Economic suicide seems to Europe's choice, writes Paul Krugman, who surely must get tired of having to repeat his message to the stopped-up ears across the pond and here at home:
In a way, it doesn’t really matter how Spain got to this point—but for what it’s worth, the Spanish story bears no resemblance to the morality tales so popular among European officials, especially in Germany. Spain wasn’t fiscally profligate—on the eve of the crisis it had low debt and a budget surplus. Unfortunately, it also had an enormous housing bubble, a bubble made possible in large part by huge loans from German banks to their Spanish counterparts. When the bubble burst, the Spanish economy was left high and dry; Spain’s fiscal problems are a consequence of its depression, not its cause.Jackson Diehl says President Obama's election-year delaying tactics are hurting U.S. foreign policy interests.
Nonetheless, the prescription coming from Berlin and Frankfurt is, you guessed it, even more fiscal austerity.
This is, not to mince words, just insane.
David Leonhardt weighs in on "Taxmageddon," the end of the tax breaks that hit a wide swath of Americans in less eight-and-a-half months. He thinks whoever wins the election is going to have a tough time of it:
What’s missing from these plans is any detail on which tax breaks would be eliminated. Corporate lobbyists, like those at the Business Roundtable, offer an especially telling contrast: they urge the government to reform the tax code while continuing to push for loopholes that benefit them and generally refusing to name loopholes they would close.Ruth Marcus is sick of the "Mommy Wars":
The tax breaks that cost the government the most money turn out to be overwhelmingly popular. The three largest are those for health insurance provided by employers, mortgage interest and 401(k)’s.
...maybe, instead of taking turns disavowing [Hilary] Rosen and proclaiming their undying admiration for mothers everywhere, President Obama and Mitt Romney could engage on some of these points. That would be a more productive use of their time—and ours.Michael Kinsley:
Take, for example, the issue of equal pay.
Effective class warfare requires drawing a line and choosing a side. All this talk about millionaires effectively moves the line from income of $250,000 a year (the level below which Obama has promised not to raise taxes) to $1 million (the level below which you don't have to worry about the Buffett rule). Politically, the more people on your side, the better. But economically, it makes the war nearly pointless.Debra Saunders is a tad too young to have been on the front-lines in the '60s, but her assessment of student protests sounds just like right-wingers did then.
In discussing how growth in the retail workforce has stalled out as companies opt for fewer cashiers, fewer salespeople and more "frictionless" interaction between customers and their money, Derek Thompson notes:
A recent Harvard Business Review study looked at four low-price retailers, including Costco and Trader Joe's, with higher labor costs (more salespeople, higher wages, more full-time workers) than their competitors. It turned out "they were more profitable than most of their competitors and have more sales per employee and per square foot," James Surowiecki reported in the New Yorker.John Nichols says, contrary to the delusions of Rep. Allen West, there are no commies in Congress, not even in the Congressional Progressive Caucus, where a few are democratic socialists. But, says Nichols, some Republicans have found Marxists and Marxist analysis interesting:
[Vito] Marcantonio’s Republicanism was in the tradition of the party’s founders, very radical and very committed to breaking the grip of racist and segregationist Democrats on the policymaking of the country. It happened that this stance, in this regard, paralleled that of the Communist Party—which during the period of his Congressional service elected members of the New York City Council from Manhattan and Brooklyn.The 99% Spring efforts of MoveOn.org are seen by many in the Occupy movement as an effort to co-opt its non-electoral, non-hierarchical approach to politics, but Josh Harkinson writes that there's something happening here that ain't yet exactly clear. But it might be a melding of minds. At a 99% Spring non-violent training session brimful of people with gray hair:
Marcantonio, who represented part of Harlem, worked to bring African-Americans into the Republican Party and championed their candidacies. He would have delighted in the fact that a once-segregated Southern state such as Florida now sends an African-American Republican—Allen West—to Congress.
But Marcantonio, a student of Lincoln and the radical Republican tradition, would probably have encouraged West to read a bit more of the real history of the Republican Party.
"It's fine that we have MoveOn.org and we can press a button and sign a petition, but that isn't going to get the job done," an elderly woman in a red sweater told the crowd. "So we are here. And the real question is: What are we going to do when we leave here tonight? Are we going to stray out of our comfort zones and take some direct action together—or not?"Mona, Mona, Mona. I used to edit Mona Charen's column, and so very frequently she had a problem with the...uh...facts:
The president is barnstorming around the nation hoping to enrage voters at the injustice that the wealthy pay fewer taxes than the middle class. "Now that's wrong," Obama objected, "That's not fair."Charen goes on to explain that the top 10 percent of Americans pay 70 percent of income taxes. But Obama did not say the wealthy pay fewer taxes than the middle class. He said: "Today, the wealthiest Americans are paying taxes at one of the lowest rates in 50 years. [...] That's not fair. It doesn't make any sense."
It also isn't true.
Not content with her deceit, she channels Allen West by raising the specter of Stalin, saying that Obama is finding "'kulaks' to scapegoat." Classy.