5 Best Tuesday Columns

Yves Smith and Rob Parenteau on profits hurting capitalism, Kathryn Jean Lopez on women in politics, and more

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  • David Brooks on Economic Realism  The New York Times columnist highlights the disconnect between economic theorists and government executives in their respective efforts to pull the U.S. out of the recession. Despite the faith of "Demand-Siders" in a recovery model fueled by stimulus spending, no economic theory that includes massive debt can inspire the average consumer. "You can’t read models, but you do talk to entrepreneurs in Racine and Yakima," writes Brooks. "Higher deficits will make them more insecure and more risk-averse, not less. They’re afraid of a fiscal crisis. They’re afraid of future tax increases. They don’t believe government-stimulated growth is real and lasting. Maybe they are wrong to feel this way, but they do. And they are the ones who invest and hire, not the theorist"
  • David Ignatius on Spying in Cyberspace  The Washington Post columnist examines the effects of last week's discovery of a Russian spy ring on the nature of cyber-espionage. Not only are the new digital operatives less visible, but they are certainly far more dangerous than old-school cloak-and-dagger spies. "Old-fashioned spy networks burrow their way into the corridors of power so they can steal secrets that reveal their adversaries' intentions and capabilities. The new cyber-spies can often lift that information with a keystroke. "
  • Kathryn Jean Lopez on Women in Politics  The National Review writer just can't find it in her to care about the numbers: "I humbly submit that women in America really don’t need bean-counters." She says she'd rather have people in the Senate, Supreme Court, and elsewhere that share her views rather than her gender. "If they happen to be men," she writes, "what's wrong with that? If they happen to be women, super ... When I vote, when I look at the political landscape, I don’t need someone who dresses like I might."
  • Matthew Kaminski on Ghana and the World Cup  Kaminski's topic is Ghana's elimination due to a deliberate handball from Uruguay, with the penalty shot that followed failing to score. "What crazy sport lets a clear win turn, poof, into defeat?" he asks in the Wall Street Journal. It's "no wonder Americans have a hard time with soccer." In Ghana, however, "in response to my indignation, came resignation. 'That's soccer.' 'The rules were followed.'" This World Cup, writes Kaminski, "gave Americans a taste of the awful, exhilarating feeling that comes with bleeding for your national team at a World Cup."
  • Yves Smith and Rob Parenteau on Profits Hurting Capitalism  In a New York Times op-ed today, the co-authors question the motivation behind corporate spending or, rather lack thereof. Noting the fact that over the past decade, corporations have been saving more than spending, they say "the reason for all this saving in the United States is that public companies have become obsessed with quarterly earnings. To show short-term profits, they avoid investing in future growth." Unfortunately, all this saving also means no investing in small businesses or new technologies, both of which would give the U.S. economy a much needed boost. The solution, they suggest, is that "policymakers need to create incentives for corporations to reinvest their profits in business operations.... At the same time, the federal government must continue to encourage investment in the economy - ideally by creating incentives for investments in national priorities, like new energy technologies."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.