5 Best Wednesday Columns
Jimmy Carter on Sudan's elections, Joel Moskowitz on cell-phone perils, and more
- Holman Jenkins Stands Up for Goldman Sachs Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Jenkins offers a lucid defense of Goldman Sachs and the hedge fund manager John Paulson. Goldman's actions represent no grotesque moral failure, argues Jenkins; the firm was simply doing what every investment service ought to, and doing it better than some. Jenkins also goes to bat for the financial instruments known as CDOs: "With so many financial institutions sitting on massive portfolios of mortgages, how on earth could a mechanism to share some of the risk with willing counterparties fail to be useful?"
- Thomas Friedman on the Climate Bill's Urgency At The New York Times, Friedman laments the forestalling of Senators Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman's climate-and-jobs bill in favor of immigration reform. President Obama, in Friedman's view, needs to make the climate bill a priority, lest a crucial moment slip past and "America [cede] the next great global industry — E.T., energy technology — to China." Friedman offers Obama a 200-word sales pitch that unites green tech with economic growth, national infrastructure, increased stability between nations, and a healthier planet. "I believe if you talk straight to the American people on energy and climate," Friedman concludes, "they will give you the right answers."
- Jimmy Carter on Sudan's National Elections In an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, the former president highlights the importance of Sudan's national elections held in mid-April. While Carter declares the Sudanese elections the "most complex and difficult" of those monitored by the Carter Center--marred by issues regarding polling stations, voter lists, and voter intimidation--Carter nonetheless declares the election as an overall success. The role of the U.S., however, is far from over. "It is imperative that the United States and the international community remain deeply involved in Sudan, insisting that all elements of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement be implemented," declares Carter. "This is the only hope for a long-suffering and courageous people, including those in Darfur, who have had at least a partial taste of freedom, peace, and democracy."
- Steven Pearlstein on the Goldman Sachs Hearings Painting the hearing as a clash of two flawed "planets," the Washington Post columnist describes the differing styles of Congress and Goldman in the hearings. While the senators were "aging and slightly rumpled politicians of varying sophistication," Goldman's brash young traders earned a more lasting takedown. "Sitting opposite were four brilliant young men from Planet Wall Street, each impeccably tailored in dark suits, white shirts and subtly colored ties, and each sporting that one-day growth of facial hair that holds some mysterious attraction to females in Lower Manhattan," Pearlstein deadpanned. As for the hearings themselves, Pearlstein bluntly condemned Goldman.
There was a time when issuers would pay a premium to have Goldman Sachs underwrite their securities, just as there was a time when investors would pay a premium to buy into a Goldman-sponsored offering. Today, Goldman has fully monetized the value of its reputation, and anyone who pays such a premium is a fool.
- Joel Moskowitz on Cell Phones and Cancer In a guest turn for the San Francisco Chronicle, Moskowitz insists cell phones could be the new cigarettes, the latest mass-marketed product with deadly side effects. "The 13 studies that investigated cell phone use for 10 or more years found a significant harmful association with tumor risk, especially for brain tumors, giving us ample reason for concern about long-term use," he argues. Urging the government to change FCC regulations to address the issue, Moskowitz declares waiting is not an option. "Although more research on cell phone radiation is needed, we cannot afford to wait."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.