5 Best Thursday Columns

Deficits, divorce, health-care disaster. Someone think of the children!

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  • Karl Rove on ObamaCare's Fallout  No one expected Rove to come around to the president's health-care plan any time soon, but the Wall Street Journal columnist has an even sharper tongue than usual today. Marrying mathematical models to a clear-eyed vision of how employers are likely to react to ObamaCare's sundry requirements, Rove predicts that countless Americans will be forced to accept "second-class health care," a trend that in turn will incur costs much higher "than the $1 trillion-plus price tag claimed by ObamaCare advocates for its first 10 years." And what of those inadequately covered employees? "Some will blame management," writes Rove. "Many more will blame those who wrote this terrible legislation."
  • E.J. Dionne On Democrats' Pride and Purpose  "A weird malaise is haunting the Democratic Party," writes the Washington Post columnist, all too aware of the historical resonance of the word. With the results of the recent NPR poll affirming a daunting November for Democrats, Dionne ponders exactly how hopeless the Democratic Party may be:
The GOP seems to be doing all it can to make itself unelectable, veering far to the right and embracing a Tea Party movement that, at its extremes, preaches the need for revolution. That sounds more like the old New Left than a reinvigorated conservatism. Oh, yes, and can you think of one thing Republicans stand for right now other than cutting spending? Never mind that they are conspicuously vague about what they'd cut. Yet it is Democrats who are petrified, uncertain and hesitant -- and this was true before the oil spill made matters worse.
  • Joshua Green on Runaway Military Spending  We here at The Atlantic Wire try not to train the spotlight on Green too much--he's one of our own, after all, and we don't want to seem self-promoting. But today's Boston Globe column is too good to ignore: Green interrogates the truism that it's political suicide to suggest cutting the bloated military budget. On the contrary, Green points out, Obama could actually help himself by doing so. "It would demonstrate that he’s serious about deficit cutting, which might free him and his party from their political stricture... [and] it would give him an opportunity to cooperate with Republicans, and not just moderates, but true deficit hawks like [Ron] Paul."
  • Danny Afzal Tells a Muslim Prisoner's Story  The Prison Reform Trust researcher shares his experience as a devout Muslim in a highly structured prison environment. Facing challenges from the dietary ("all Muslim prisoners were given a vegetarian diet, as halal meat was not available to them... I chose sausages and chips and bacon butties over God and I guess I will burn for that") to the social ("I lived with the rest of the heathens and found myself on the periphery of the Asian prison community"), Afzal seeks to explain the complex relationship between holding fast to one's faith and surviving in a place designed to crush hope.
  • Stephanie Coontz on Divorce, No-Fault Style  In light of the news that New York state might allow no-fault divorces, the New York Times contributor examines the pros and cons of what it would mean for married couples seeking divorce. Exploring the history of how no-fault came to be, she says, "In every state that adopted no-fault divorce, whether unilateral or by mutual consent, divorce rates increased for the next five years or so. But once the pent-up demand for divorces was met, divorce rates stabilized." However, she adds, "unilateral divorce has decreased the bargaining power of the person who wants the marriage to last and has not engaged in behavior that meets the legal definition of fault. On the other hand, it has increased the bargaining power of the person who is willing to leave."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.