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Must Read Op-Eds for October 13, 2011

NO JOBS BILL, AND NO IDEAS  BY EDITORIALNEW YORK TIMESRepublican candidates fear the Tea Party too much to acknowledge that economists are solidly behind

NO JOBS BILL, AND NO IDEAS  BY EDITORIALNEW YORK TIMESRepublican candidates fear the Tea Party too much to acknowledge that economists are solidly behind government intervention to awaken growth. The jobs bill rejected by Republican leaders will now be reintroduced piece by piece, and Republicans are not likely to go along with much more than an extension of the payroll tax cut (which is opposed by Mr. Romney). But at least the record is increasingly clear who is advocating real ideas and who is selling an empty vessel.


THE SHAMEFUL BIAS AGAINST MORMONS  BY KATHLEEN PARKERWASHINGTON POSTAnyone watching the Republican debates, especially Tuesday night’s on the economy, can’t be missing the obvious. The two smartest, coolest, most independent and least ideological — this is to say, most presidential and electable — candidates are the two Mormons, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman. It is utterly ludicrous that at this point in our history some conservatives insist on raising the question of religious belief in a presidential election... Regrettably, we have but one presidency and two Mormons. Both Romney and Huntsman, as former governors, would bring considerable talent to the White House — Romney primarily on the economy and Huntsman, a one-time ambassador to China, on foreign policy. If anything, Republicans should be trying to figure out how best to use them both.

THE GIFT OF GLIB  BY GAIL COLLINSNEW YORK TIMES[The debate] was the usual good time for all, except you do kind of wonder what the heck gives this particular crowd of people the right to be the nation’s official presidential contenders. What do they have in common? Intelligence? Appropriate experience? A large base of followers? Not so much. ... What have they got? They’ve all got glib. Except one. It’s enough to make you feel sorry for Rick Perry. If he wasn’t Rick Perry. As things stand, the Perry camp is apparently planning to keep their guy in the background during debates and hit Romney over the head with mean commercials. That shouldn’t be too hard. Maybe they’ll include the day Mitt drove to Canada with the family dog on the car roof.


THE UNSINKABLE MITT ROMNEY  BY DANIEL HENNINGERWALL STREET JOURNALBy this early, imperfect measure, Mitt Romney's status is weak. Despite running against this field, he never rises above 25% in GOP preferences. At best, Mr. Romney is running as the party's Unsinkable Molly Brown. ... [He] has undoubted gifts. He could be president. But in the current Obama morass, so could 100 other people. What voters, including Republican voters, want for the United States now is the best president possible. Mr. Romney isn't there yet. Only more competition or criticism will get him there.


THE GOP TIES ITSELF UP IN KNOTS  BY E.J. DIONNEWASHINGTON POSTSo let’s see: The solution to large-scale abuses of the financial system, a breakdown of the private sector, extreme economic inequality and the failure of companies and individuals to invest and create jobs is — well, to give even more money and power to very wealthy people, to disable government and to trust those who got us into the mess to get us out of it. That’s a brief summary of the news from the Republican Party this week. It’s what Republican candidates said during The Post-Bloomberg debate Tuesday night, and it’s the signal Senate Republicans sent in voting as a bloc against President Obama’s jobs bill. Don’t just do something, stand there.


HOW TO STOP THE DROP IN HOME VALUES  BY MARTIN FELDSTEINNEW YORK TIMESTo halt the fall in house prices, the government should reduce mortgage principal when it exceeds 110 percent of the home value. About 11 million of the nearly 15 million homes that are “underwater” are in this category. If everyone eligible participated, the one-time cost would be under $350 billion. ... This plan is fair because both borrowers and creditors would make sacrifices. The bank would accept the cost of the principal write-down because the resulting loan — with its lower loan-to-value ratio and its full recourse feature — would be much less likely to result in default. The borrowers would accept full recourse to get the mortgage reduction. ... Before the housing bubble burst in 2006, the level of house prices had risen nearly 60 percent above the long-term price path. So there is no knowing how far prices may fall below the long-term path before they begin to recover.