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Must Read Op-Eds for October 19, 2011

A CANDIDATE'S FAITH MATTERS  BY ROBERT JEFFRESSWASHINGTON POSTI believe I have been misquoted repeatedly as telling the GOP not to vote for Romney.

A CANDIDATE'S FAITH MATTERS  BY ROBERT JEFFRESSWASHINGTON POSTI believe I have been misquoted repeatedly as telling the GOP not to vote for Romney. I have never made such a statement; I realize I might very well end up voting for Romney if he is the Republican nominee. While I prefer a competent Christian over a competent non-Christian, religion is not the only consideration in choosing a candidate. Frankly, Christians have not always made good presidents. We must also consider whether a candidate is competent to lead and govern according to biblical principles. During this firestorm I’ve reignited over the role of religion in politics, some have quoted Martin Luther as saying  he would rather be governed by a competent unbeliever than an incompetent Christian. Yet evangelicals should remember that the purpose of the primary process is to keep us from having to make such a choice. At this point we have the opportunity to select both a competent leader and a committed Christian.


As Republican presidential aspirants assembled Tuesday night in Nevada for their umpteenth debate, it was clearer than ever that Republicans have gotten exactly what they had coming. Their nominating process, controlled by the religious warriors and anti-government agitators who dominate straw polls, has reached its logical conclusion: The hottest candidate in the field is Herman Cain, a fast-food tycoon who never heard of neoconservatism, has never held office, has no foreign policy and a three-digit number for a domestic policy, and likes to joke about electrocuting illegal immigrants. By contrast, Jon Huntsman, governor, ambassador, the man who in a normal political environment would be the most qualified and formidable candidate in the race, wasn’t even on the stage. A system that rejects a Jon Huntsman in favor of a Herman Cain isn’t a primary process. It is a primal scream.




 A static revenue-neutral tax change requires static winners and losers. And this 9-9-9 plan has made certain that even on static terms those below the poverty line will be better off—period. This is the type of tax increase I wholeheartedly support. ... Still, a number of my fellow economists don't like the retail sales component of the 9-9-9 plan. They argue that, once in place, the retail rate could be raised to the moon. They are correct, but what they miss is that any tax could be instituted in the future at a higher rate. If I could figure a way to stop future Congresses from ever raising taxes I'd do it every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Until then, let's not make the perfect the enemy of the good.

THE REPUBLICAN BICKERSONS  BY E.J. DIONNEWASHINGTON POST[O]ne winner tonight was President Obama. The fact that Perry may have worked his way back into the mix and the likelihood that Romney and Perry will make life miserable for each other can only help the president. The candidates weren’t competing with each other to have the best attack lines against Obama to nearly the degree they had in the earlier encounters. Their assaults on each other will make the news, which means their anti-Obama remarks will fall to the cutting room floor -- or whatever the proper metaphor is for our digital age.

'TOO BIG TO FAIL' IS SIMPLY TOO BIG  BY JON HUNTSMANWALL STREET JOURNALOnce too-big-to-fail is fixed, we could then more easily repeal the law's unguided regulatory missiles, such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. ... We need a banking sector that is able to serve that critical role again. Otherwise the sector's endgame will be continental Europe—an unsustainable socialist state and the death of entrepreneurship. Hedge funds and private equity funds go out of business all the time when they make big mistakes, to the notice of few, because they are not too big to fail. There is no reason why banks cannot live with the same reality.

IMAGINED IN AMERICA  BY THOMAS FRIEDMANNEW YORK TIMESYes, China manipulates its currency and market access. But the reason we are so vulnerable is that we have no leverage. We don't save; we overconsume; we don't plan; and we have not invested enough in infrastructure and education. Dealing with a superpower like China without leverage? Let me know how that works out for you.

ANNE FRANK, A MORMON?  BY MAUREEN DOWDNEW YORK TIMESIn a Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll released on Tuesday, people were asked what single word came to mind for Republican candidates. For Herman Cain it was 9-9-9; for Rick Perry, Texas; and for Mitt Romney, Mormon. In the debate Tuesday night, Romney said it was repugnant that “we should choose people based on their religion.” ... Republicans are the ones who have made faith part of the presidential test. Now we’ll see if Mitt can pass it.

IT DIDN'T ADD UP  BY EDITORIALNEW YORK TIMESRepublicans in both chambers are pushing to repeal the long-term care program for good, not just suspend it, but the administration is resisting. With nursing home costs averaging $70,000 to $80,000 a year and services in the home more than $18,000 a year, most Americans can't afford to pay out of pocket. Their need for financial protection will have to be tackled eventually. It would be foolish to completely give up on a program that might still be revived in a more sustainable form.