5 Best Tuesday Columns

David Brooks on children of the '70s, Anne Applebaum on pirates, and more

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  • David Brooks on the Children of the 1970s  Reflecting on the social and political unrest of the 1970s, the New York Times columnist asserts that various "psychological affects" still remain. "If you grew up in or near an American city in the 1970s, you grew up with crime (and divorce), and this disorder was bound to leave a permanent mark," writes Brooks. "It was bound to shape the people, now in their 40s and early-50s, reaching the pinnacles of power." The result is a light tinge of classism. "The crime wave made it hard to accept the story line that the poor were always spiritually pure, noble and oppressed.... [it] eroded the sense of solidarity that existed after World War II. The rich isolated themselves."
  • Anne Applebaum on Justice for Pirates  At Slate, Applebaum tries to parse the legal niceties of prosecuting Somali pirates. "Pirates are hard to convict," Applebaum points out, "because it is hard to collect evidence at sea, because ship captains have other priorities, and because the nearest working courts, in Kenya and the Seychelles, are overwhelmed by pirate cases." What's needed, she concludes, is a coordinated international effort to agree upon a solution, because the current practice of setting captured pirates adrift on a raft and letting them fend for themselves isn't substantially different from making them "walk the plank."
  • Richard Cohen on Imperial Atrophy  In a sobering Washington Post column, Cohen takes a macro view of all the ways in which the United States simply isn't as powerful as it used to be. "The spill goes on. The war goes on. The debt grows," Cohen observes. "Times have changed. America's power is diminished -- relatively, for sure, but absolutely as well." But all isn't lost, he adds; there are things America can do to make itself more efficacious again. "We can spend less, tax more, abjure wars of choice, reform Congress and stop confusing the celebrity of the presidency with actual power."
  • Martin Feldstein on Eurozone Deficits   Feldstein, a Harvard professor of economics and president emeritus of the National Bureau of Economic Research, recommends in The Washington Post that countries in the eurozone adopt a new set of rules to ensure that their deficits remain low. His suggestion? Use a system not unlike the one practiced within America, where "each state's constitution prohibits borrowing for operating purposes." Feldstein acknowledges that there are significant policy differences between a group of states and a collection of nations, but maintains that "if the budget rules are well articulated, the effectiveness of the fiscal discipline will remain"--and discipline is something Europe can't do without.
  • Daniel Doron on the Land of Silicon and Money  In an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, president of the Israel Center for Social and Economic Progress Daniel Doron urges Israel to hold off on joining the OECD, recounting Israel's long slog from post-war socialist state to and oasis for investment and innovation. "Joining the OECD will no doubt assist Israel's development," cautions Doron. "But it may also put additional burdens on its economy, which is already reeling under the heavy load of welfare costs and transfer payments that consume a third of its $70 billion budget ...We can only hope that Israel's extraordinary vitality and creativity will again prevail, even in face of such new challenges."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.