Five Best Friday Columns

Paul Krugman on the continuing costs of persistent unemployment, Kathryn Schulz on how Twitter "hijacked" her mind, Chris Cilliza on how Twitter hijacked political reporting, Ronald Brownstein on what 2013 means for both parties, and Jay Cost asks if the GOP is ready for Hillary. 

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Paul Krugman at The New York Times on the continuing costs of persistent unemployment. "The bitter irony ... is that it turns out that by failing to address unemployment, we have, in fact, been sacrificing the future, too," Krugman argues. If we're too focused on decreasing the debt and ignoring job growth, we "will cripple America for many years to come." Krugman notes that the "blockbuster" paper presented at a recent International Money Fund research conference found that, "our seemingly endless slump has done long-term damage through multiple channels. The long-term unemployed eventually come to be seen as unemployable; business investment lags thanks to weak sales; new businesses don’t get started; and existing businesses skimp on research and development." Most importantly, "debt, while it can pose problems, doesn’t make the nation poorer, because it’s money we owe to ourselves. Anyone who talks about how we’re borrowing from our children just hasn’t done the math." He concedes, "true, debt can indirectly make us poorer if deficits drive up interest rates and thereby discourage productive investment. But that hasn’t been happening." Economist Justin Wolfers tweets, "Arguably one of @NYTimeskrugman's most important columns in a long time." Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten tweets, "This is today's most depressing read."

Kathryn Schulz at Daily Intelligencer on how Twitter "hijacked" her mind. When Schulz was writing her first book in 2010, her agents encouraged her to increase her digital presence: "Twitter, man. The medium I mocked most. The one I joined last, and was sure I’d quit first. The hardest to initially understand, and the most seemingly inane. ... The one most at odds with my own country-mile prose. Also: the one I adore. The one to which I am addicted. And the one that, over the course of the past three years, in tiny nibbles exactly the size of this sentence, has proceeded to eat me alive." She continues, "collectively, the people I follow on Twitter — book nerds, science nerds, journalists, the uncategorizably interesting — come pretty close to my dream community." She's caught herself "thinking of — and thinking in — tweets." National Geographic writer Ed Yong tweets, "Everyone can stop writing about Twitter cos @kathrynschulz's piece is peerless. (Jonathan Franzen should def stop)." Slate's science writer Laura Helmuth responds, "Innit? Love 'sentences with friends.' Feeling better & clearer about all the time we spend here." New Yorker staff writer David Grann tweets, "This is the best & most insightful piece I've read about Twitter."

Chris Cilliza at The Washington Post on how Twitter hijacked political reporting. "The changes [in reporting], which are still in process, are profound — in the way that politicians interact (or don’t) with reporters, the life cycle of news cycles and how the general public gets (or doesn’t) its information," Cilliza argues. For one, the "conventional wisdom surrounding any political event — particularly presidential debates — was set by Twitter even as the event was happening." The problem with this? "There’s almost always no way of really knowing what molehills might become mountains in an hour, a day or a week. Because of that reality, you have to monitor everything in the event that what looks like a small deal becomes a big deal." Gargi Rawat, an anchor on India's NDTV, tweets, "So true for journos here as well."

Ronald Brownstein at National Journal on what the 2013 elections mean for both parties. "The outcomes, especially in Virginia, solidified the sense that each party is now operating with more weaknesses than strengths," Brownstein argues. "For Democrats, the most ominous signal is that the party still faces enormous difficulty convincing most white voters that they will benefit from more, rather than less, government. For Republicans, conversely, the results reinforced the sobering message from 2012 that even commanding margins among whites may be insufficient if the growing minority population continues to overwhelmingly reject the GOP."  The fact that Ken Cuccinelli lost the Virginia governor's race "while winning [whites] so comfortably" shows that the GOP can't pin 2016 on white voter turnout. "The contrast with Christie, who abandoned party orthodoxy on some immigration issues and expanded Medicaid under Obama’s health care law, could not be clearer," Brownstein insists. Washington Post politics writer Greg Sargent tweets, "The guru has spoken."

Jay Cost at The Weekly Standard wonders if the GOP is ready for Hillary. "The manner in which [Terry McAuliffe won Virginia's governorship] is what should interest conservatives, for he mimicked the old Clinton approach, which will surely be Hillary Clinton’s tack in 2016," Cost argues. "By now, one would think that Republicans would have come up with a good answer to the charge of extremism, or that they would have successfully shown the voters the rank hypocrisy that the 'party of the people' displays by milking special interests for all they’re worth to run ads against special interests. But, alas, one would be wrong." The real question is, can Chris Christie (or anyone) "stand up to Clintonism when it is actually being administered by a Clinton and funded by half a billion dollars (or more)?" Fox News host Dana Perino tweets, "the great @JayCostTWS this week asks if the GOP is ready for the Clinton train that's a comin."

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