Frank Rich in Sunday's paper on the Republicans who've run out of ideas:
The crisis is at least as grave as the one that confronted us — and,
for a time, united us — after 9/11. Which is why the antics among
Republicans on Capitol Hill seem so surreal. These are the same
politicians who only yesterday smeared the patriotism of any dissenters
from Bush’s “war on terror.” Where is their own patriotism now that
economic terror is inflicting far more harm on their constituents than
Saddam Hussein’s nonexistent W.M.D.?
The current G.O.P. acts as if it — and we — have all the time in the
world. It kept hoping in vain that the fast-waning Blago sideshow would
somehow impale Obama or Rahm Emanuel. It has come perilously close to
wishing aloud that a terrorist attack will materialize to discredit
Obama’s reversals of Bush policy on torture, military tribunals and
Gitmo. The party’s sole consistent ambition is to play petty politics
to gum up the works.
David Leonhardt discusses ideas in The Big Fix in the NYT Magazine:
Rahm’s Doctrine[:] “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste,”
Emanuel said. “What I mean by that is that it’s an opportunity to do
things you could not do before.”
Germany and Japan, on the other hand, were forced to rebuild their
economies and political systems after the war. Their interest groups
were wiped away by the defeat. “In a crisis, there is an opportunity to
rearrange things, because the status quo is blown up,” Frank Levy, an
M.I.T. economist and an Olson admirer, told me recently. If a country
slowly glides down toward irrelevance, he said, the constituency for
reform won’t take shape. [Mancur] Olson’s insight was that the defeated
countries of World War II didn’t rise in spite of crisis. They rose
because of it.
ONE GOOD WAY TO UNDERSTAND the current growth slowdown is to think of
the debt-fueled consumer-spending spree of the past 20 years as a
symbol of an even larger problem. As a country we have been spending
too much on the present and not enough on the future. We have been
consuming rather than investing. We’re suffering from
WASHINGTON’S CHALLENGE on energy policy is to rewrite the rules so that
the private sector can start building one of tomorrow’s big industries.
On health care, the challenge is keeping one of tomorrow’s industries
from growing too large.
In Orszag’s final months on Capitol Hill, he specifically argued that
health care reform should not wait until the financial system has been
fixed. “One of the blessings in the current environment is that we have
significant capacity to expand and sell Treasury debt,”
Goldin’s and Katz’s thesis is that the 20th century was the American
century in large part because this country led the world in education.
The last 30 years, when educational gains slowed markedly, have been
years of slower growth and rising inequality.