5 Best Tuesday Columns

Arianna Huffington on ineffective regulation, Ezra Klein on public anger in America, and more

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  • Arianna Huffington on Bad Regulation  The Huffington Post founder links the financial crisis and the West Virginia mining tragedy to a common cause: ineffective regulation. "The problem isn't a shortage of regulators," she argues. "It's the way we've allowed the regulated to game the system." Looking at the recent responses to federal regulation by big mining and Wall Street, Huffington sees a vicious cycle.
A disaster occurs. Politicians are "outraged" and demand reform. Laws are passed. And then, when the next disaster occurs, that the new laws were supposed to protect against, we find out about the loopholes.
  • Richard Wenzel on Swine Flu  A year after the first reported case of H1N1, the VCU professor writes a guest op-ed for the New York Times decrying the "serious shortcomings in the world’s public health response" exposed by the global health crisis. The biggest shortfall was the lack of vaccines and care in developing countries, prompting Wenzel to urge the world "to approach disease control not as individual nations, but as a global community." He goes on to propose a financial reward for those who identify possible pandemics in their early stages and an increased reliance on international health organizations.
  • Ezra Klein on Public Anger  In a departure from his usual focus, the Washington Post blogger thoughtfully explores the tensions within American anger, concluding that the skewed focus of political elites is the source of popular unrest. Klein points to the dual decline of the manufacturing and journalism jobs: elites tend to be more anxious about the erosion of white collar "knowledge" industries that affect their daily lives than passively-observed blue collar jobs. The manifestation of such preferences -- Klein points to the Wall Street bailouts -- doesn't do much to contribute to national solidarity. "So the economy can batter the working class and it's all part of the natural order of things," muses Klein, "but the rich seem to get saved when things don't go their way."
  • The Wall Street Journal on Nuclear Mismanagement  The Journal's editors take Obama to task for "dodg[ing] the hard decisions necessary to stop the world's most dangerous proliferators" at this week's nuclear summit. Specifically, the editors say, Obama should be taking a more aggressive stance toward Iran and North Korea, two countries it would be easy to imagine cutting a deal with terrorists who want to become nuclear-capable. Iran in particular seems a threat to be contained: "Prevent an Iranian breakout," the editors write, "and the risk of an al Qaeda nuclear attack falls sharply."
  • Eugene Robinson on the Peculiar Institution  Spurred on by Haley Barbour's recent dismissal of slavery as "something that doesn't matter for diddly," the Washington Post columnist points out that slavery in fact shaped the development of America more than most people are aware. For Barbour to minimize that period in American history is, to Robinson, intellectually unacceptable. "But while they're entitled to their own set of opinions, they're not entitled to their own set of facts."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.