5 Best Sunday Columns

Goldman Sachs, America's ruling class, Boy Scouts and more...

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  • Felix Salmon on the Real Damage Done to Goldman Sachs  The Washington Post guest columnist says the biggest blow to Goldman isn't the SEC suit—it's the loss of its reputation: "Without its clients' trust, the Goldman franchise crumbles, and the bank becomes just an ordinary trading shop. No longer can it charge a premium for its mergers and acquisitions advisory services, or its stock and bond underwriting, or its customized structured products. To put it in baseball terms, it has lost what another storied franchise, the Yankees, so closely guards -- its mystique and aura."
  • P.J. O'Rourke on America's Best and Brightest  The Weekly Standard writer argues we've got the wrong kind of leadership class today: "America has made the mistake of letting the A student run things. It was A students who briefly took over the business world during the period of derivatives, credit swaps, and collateralized debt obligations. We’re still reeling from the effects. This is why good businessmen have always adhered to the maxim: 'A students work for B students.'"
  • Paul Theroux on the New Boy Scouts  The New York Times contributor calls for a more inclusive Boy Scouts of America: "The Boy Scouts would be doing a great service if it made a few adjustments (as it did after the era of segregation) and acted on that crisp acknowledgment of inclusiveness. Far from eviscerating its principles, accepting gays and atheists would strengthen them... Not only are such boys capable of being good scouts, but the recognition of such traits would help to make their fellow scouts more tolerant, especially at that awkward age."
  • Brooke Masters on Eliot Spitzer  Reviewing a new book about Eliot Spitzer, Masters rejects its claim that Spitzer could have fixed our financial system: "Spitzer's history does not support claims that he would have been ideally positioned to prevent the financial crisis. His investigation of American International Group focused on accounting, not the structured products unit that ultimately cost U.S. taxpayers billions. Far from spotting troubles in the subprime mortgage market, Spitzer drew criticism as attorney general for failing to bring any significant real estate cases. It also seems improbable that the political skills that failed him so badly as governor would have worked better in the debate over financial reform."
  • Thomas Friedman on the Green Tea Party  The New York Times columnist calls for a populist revolt on foreign oil: "I’d be happy to design the T-shirt logo and write the manifesto. The logo is easy. It would show young Americans throwing barrels of oil imported from Venezuela and Saudi Arabia into Boston Harbor. The manifesto is easy, too: 'We, the Green Tea Party, believe that the most effective way to advance America’s national security and economic vitality would be to impose a $10 'Patriot Fee' on every barrel of imported oil, with all proceeds going to pay down our national debt.'"
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