5 Best Monday Columns

Ross Douthat on Catholic contrition, the Boston Globe editors on countering Citizens United, and more

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  • The Boston Globe on Countering Citizens United  The Globe's editors detail a number of measures introduced in Congress to check campaign finance spending by corporations. Warning the Supreme Court's repeal of campaign finance reform will "make officeholders more beholden to special interests," they laud the proposals as bulwarks against wanton corporate spending on elections. "Approval votes by shareholders or union members, “stand by your ad’’ statements, easily accessible, immediate disclosure — these are all necessary features in any legislation to soften the potentially significant impact of the court’s decision."
  • Arthur Herman on Obama and Europe  At the National Review, Herman lambastes the Obama administration for damaging U.S. relations with Europe. Homing in on an air-tankers contract dispute that "could not only damage our relations with Europe in the short run, but wreck our plans for winning in Afghanistan," Herman forecasts a "weapons procurement crisis" in the U.S. if European military manufacturers are unwilling to invest here. "America is going to need European firms to keep itself armed and secure," he concludes.
  • Robert Samuelson on Health-Care Reform and the Budget Crisis  Playing the role of fiscal Cassandra, the Washington Post columnist opines on the impending budget crisis wrought by the costs of health-care reform. Samuelson warns readers not write off such claims as an "accounting exercise"; a budget crisis is "a wrenching political, social and economic upheaval," resulting in a cycle of large deficits and rising debt, low investment, high interest rates, spending cuts, higher taxes, and finally, increased unemployment. Between his gloomy economic predictions, Samuelson reminds us that Obama, who has down the seeds of this impending disaster by engaging in "wishful thinking to rationalize self-interest," will be forced to enjoy the bitter harvest at the hands of history.
  • Paul Krugman on Punks and Plutocrats  Looking back on the rise of "shadow banking" in the 1980s that led to our current financial debacle, The New York Times columnist asserts that only a serious Senate can put together the regulations required for a return to economic normalcy. However, Krugman assets that the Boehner narrative of "little punk" staffers bailing out banks aren't a potential obstacle, but rather Republican plutocrats who conflate the need for pressing financial regulations with big government economic controls:
The only question is whether we’re going to regulate bankers so that they don’t abuse the privilege of government backing. And it’s that regulation — not future bailouts — that reform opponents are trying to block. So it’s the punks versus the plutocrats — those who want to rein in runaway banks, and bankers who want the freedom to put the economy at risk, freedom enhanced by the knowledge that taxpayers will bail them out in a crisis.
  • Ross Douthat on Catholic Contrition  Last week's scandal of sexual abuse and papal cover-up was one that relatively few conservatives have addressed head-on, but the New York Times columnist admits that Ratzinger was "at best... negligent" and "at worse, he enabled further abuse." Though Douthat goes some distance to blame a "permissive sexual culture" engendered by the left, ultimately he acknowledges that the church culture of "insistence on institutional loyalty" played a destructive role as well. In the end, he seems to call for a bit of head-rolling: "Popes do not resign. But a pope can clean house."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.