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Apr 18 2013

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

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New York Times Editorial Board: The Senate Fails Americans

For 45 senators, the carnage at Sandy Hook Elementary School is a forgotten tragedy. The toll of 270 Americans who are shot every day is not a problem requiring action. The easy access to guns on the Internet, and the inevitability of the next massacre, is not worth preventing. [..]

Newtown, in the end, changed nothing; the overwhelming national consensus to tighten a ridiculously lax set of gun laws was stopped cold. That’s because the only thing that mattered to these lawmakers was a blind and unthinking fealty to the whims of the gun lobby.

Charles M. Blow: The Kids Are (Not) All Right

The United States has done it again – and not in a good way.

According to a Unicef report issued last week – “Child Well-Being in Rich Countries” – the United States once again ranked among the worst wealthy countries for children, coming in 26th place of 29 countries included. Only Lithuania, Latvia and Romania placed lower, and those were among the poorest countries assessed in the study. [..]

We hear so much about what we’re leaving behind for future generations, but not nearly enough about how we are failing them today. It is a failure of parenting, a failure of society, a failure of politicians.

We need smart and courageous parenting, as well as policies that invest time and money, love and understanding in our children.

Failures sown one season will surely bloom the next.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: ‘Divide and Lose’: A Lousy Democratic Strategy for Social Security’

If some pundits have their way, the new blueprint for the Democratic Party will pit generation against generation and ethnicity against ethnicity, fragmenting us into ever-smaller social groups competing for slices of an ever-shrinking economic pie.

Call it “Divide and Lose.”  To observers like Ronald Brownstein and Charlie Cook, it’s shrewd strategy, especially when it comes to the “chained CPI” set of tax hikes and Social Security benefit cuts.

They couldn’t be more wrong. If Democrats try to “divide and conquer,” everyone will lose.

Seamus Milne: It’s Time To Bury Not Just Thatcher – But Thatcherism

She didn’t save Britain or turn the economy round. We need to break with her failed model to escape its baleful consequences

They have only themselves to blame. Protests were always likely at any official sendoff for the most socially destructive prime minister in modern British history. But by turning Margaret Thatcher’s funeral into a state-funded Tory jamboree, puffed up with pomp and bombast, David Cameron and his acolytes made them a certainty – and fuelled a political backlash into the bargain.

As the bishop of Grantham, Thatcher’s home town, put it, spending £10m of public money to “glorify” her legacy in the month benefits are slashed and tax cuts handed to the rich is “asking for trouble”. What’s planned today isn’t a national commemoration, but a military-backed party spectacle.

Dean Baker: Corporate Governance and CEO Pay: The Cesspool at the Top

Top corporate executives have always been well-paid for obvious reasons. Running a major corporation is a demanding job; you would expect to pay a high salary to get and retain talented hardworking people.

But in the last three decades, the pay of CEOs has gone from just being high — say 30 or 40 times the pay of typical workers — to being in the stratosphere. The pay of CEOs at major corporations now averages several hundred times the pay of ordinary workers. Annual compensation packages routinely run into the tens of millions of dollars and can run into the hundreds of millions of dollars. [..]

But reining in CEO pay has to be an important part of the story. One way to do this is to pressure corporate directors to actually do their jobs. Rather than being paid off to look the other way as top management pilfers the company, corporate directors should constantly be asking whether they could pay top management less or get comparable managers at lower cost.

To impose this sort of check on CEO pay, the Center for Economic and Policy Research, together with the Huffington Post, will be starting Director Watch. Director Watch is designed to highlight the abuses of corporate directors like Erskine Bowles. Bowles has pocketed millions as a board member of companies like Morgan Stanley, that would have collapsed without a government bailout and General Motors, which did collapse.

Robert Reich: The Disuniting of America

We come together as Americans when confronting common disasters and common threats, such as occurred in Boston on Monday, but we continue to split apart economically.

Anyone who wants to understand the disuniting of America needs to see how dramatically we’re segregating geographically by income and wealth. Today [Wednesday] I’m giving a Town Hall talk in Fresno, in the center of California’s Central Valley, where the official unemployment rate is 15.4 percent and median family earns under $40,000. The so-called “recovery” is barely in evidence. [..]

Many of America’s wealthy don’t see why they should pay more taxes to support the less advantaged because they have no idea what it means to be less advantaged, while many in America’s middle class can’t afford to pay more because their real wages continue to decline.