Five Best Friday Columns

Ben White explains why Wall Street thinks the GOP is nuts, Rohit Kumar thinks the GOP can still win the debt limit fight, Jonathan Cohn says Obamacare was worth the wait, Andrew Leonard hates the new tech boom, and Vanessa Barbara explains Brazil's view of the NSA. 

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Ben White at Politico on why Wall Street thinks the GOP is nuts. White, Politico's chief economic correspondent, explains that a brief shutdown would cause "far less long-term damage than a default, which would likely send interest rates sky-rocketing, crush the stock market, devastate business and consumer confidence, and probably send the nation’s economy hurtling back into recession if not depression." If the GOP is able to successfully use the debt limit as a political weapon, "an eventual default [will be] a near-certainty when future negotiations fail." Further, polls show that even most Republican voters don't think forcing a default over Obamacare is worth it. White's colleague, White House reporter Edward-Isaac Dovere, tweeted, "Have you not read this @morningmoneyben piece yet? Why not?" Igor Bobic, an assistant editor at Talking Points Memo, remarked, "It's always so amazing to hear Wall Street #realtalk from @morningmoneyben."

Rohit Kumar at Bloomberg View thinks Republicans can still win the debt limit fight. Kumar, the recently departed chief of staff for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, argues that "there is a way out" of the debt limit fight that has "nothing to do with Obamacare." Further, he thinks that "Obama’s refusal to negotiate is pure posturing, an opening bid." Instead of focusing on the ACA, Congressional Republicans should seek to "secure an agreement to fundamentally change the tax code in a revenue-neutral way." Bottom line? "If Republicans play the long game on the debt ceiling, they can achieve something of significance and put the Republican in charge of negotiating the next fiscal agreement in the strongest possible position." Matt O'Brien, who covers economics at The Atlantic, tweeted, "Uh-oh: ex-McConnell staffer thinks Obama's 'I won't negotiate over the debt ceiling' is just an opening bid," and Noam Schreiber at The New Republic remarked, "If this is how GOP policy staffers actually think, we are so completely screwed." Anne Cronin, the deputy managing editor at Politico, recommends the piece.

Jonathan Cohn at The New Republic on why Obamacare was worth the wait. Cohn quips, "For the U.S. health care system, dysfunction is a pre-existing condition." He traces health care history from the 1920s until now when Obamacare will formally begin on October 1. While everyone thinks there are problems with the law (of course, Democrats and Republicans don't agree on what they are), Cohn argues the Affordable Care Act is already driving medical costs down and will insure more Americans than ever before. Cohn points out what only policy experts will tell you: "When conservatives say they have alternatives for expanding health insurance, they generally mean they will cover fewer people or offer people less protection." His bottom line is that Republicans and Democrats can quibble over what's good and bad in the law, but Obamacare is the best option to cover the most Americans. Jonathan Chait, a politics writer at New Yorktweeted, "If you know anybody who doesn't understand what Obamacare does and why, send them this." MSNBC host Chris Hayes also recommends the piece.

Andrew Leonard at Salon hates the new tech boom.  Leonard writes that the tech industry "feels bubbly" right now, but "the current freneticism is a very different animal from the original dot-com boom." So we shouldn't be scared of a tech industry crash, but we should be worried about the class tensions the tech industry's created. Leonard explains, "there is unsettling realization that the middle is losing economic ground while Silicon Valley execs babble on about 'changing the world' for the better." And since the boom isn't a bubble, it's not going away. The tech industry is changing the face of our economy, and that can't be ignored. He notes of San Francisco, "for a city that thinks of itself as 'progressive' there’s an odd sort of conservatism visible at work in the anguish over what is being lost." Dan Primack, who covers business deals for Fortune, recommends the piece.

Vanessa Barbara at The New York Times explains how Brazilians feel about the NSA. Barbara, a Brazilian novelist and editor, relates that "at the opening of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, Dilma Rousseff, the president of my country, Brazil, delivered a scolding speech in response to reports that the [NSA] has monitored electronic communications of Brazilian citizens, members of government and private corporations." The speech was an example of "what Brazilians call 'Dilma Bolada,' or 'Furious Dilma.'" But given the probability that her speech won't stop the NSA from snooping, Barbara explains that Brazilian citizens have devised a plan: "It has become something of a joke among my friends in Brazil to, whenever you write a personal e-mail, include a few polite lines addressed to the agents of the NSA, wishing them a good day or a Happy Thanksgiving." Glenn Greenwald, who currently lives in Rio, tweeted that the column was "great" and "quite hilarious."

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