THE KEY TO RECOVERY: BOOSTING BUSINESS CONFIDENCEBY LAWRENCE SUMMERSWASHINGTON POSTGrowing inequality will have to be addressed in the United States and beyond. But there is the risk that policies introduced in the name of fairness that excessively burden job-creating investment could actually exacerbate the challenges facing the middle class. At a moment of substantial doubt about government’s functionality, government could greatly increase confidence by devising clear plans to better align spending and taxing once recovery is established. By working to directly increase demand and augment business confidence, governments have the best chance of creating economic recovery. That should be the near-term focus of economic debates at Davos and beyond.
THE GUSTS OF GINGRICHBY FRANK BRUNINEW YORK TIMESWith Gingrich, the distance between reality and rhetoric isn’t shrinking but growing, and the incongruities mount. He has lately fallen in love with his rants against “the elites,” and casts himself as their most determined foe, but I can’t for the life of me figure out a definition of elite that doesn’t include him. Are the elites those hyper-educated intellectuals who use big words? ... He and his third wife, Callista ... have an estimated net worth in excess of $6.5 million. ... He’s also a longtime Washington insider who’s the only reform-minded outsider equipped to change the capital’s ways. How does that work?LIVING IN FEAR OF THE N.C.A.A.BY JOE NOCERANEW YORK TIMESThe women’s basketball player at Harvard who came to the United States from Britain and isn’t allowed to play because she struggled when she first got to the U.S. and had to repeat a year of high school. The team manager — yes, team manager! — who was forced out of his role because he knew a high school player that his school was recruiting. The A students forced off the court because the N.C.A.A. does not include their high school A.P. courses among its “approved” coursework. The coach whose career was ended when the N.C.A.A. accused him of “unethical conduct” without giving him a chance to defend himself. “The N.C.A.A. is like the Gestapo,” wrote one parent. “It’s out there, we all fear it, and it is all-powerful and follows its own rules and makes them up as they go along. Who are they protecting? The same thing the Gestapo protected: themselves.”THE POWER BROKEREDITORIALNEW YORK TIMESMr. Gingrich insists that none of this highly paid work is lobbying. ... That is true, in the sense that Mr. Gingrich never registered as a lobbyist. ... But people of his stature never register. They develop strategy and use their contacts to open doors and then leave the appointment-making to more junior people who are registered as lobbyists. According to The Washington Post, the Gingrich brand generated $100 million in revenue over the past decade for a collection of for-profit enterprises. ... So Mr. Gingrich can claim he was never a lobbyist, but there is no way he can claim that he is anything but a Washington insider who has made millions by trading on his political connections for more than a decade.CRUNCH TIME FOR ROMNEYBY GEORGE WILLWASHINGTON POST[L]osing in South Carolina could be a partial blessing if it banishes from [Romney's] campaign and from Republican voters’ minds the dispiriting, eat-your-spinach idea that electability is the best reason for nominating him. Gingrich thinks South Carolina has catapulted him toward irresistible victory. There remain, however, 53 more delegate-selection processes. Busy as an intellectual beaver having big ideas by the bushel, Gingrich has neglected some mundane matters, such as getting on the Virginia and Missouri ballots. Should Prometheus have to sweat such tiresome details? Yes, because the nominating process in this complex continental nation usefully foreshadows the challenges of governing such a nation.OLD DISTASTES DIE HARDBY EUGENE ROBINSONWASHINGTON POSTRomney still has considerable advantages. He is competently staffed and organized in every state, unlike Gingrich, who won’t even be on the ballot in some contests. ... [And] Romney’s campaign has tons of money. ... But perhaps the most important thing we learned in South Carolina is that Romney has real vulnerabilities. His handling of questions about his vast wealth ... showed a shocking lack of preparation. He let Gingrich get under his skin. In the end, he was soundly beaten by one of the most unpopular politicians in the country. Suddenly, Romney’s biggest selling point — that he’s the one who can beat Obama — is in serious doubt. Yes, polls show him neck-and-neck with the president. But a couple of weeks ago, polls showed him 20 points ahead of Gingrich. Look what happened.THE GOP DESERVES TO LOSEBY BRET STEPHENSWALL STREET JOURNALLet's just say right now what voters will be saying in November, once Barack Obama has been re-elected: Republicans deserve to lose. It doesn't matter that Mr. Obama can't get the economy out of second gear. It doesn't matter that he cynically betrayed his core promise as a candidate to be a unifying president. ... It doesn't matter that the Obama name is synonymous with the most unpopular law in memory. ... Above all, it doesn't matter that Americans are generally eager to send Mr. Obama packing. All they need is to be reasonably sure that the alternative won't be another fiasco. But they can't be reasonably sure, so it's going to be four more years of the disappointment you already know. As for the current GOP field, it's like confronting a terminal diagnosis.THE BASE SIMPLY DOES NOT LIKE MITT ROMNEYBY ERICK ERICKSONRED STATEThe Republican base does not trust Mitt Romney. Because they do not trust him, they do not like him as a candidate. His campaign, all too clever to try to sit on an ephemeral lead that any outside observer could see was more vaporware than reality, has decided to go fully negative now against Gingrich. In other words, Mitt Romney who no one much cares for outside of well paid consultants, lobbyists, and First Class Acela Express Republicans in Washington and New York is going to drive up his own negatives to make Newt Gingrich more toxic to the base than himself. That’s a winning strategy for the general for sure! “Hey,” Team Romney must be saying, “We’ll just remind them about the Supreme Court to get them to turn out in the general.” That worked so well for Team McCain.