Here are today's must read editorial and opinion columns.
NEGOTIATING ON A KNIFE'S EDGE EDITORIALNEW YORK TIMES
Mr. Obama might want to consider the advice of several constitutional scholars who say Congress may not be able to put the government in default by refusing to raise the debt limit because the 14th Amendment says the public debt cannot be questioned... Such a declaration by the president would probably lead to litigation or even attempts at impeachment... But if Republicans kill a deal because it raises a dime of revenue, or if Democrats will not support it because it leans too heavily on the less fortunate, then the constitutional option may look better than the recession option.
THE UNEXAMINED SOCIETY BY DAVID BROOKSNEW YORK TIMES
There is a bill working through Congress that would eliminate the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences. This is exactly how budgets should not be balanced — by cutting cheap things that produce enormous future benefits... Cutting off financing for this sort of research now is like cutting off navigation financing just as Christopher Columbus hit the shoreline of the New World.
WHAT OBAMA WANTS BY PAUL KRUGMANNEW YORK TIMES
If a debt deal does emerge, and it overwhelmingly reflects conservative priorities and ideology, should Democrats in Congress vote for it? Mr. Obama’s people will no doubt argue that their fellow party members should trust him, that whatever deal emerges was the best he could get. But it’s hard to see why a president who has gone out of his way to echo Republican rhetoric and endorse false conservative views deserves that kind of trust.
A PAKISTANI JOURNALIST'S MURDER EDITORIALNEW YORK TIMES
It’s not clear how high up the culpability for Mr. Shahzad’s murder goes — or whether there are any officials left in the ISI or the army who have the power and desire to reform the spy agency... [The United States] should tell Pakistan’s security leadership that if Washington identifies anyone in ISI or the army as abetting terrorists, those individuals will face sanctions like travel bans or other measures. The ISI has become inimical to Pakistani and American interests.
THE ELMENDORF RULE BY CHARLES KRAUTHAMMERWASHINGTON POST
Highly placed leaks are portraying [Obama] as heroically prepared to offer Social Security and Medicare cuts. We shall see. It’s no mystery what is needed... Yet even now, we don’t know where the president stands on any of this. Until we do, I’ll follow the Elmendorf Rule: We don’t estimate leaks. Let’s see if Obama can suspend his 2012 electioneering long enough to keep the economy from going over the debt cliff.
PROGRESSIVES CAN DO THE DEFICIT MATH BY EUGENE ROBINSONWASHINGTON POST
Well, we could begin by recognizing that while spending is too great, in historical terms, revenue is far too meager. We ought to be taxing and spending at roughly 20 percent of GDP, which means that a sensible, equitable, long-term program of debt reduction ought to include spending cuts and revenue increases in roughly equal measure... There is, indeed, a way to eliminate these strangling deficits with fairness and an eye toward a brighter future. It just happens to be the progressive way.
WALDO STEPS INTO A DEBT FOOD FIGHT BY RUTH MARCUSWASHINGTON POST
I haven’t exactly been shy about criticizing President Obama for his too-frequently diffident leadership style — what I cheekily described as a “Where’s Waldo?” approach to the presidency. Today, I come to praise Waldo, and to sympathize with him. You’d be tempted to hide, too, if you were dealing with the knee-jerk intransigence that infects both sides in the debt-ceiling debate. Actually, he’s not hiding now. The flip side of the president’s penchant for holding back is his occasional inclination to go for the three-point shot.