“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”.
America’s long-term unemployed – an estimated 4 million or more – constitute the single newest and biggest social problem facing America.
Now their unemployment benefits are about to run out, and the lame-duck Congress may not have the votes to extend them. (You can forget about the next Congress.)
The long-term unemployed can’t get work because there are still five people needing work for every job opening. And the long-term jobless are often at the end of the job line: Either they don’t have the right skills or enough eduction, or have been out of work so long prospective employers are nervous about hiring them.
They’re also a big problem for the economy. Without enough money in their pockets, they and their families can’t pay their mortgages, which keeps fueling the mortgage crisis. Nor can they replace worn-out cars and clothing, or buy muchof anything else, which is a drag on the economy.
Republicans and many blue-dog Dems say we can’t afford another extension.
But these are many of the same people who say we should extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy for at least another two years.
Nicholas D. Kristof: A Hedge Fund Republic?
Earlier this month, I offended a number of readers with a column suggesting that if you want to see rapacious income inequality, you no longer need to visit a banana republic. You can just look around.
My point was that the wealthiest plutocrats now actually control a greater share of the pie in the United States than in historically unstable countries like Nicaragua, Venezuela and Guyana. But readers protested that this was glib and unfair, and after reviewing the evidence I regretfully confess that they have a point.
That’s right: I may have wronged the banana republics.
You see, some Latin Americans were indignant at what they saw as an invidious and hurtful comparison. The truth is that Latin America has matured and become more equal in recent decades, even as the distribution in the United States has become steadily more unequal.
E.J. Dionne Jr.: Is the Tea Party out to banish Bush-style conservatism?
Will the Tea Party sell out for a mess of pottage in the form of a ban on earmarks?
That’s one possibility. But another is that this embrace of a purely symbolic approach to deficit reduction is a sign that the Tea Party’s central goals may lie elsewhere – in an effort to push the Republican Party away from those aspects of George W. Bush’s legacy that tried to steer the conservative movement in a new direction. The real point may be to get the GOP to say goodbye to the idea of a compassionate conservatism and to Bush’s peculiar but real brand of multiculturalism.
It was entertaining to watch Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reluctantly capitulate to the Tea Party by supporting a two-year ban on requests for earmarks from his chamber’s Republicans.