Five Best Monday Columns

Fred Hiatt on presidential leadership and the deficit, William D. Cohan on Facebook's small investors, Anne Applebaum on the Diamond Jubilee, Preet Bharara on combating cybercrime, and Juliette Kayyem on writing columns. 

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Fred Hiatt in The Washington Post on presidential leadership and the deficit Whoever wins the presidential election will have to make tough concessions to the other side on entitlement spending and tax hikes to address the long-term deficit. Hiatt wonders whether either Romney or Obama will have the spine. "The reason to doubt Obama can be summed up simply: He's had his chance," Hiatt writes. "But good luck finding evidence of spine in Romney's political career." Both leaders will have incentive to take on the issue, Hiatt writes. Many factors, like the makeup of Congress, will affect the success, but so will the president's political leadership.

William D. Cohan in Bloomberg View on Facebook's small investors Several shareholder lawsuits allege that Facebook and its underwriters withheld information from small investors causing them to rack up losses as the stock value declined post-IPO. "OK, once and for all: When will small investors finally get the message that investing in IPOs is a fool's game and that yet again they served as mere grist for Wall Street’s IPO selling machine?" Cohan asks. He argues that small investors should understand by now that banks organize IPOs to reward themselves, their institutional investors, and the company itself. "The truth is that if small investors simply remembered they are nowhere to be found on the list of important constituents for an IPO such as Facebook's, and simply stayed away, the traditional Wall Street IPO machinery would break down."

Anne Applebaum in The Washington Post on the Diamond Jubilee Applebaum explores why even the Brits with traditionally ironic or skeptical attitudes toward the monarchy are so earnest about the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrating 60 years on the throne. "Most of all, the queen, simply by living so long, has come to epitomize an increasingly rare idea of duty that many in Britain, and elsewhere, admire. She doesn't quit, she doesn't complain, she doesn't talk to the press or protest when people draw nasty caricatures or say unpleasant things about her family." She offers a quiet contrast to the modern model of a celebrity, and it's one we should admire, Applebaum writes.

Preet Bharara in The New York Times on combating cybercrime Companies and governments have left themselves open to devastating cyber attacks and it's often because they don't take even the most basic precautions, fearing a much more complex enemy than they're sometimes facing. "We have a false impression that all hackers are hyper-sophisticated, digital versions of Tom Cruise rappelling down a building, 'Mission Impossible'-style. But the more mundane reality is that companies are most often breached by hackers walking down virtual hallways, looking for a single unlocked door." Companies have to embrace cultures of disclosure, he writes, and take measures to actively combat cybercrime.

Juliette Kayyem in The Boston Globe on women and column writing A study by the Op-Ed Project found a lack of women contributing to op-ed pages at "legacy" publications, noting that women most often contribute to topics within "the four 'Fs' — food, family, furniture (home), and fashion." "[A]s a woman who was in government and now writes mostly in the fifth 'F' — foreign policy — I can write my very first advice column to anyone who is aiming for a voice, especially those who want to write about all wars, not just the mommy ones." Kayyem's advice on column writing is good reading even for those who simply read a lot of columns. She writes, for instance, "David Ignatius advised me to get out of the office. He is right. If women allegedly prefer to write about things that are personal, then make the world personal."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.