Five Best Monday Columns

Noreen Malone on Liz Cheney's "family values," Paul Krugman on persistent economic depression, David Ignatius on Iran nuclear negotiations, James Surowiecki on the free digital economy, and Paula Dwyer on why bankers don't go to jail. 

This article is from the archive of our partner .

The New Republic's Noreen Malone on Liz Cheney's "family values." "To telegraph her family values, [Liz has] decided to publicly undermine the very philosophical underpinnings of her sister's marriage," Malone writes. Liz said she and her sister Mary "disagree" on gay marriage. Mary, who has now publicly rebuked Liz, is married to a woman. "It probably shouldn't be a surprise that [Liz is] willing to sell out her sister for the sake of a few votes. But what is surprising is how poorly she thought this one out. Cheney is already the race's carpetbagger (she moved from Northern Virginia to seek the seat), and so she's working at an authenticity deficit," Malone argues. Worst of all, "it looks like the position she's ruining her relationship with her sister over isn't really one she holds, making her not just heartless but a hypocrite ..." John McQuaid, a journalist contributing to Wired, Forbes, and Slate, tweets this line: "Liz Cheney’s 'family values position has very publicly made her actual family values look pretty rotten.'"

Paul Krugman at The New York Times on persistent economic depression. "What if the world we’ve been living in for the past five years is the new normal? What if depression-like conditions are on track to persist, not for another year or two, but for decades?" Krugman asks. Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers has been making the case for "secular stagnation" — "a persistent state in which a depressed economy is the norm, with episodes of full employment few and far between." If Summers is right, Krugman argues, "everything respectable people have been saying about economic policy is wrong ..." So "easy money should, and probably will, be with us for a very long time. This, in turn, means we can forget all those scare stories about government debt, which run along the lines of 'It may not be a problem now, but just wait until interest rates rise.'" Economist J. Bradford Delong notes, "The fact that this happened to Japan a generation ago ought to have been a warning to us."

David Ignatius at The Washington Post on Iran nuclear negotiations. "Three decades ago, a congressional test of wills over Middle East policy between an American president and an Israeli prime minister was dubbed 'Reagan or Begin.' This week, the showdown on Iran negotiations might be described as 'Barack or Bibi,'" Ignatius argues. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been lobbying Congress to enact harsher sanctions on Iran, against President Obama's wishes. "U.S. negotiators believe that history shows the capitulation approach doesn’t work with Iran," Ignatius explains. So now U.S. officials worry that history will repeat itself, "as Netanyahu’s push for the best possible deal sabotages the good deal that could freeze the Iranian program." ABC News correspondent Nick Schifrin tweets, "@IgnatiusPost chooses Barack over Bibi."

James Surowiecki at The New Yorker on the free digital economy. "Ever since Netscape made the decision to give away its browser, free has been more the rule online than the exception. And even though traditional media companies have been erecting paywalls to guard revenue, a huge chunk of the time we spend online is spent consuming stuff that we don’t pay for," Surowiecki writes. So how does this impact our economy? "You may think that Wikipedia, Twitter, Snapchat, Google Maps, and so on are valuable. But, as far as GDP is concerned, they barely exist." Most importantly, digitization affects labor. Software is "fundamentally different from physical products, which require much more labor to produce and distribute." So "the value that the digital economy is creating is real. But so is the havoc." Economist Mark Thoma recommends the post.

Paula Dwyer at Bloomberg View on why bankers don't go to jail. "What explains the hesitance to bring to justice those who contributed to the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression?" Dwyer asks. According to Federal Judge Jed Rakoff, prosecutors have other priorities. Further, "law enforcement agencies have had to compete for a shrinking pot of money from Congress, and the best way to do that is by beefing up their statistics with smaller, easier cases and avoiding the years-long financial fraud probes that may turn up nothing." And so "calls by lawmakers, filmmakers and commentators to send bank executives to jail for causing the financial crisis are often slapped down by legal experts as populist diatribes from people who just don't understand criminal law." Former Reuters social media editor Matthew Keys tweets, "Bloomberg offers ... theories as to why more bankers aren't in jail."

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