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Must Read Op-Eds for Thursday, January 19, 2012


THE 1% AND THAT 15%EDITORIALNEW YORK TIMESMr. Romney is clearly hoping that by drawing this process [of releasing his 2011 tax return] out for another three months, and copping to the low rate early on, he will deflect at least some of the shock about the size of his personal wealth and what a great deal you get from the government if, like Mr. Romney, you make most of your money from investing. ..  If Mr. Romney has done one good thing with his partial disclosure — although it clearly wasn’t his goal — he has reminded Americans of the fundamental unfairness of the current tax code and of how determined Mr. Romney and his party are to keep it that way. ... Mr. Romney does not have to apologize for his wealth. But he cannot keep trying to conceal just how much the tax code has been tilted in his favor.

IS BANKING BAD?BY NICHOLAS KRISTOFNEW YORK TIMESIs it unethical to make millions in private equity? ... I’ve been sympathetic to the Occupy Wall Street movement, but, look, finance is not evil. ... (T)he attacks on private equity seem over the top. Private equity firms like Bain Capital, where Romney worked, aren’t about destroying companies and picking over the carcasses. Rather, the aim is to acquire poorly managed companies, make them more efficient (sometimes by firing people but often by rejiggering the business model) and then resell them at a profit. That’s the merciless, rugged nature of capitalism.


ANCHORS AWEIGH, MY BOYSBY GAIL COLLINSNEW YORK TIMESThe South Carolina primary has been one long obsession with Mitt Romney’s extreme richness. This is partly because Newt Gingrich keeps carping on it. Which, to be honest, we have enjoyed very much. But, mainly, it’s because Mitt is so weird and off-putting on the subject. Like the time he told people he was unemployed. ... Gingrich is proving that he is the top debater in the field. Truly, if the office of president of the United States involved nothing but debating in front of enthusiastic Republican audiences, he would be far and away the best possible choice. If nominated, Newt promises that he will follow Barack Obama around the country challenging him to a series of three-hour-long “Lincoln-Douglas” debates. He can already imagine it! I bet you can, too.

A GOOD CALL ON THE PIPELINEEDITORIALNEW YORK TIMESPresident Obama has properly rejected, at least for now, the Keystone XL oil pipeline that would run from Canada to the Gulf Coast. He rebuffed the demand of House Republicans that the controversial project be decided in haste under an election-year deadline. ... Lobbyists and House Republicans have tried to sell the project as a reduction in America’s dependence on Middle Eastern oil. But much of the pipeline oil that would be refined on the Gulf Coast would be destined for foreign export.  Far more important to the nation’s energy and environmental future is the development of renewable and alternative energy sources. This is the winning case that Mr. Obama should make to voters in rejecting the Republicans’ craven indulgence of Big Oil.

ROMNEY'S TAX RETURNS SHOULD ONLY BE THE START OF HIS DISCLOSURESEDITORIALWASHINGTON POSTMr. Romney might learn from his ham-handed handling of the tax issue and deal with another disclosure lapse: the names of his “bundlers,” the well-connected supporters who haul in hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions. As with tax returns, candidates are not required by law to release this information; as with tax returns, it is pertinent, and most candidates in recent years, including Mr. Bush and Mr. McCain, have provided it. ... In the age of the super PAC, knowing the names of a candidate’s bundlers, and the degree to which they have helped, is important in tracing links between the individual campaign and the theoretically independent political action committee. Mr. Romney’s campaign has not addressed our requests for this information. We intend to keep asking.

THE ANTI-JOBS PRESIDENTEDITORIALWALL STREET JOURNAL Environmentalists seem to think they can prevent the development of Canada's oil-rich tar sands, and that their rallies against Keystone XL will keep that carbon in the ground. They can't, and it won't. America's largest trading partner will simply build a pipeline to the Pacific coast from Alberta and sell its petroleum products to Asia instead, China in particular. Such green delusions are sad, and Mr. Obama's pandering is sadder, though everything the country stands to lose is saddest. If Mitt Romney and the other GOP candidates have any political wit, they'll vindicate the Keystone's "national interest" and make Mr. Obama explain why job creation is less important than the people who make a living working for the green anti-industrial complex.

BAIN CAPITAL SAVED AMERICABY DANIEL HENNINGERWALL STREET JOURNALNot only did Bain Capital save America, but no matter what turn Mitt Romney's political career takes, Bain Capital may stand as the best of Mr. Romney's lifetime contributions to the nation's economic well-being. If only he'd tell the story. ... Properly understood, the 1980s, including Bain, were the remarkable years when an ever-resilient America found a way to save itself from becoming what Europe is now—a global has-been. ... Every voter seems to sense that finding the answer to what comes next for America's economic fortunes makes this election huge. ... [Voters] want someone who understands how the next 10 years can produce an American economy that offers the opportunities for them that the 1980s produced for Mitt Romney.

GOP SHOULD HEED RON PAULBY MICHAEL TANNERNATIONAL REVIEWWhat... can Republicans do to keep Paul’s supporters in the tent? Well, to start with, instead of deriding Paul as a RINO or some sort of a crank, and hoping his supporters go away, they might begin to take some of his ideas seriously. ... That would mean putting forward detailed plans to reduce the size, cost, and intrusiveness of government. ... For years, Republican candidates have worried that if they didn’t hew to the hardest line possible on social issues, religious conservatives would stay home on Election Day. Economic conservatives, libertarians, and believers in smaller, constitutional government were never given similar deference. The result was a Republican party that drifted ever further away from its Goldwater-Reagan roots. But that may be about to change. If not, Republicans can’t say they weren’t warned.