- Nicholas Kristof on Inequality The New York Times columnist argues that economic inequality causes a kind of "melancholy of the soul" for society at large. He cites a new study by British researchers that says inequality breeds "high rates of violent crime, high narcotics use, high teenage birthrates and even high rates of heart disease":
The heart of their argument is that humans are social animals and that in highly unequal societies those at the bottom suffer from a range of pathologies. For example, a long-term study of British civil servants found that messengers, doormen and others with low status were much more likely to die of heart disease, suicide and some cancers and had substantially worse overall health.
- David Ignatius on America's Military Investments The Washington Post columnist worries that our military is spending too much on what it doesn't need and not enough on what it desperately needs:
What worries me is that even as the military looks forward, the brass is still clamoring to build the legacy systems - think aircraft-carrier battle groups - that will soon be vulnerable to the new weapons. It's as if the Pentagon were trying to be the old IBM, running big, clunky mainframes while trying to be an Apple-like innovator. We can't afford to do both.
- Dave Barry on Why 2010 Sucked The Miami Herald columnist ticks off a laundry list of unfortunate events. Here's a mere glimpse of what happened outside the U.S.:
Last month, when you struck your tax deal with Republican leaders, you said you were negotiating with “hostage takers.” In the future, please choose your metaphors more carefully. Republicans are not terrorists. They are not the enemy. Like you, they love their country, and they want what is best for the American people. They just have a different judgment about what that is. Let me propose a New Year’s resolution for you: Have a beer with a Republican at least once a week. The two of you won’t necessarily agree, but you might end up with a bit more respect for each other’s differences.
- Robert Reich on the Dreary Future of Bipartisanship The former secretary of labor under President Clinton argues that Republicans will push a far-right agenda that will gridlock Congress. By pushing for unattainable goals like a flat tax, cuts on Social Security and a repeal of the President's health care bill—nothing will get done:
Don't believe what you hear about bipartisanship, at least when it comes to who gets what. The only way we'll see more bipartisanship in 2011 will be if more Democrats join Republicans to further entrench power and privilege in America. But that's not the kind of bipartisanship we need.