight on other issues. ... Mr. Walker's reforms were a modest but necessary response to the state's fiscal problems. The union reaction was so ferocious because the reforms reduced Big Labor's clout over state and local taxpayers and thus its ability to milk taxpayers year after year without challenge. Democrats and unions will still do all they can to recall Mr. Walker to prove to would-be reformers nationwide that unions can't be crossed. But it speaks volumes that Democrats are running on everything except their real goal—which is to restore the political dominance of government unions.