Bloomberg View on why Paul Ryan's new antipoverty blueprint is praiseworthy. Ryan has changed course from his previously austere budgets by introducing a deficit neutral program to combat poverty. "It is certainly a foundation on which conservatives can build. One of the plan's proposals would combine 11 current programs -- including food stamps, child care, housing subsidies and what remains of traditional welfare -- into something called Opportunity Grants. It sounds like a block-grant program, the anathema of liberals because they distrust the states' ability (or will) to distribute grants fairly, and it comes with a big exception: States can opt in only if their plans pass federal-government muster." Bloomberg praises Ryan for doing what the Republican party hasn't done of late, toning down the aspects of its rhetoric and policies that explicitly take money from the poor. "There is and always will be a tension inherent in government programs for the poor -- between providing assistance and discouraging dependence. For too long, the Republican Party has paid too much attention to the latter at the expense of the former. One promise of Ryan's plan is that it may shift his party's focus."
Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post on why Israel is losing their moral high ground as civilian deaths continue to mount in Gaza. Robinson contends that the growing civilian death toll, which increased after a U.N. shelter in Gaza was bombed on Thursday, transcends the idea of casualties of war. "I support Israel. I abhor Hamas. But unleashing such devastating firepower on a tiny, densely crowded enclave in which civilians are trapped — and thus destined to become casualties — is wrong by any reasonable moral standard." Unlike refugees in Syria or Iraq, civilians in Gaza are unable to flee, Robinson writes. "Gazans cannot flee across the closed border with Egypt. They obviously do not have the option of escaping into Israel or sailing away across the Mediterranean Sea. Gaza’s 1.8 million people are packed into an enclave measuring 139 square miles — an area and population roughly the size of Philadelphia."