Five Best Monday Columns

Robert J. Samuelson on empty American dreams, Jeff Rubin on oil price and the economy, Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers on Romney's tax plan, Thomas B. Edsall on Pennsylvania's swing state status, and Gordon G. Chang on China protests and the economy. 

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Robert J. Samuelson in The Washington Post on the empty American dream It's time to give up the term "American dream." The dream of college has left many in debt, and dreams of homeownership fueled the housing bubble. The problem is people will always have inherent disadvantages, and "government has only limited power to offset these disadvantages. The appeal of the American Dream is that it’s disconnected from nasty facts and choices."

Jeff Rubin in Bloomberg View on the oil price-economy relationship Cheap oil drives the economy, but the price of oil has quadrupled—and it's a permanent shift that caps economic growth potential. Growth cannot return to previous rates because of $100-a-barrel oil. "The end of growth means governments will need to radically change how economies are managed," Rubin writes. "Fiscal and monetary policies need to be recalibrated to account for slower potential growth rates."

Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers in Bloomberg View on how Romney won't be lowering taxes The problem with Romney's tax cut promises is that he's also promised revenue neutrality. The tax rates are not falling; they're being rearranged. Limits on tax deferred savings means "families that depend on them heavily (most likely the middle class) could end up with a higher marginal tax burden, while families that never used them could be taxed less."

Thomas B. Edsall in The New York Times on Pennsylvania's fading swing state status The demographics in Pennsylvania suggested it was an opportunity for Republicans, but the Romney campaign has struggled there because many Hispanics are moving into Republican strongholds and working class whites outside of the South are more politically divided—a parallel to the rest of the country. Edsall looks at Lehigh County: "There are conservatives and Romney supporters here, but they are no longer plentiful and they are not optimistic about Romney’s presidential chances."

Gordon G. Chang in Forbes on long-term economic effects of Chinese anti-Japan protests Short-term effects of rioting may be limited, but in the long term, riots could be bad for China's economy for three reasons: China is no longer in a supercycle, it's an unreliable member of global supply chains, and the government itself is promoting the anti-Japan sentiments. "China at the moment is unstable, and that puts foreign businesses there—not to mention the Chinese economy—at risk."

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