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Must Read Op-Eds for October 28, 2011


THE DIVIDER VS. THE THINKER  BY PEGGY NOONANWALL STREET JOURNALRather than raise taxes on individuals, we should "lower the amount of government spending the wealthy now receive." The "true sources of inequity in this country," he continued, are policies "that enriches the powerful, and empty promises that betray the powerless." The real class warfare that threatens us is "a class of bureaucrats and connected crony capitalists trying to rise above the rest of us, call the shots, rig the rules, and preserve their place atop society." If more Republicans thought—and spoke—like this, the party would flourish. People would be less fearful for the future. And Mr. Obama wouldn't be seeing his numbers go up.

A FIREWALL TO STOP EUROPE'S CRISIS SPREADING  BY BARACK OBAMAFINANCIAL TIMESThe G20 nations must deepen co-operation on the range of global challenges that affect our shared prosperity. We need to move ahead with our commitment to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels and transition to 21st-century clean energy economies. As we promote the development that gives nations a path out of poverty, we can focus on the infrastructure, finance and good governance that unleash growth. Even as we work to save lives from the drought and famine in the Horn of Africa, we need to continue investing in the food security and agricultural productivity that make future famines less likely and communities more self-sufficient.

EVERYONE BAILS OUT EVERYONE  BY EDITORIALWALL STREET JOURNALAbsent from this week's communiqués are any new ideas for promoting the structural economic reforms—both at the periphery and at the center of the euro zone—that might create real confidence in the euro zone's long-term economic prospects. The new bailout money Greece is getting doesn't even come with new conditions for implementing structural reforms, as the first bailout package did. Not surprisingly, markets rallied at yesterday's news, with the euro gaining 2.4% against the dollar. That isn't the first time a Brussels summit has triggered a burst of market relief. But without economic growth and more fundamental reform, yesterday's deal will merely be the latest palliative.

ACCOMMODATION OF ANGER  BY MICHAEL GERSONWASHINGTON POSTRepublicans have a direct interest in avoiding ugliness. Hispanic political influence is not only increasing but concentrated in competitive states — a key to electoral success in states such as Nevada, Colorado and Arizona. The recent past offers encouragement to the GOP. In the 2004 election, Bush won more than 40 percent of the Hispanic vote. And President Obama has left a political opening. Hispanic unemployment exceeds 11 percent, and the administration has consistently discovered legislative priorities higher than immigration reform. On issues of Hispanic concern, Obama’s lip service has been deafening.

THE PATH NOT TAKEN  BY PAUL KRUGMANNEW YORK TIMESIceland hasn’t avoided major economic damage or a significant drop in living standards. But it has managed to limit both the rise in unemployment and the suffering of the most vulnerable; the social safety net has survived intact, as has the basic decency of its society. “Things could have been a lot worse” may not be the most stirring of slogans, but when everyone expected utter disaster, it amounts to a policy triumph. And there’s a lesson here for the rest of us: The suffering that so many of our citizens are facing is unnecessary. If this is a time of incredible pain and a much harsher society, that was a choice. It didn’t and doesn’t have to be this way.

EUROPE GETS A DEAL  BY EDITORIALNEW YORK TIMESLeaders discussed using fancy leveraging techniques, like insurance guarantees, to artificially multiply the fund’s lending power. If that makes you think of the financial gimmickry that brought on the 2008 financial crash, you’re right. ... None of these gyrations would be necessary if the European Central Bank was authorized to act as a lender of last resort. Without that, and a turn away from austerity to growth, Europe’s crisis will continue and continue to threaten the American economy and the global recovery. There must be a better way.


THE STUDY THAT SHOWS WHY OCCUPY WALL STREET STRUCK A NERVE  BY EUGENE ROBINSONWASHINGTON POSTSo it does matter that as the pie grows, the various slices do not grow in proportion. We’re not characters in one of those lumbering, interminable, nonsensical Ayn Rand novels. We believe in individual initiative and the free market, but we also believe that nationhood necessarily involves a commitment to our fellow citizens, an acknowledgment that we’re engaged in a common enterprise. We believe that opportunity should be more than just an empty word.A GREEK DEFAULT IN ALL BUT NAME  BY ROBERT SAMUELSONWASHINGTON POSTThe first is the specter of default. Greece crosses a line, because many European leaders long maintained that no euro-using country would be permitted to default. ... The second problem is austerity. Like Americans, Europeans face a contradiction: To reduce budget deficits, they need to cut spending and raise taxes; but more taxes and less spending may depress their economies, increasing budget deficits. ... What Europe really needs is a massive, though temporary, global bailout that would give it time to adjust. Lacking that, it’s unclear whether the latest package is a genuine solution or just a stopgap.