5 Best Monday Columns

Paul Krugman on GOP strategy, Thomas Friedman on nation-building, and more

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  • Paul Krugman on the 'Bankruptcy Boys'  The New York Times columnist anticipates trouble ahead for the GOP as they deal with President Obama's bipartisan deficit commission. Krugman predicts that now that their Reagan-era "starve the beast" strategy has forced Obama to extend a hand to GOPers, Republicans will be forced to "put up or shut up," leading to a nasty bout of potentially damaging obstructionism: "Now the de facto strategy is to oppose any responsible action until we are in the midst of a fiscal catastrophe. You read it here first."
  • Glenn Greenwald on the GOP’s Libertarian Myth  As CPAC delegates champion smaller government and libertarian Ron Paul's victory in the 2012 straw poll, Greenwald feels compelled to call out the GOP for hypocrisy.
When in power, they massively expand the power of the state in every realm. Deficit spending and the national debt skyrocket. The National Security State is bloated beyond description through wars and occupations, while no limits are tolerated on the Surveillance State.  Then, when out of power, they suddenly pretend to re-discover their ‘small government principles.’”
  • Thomas Friedman on Obama's Nation-Building Challenge  The New York Times columnist offers a sobering take on America's new era of economic contraction. In Friedman's view, President Obama needs to unite the disparate strands of his domestic policy into a grand call to rebuild the country. But, he adds, the responsibility is not Obama's alone; every citizen has a role to play. "We have to demand the truth from our politicians and be ready to accept it ourselves," Friedman writes. "We simply do not have another presidency to waste."
  • Robert Samuelson on Greece and the Welfare State  The Washington Post columnist asserts that the meaning of the Greek debt crisis "transcends high finance," spelling potential disaster for both the Euro and the future of the welfare state:
The threat to the euro bloc ultimately stems from an overcommitted welfare state. Greece's situation is so difficult because a low birth rate and rapidly graying population automatically increase old-age assistance even as the government tries to cut its spending. At issue is the viability of its present welfare state.
  • Reuel Marc Gerecht and Mark Dubowitz on Iran  In a joint column for The Wall Street Journal, two senior members of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies argue that gasoline sanctions are now the only effective move the U.S. can make against Iran. "For sanctions to be a game changer, they have to be crushing," the authors declare, adding that such a move would strengthen the position of Iran's Green Movement. "Iranians who are fed up with theocracy are certainly not going to embrace it if Mr. Obama declares gasoline sanctions the midwife of representative government."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.