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Must-Read Op-Eds for Thursday, April 14, 2011

RAISE AMERICA'S TAXES BY NICHOLAS KRISTOFNEW YORK TIMESThe real challenge is to control health care inflation.

RAISE AMERICA'S TAXES BY NICHOLAS KRISTOFNEW YORK TIMESThe real challenge is to control health care inflation. Nobody is certain how to do that, but the Obama health care law is testing some plausible ideas. These include rigorous research on which procedures work and which don't. ... As baby boomers age and require Social Security and Medicare, escapism will no longer suffice. We need to have a frank national discussion of painful steps ahead, and since I'm not a politician, let me be perfectly clear: raise my taxes!

BEHIND THE ABORTION WAR BY GAIL COLLINSNEW YORK TIMESWhat we have here is a wide-ranging attack on women's right to control their reproductive lives that the women themselves would strongly object to if it was stated clearly. So the attempt to end federal financing for Planned Parenthood, which uses the money for contraceptive services but not abortion, is portrayed as an anti-abortion crusade. It makes sense, as long as you lay off the factual statements.

PRESIDENT OBAMA, REINVIGORATEDNEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL[Obama's] target for increases was surprisingly low ... and it is not clear that that goal can be met without harming providers or beneficiaries. He would try to do so by giving greater powers to a special board to promote and enforce changes in health care delivery. He also promised real savings on prescription drug costs in Medicare and refused to accept Mr. Ryan’s notion of shrinking Medicaid into block grants. Negotiations with an implacable opposition are about to get much tougher, but it was a relief to see Mr. Obama standing up for the values that got him to the table.



OBAMA DEFICIT SPEECH REVEALS HIS CORE BELIEFS BY FAREED ZAKARIAWASHINGTON POSTI praised Paul Ryan for his courage in presenting a budget that takes risks and proposes painful cuts. It has also had the effect of spurring Barack Obama to present his own serious proposal. I prefer Obama’s approach — which is also closer to that of the Simpson-Bowles commission — with more cuts to entitlements. But what’s critical is that, finally, after years of kicking the can down the road, we are having the national debate about America’s future.

OBAMA'S DEFICIT SPEECH: WORTHY OF A PRESIDENT BY E.J. DIONNEWASHINGTON POSTThere is also something fundamentally wrong about making the deficit the central issue in our politics. ... The deficit is actually not a hard problem. Only the taxophobia that Republicans have created and Democrats cower before has made this so complicated. Yes, health-care costs are also a big deal. But they are a challenge for the whole economy, and too many conservatives demagogue all serious efforts to grapple with them. ... For all that, there was a bigness about Obama’s speech that was a relief after his recent sojourn as a sideline judge. ... Obama is back on the field, and this is where he needs to stay.

OBAMA'S SOAK-THE-RICH TAX HIKES WON'T WORK BY ALAN REYNOLDSWALL STREET JOURNALPresident Obama's response to congressional efforts to curb runaway federal spending is to emphasize, once again, his resolve to greatly increase tax rates on married couples whose joint incomes are above $250,000. This insistent desire to raise taxes—which he repeated in a speech yesterday while complaining about "trillions of dollars in . . . tax cuts that went to every millionaire and billionaire in the country"—is a distraction. It won't solve our nation's fiscal problem. ... The trendy talking point of blaming projected deficits on "tax cuts for the rich" is flatly absurd.

THE PRESIDENTIAL DIVIDERWALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIALBut under [Obama's] plan any deal must exclude Social Security, Medicare or low-income programs. So that means more tax increases or else "making government smarter, leaner and more effective." Which, now that he mentioned it, sounds a lot like cutting "waste and abuse." Mr. Obama ludicrously claimed that Mr. Ryan favors "a fundamentally different America than the one we've known throughout most of our history." Nothing is likelier to bring that future about than the President's political indifference in the midst of a fiscal crisis.