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Jul 05 2011

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.

Here is the first Punting the Pundits published July 5, 2010.

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

New York Times Editorial: More Folly in the Debt Limit Talks

Congressional Republicans have opened a new front in the deficit wars. In addition to demanding trillions of dollars in spending cuts in exchange for raising the nation’s debt limit, they are now vowing not to act without first holding votes in each chamber on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

The ploy is more posturing on an issue that has already seen too much grandstanding. But it is posturing with a dangerous purpose: to further distort the terms of the budget fight, and in the process, to entrench the Republicans’ no-new-taxes-ever stance.

Frank Rich: Obama’s Original Sin

The president’s failure to demand a reckoning from the moneyed interests who brought the economy down has cursed his first term, and could prevent a second.

What haunts the Obama administration is what still haunts the country: the stunning lack of accountability for the greed and misdeeds that brought America to its gravest financial crisis since the Great Depression. There has been no legal, moral, or financial reckoning for the most powerful wrongdoers. Nor have there been meaningful reforms that might prevent a repeat catastrophe. Time may heal most wounds, but not these. Chronic unemployment remains a constant, painful reminder of the havoc inflicted on the bust’s innocent victims. As the ghost of Hamlet’s father might have it, America will be stalked by its foul and unresolved crimes until they “are burnt and purged away.

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“A nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous,” Obama declared at his inauguration. What he said on that bright January morning is no less true or stirring now. For all his failings since, he is the only one who can make this case. There’s nothing but his own passivity to stop him from doing so-and from shaking up the administration team that, well beyond the halfway-out-the-door Geithner and his Treasury Department, has showered too many favors on the prosperous. This will mean turning on his own cadre of the liberal elite. But it’s essential if he is to call the bluff of a fake man-of-the-people like Romney. To differentiate himself from the discredited Establishment, he will have to mount the fight he has ducked for the past three years.

The alternative is a failure of historic proportions. Those who gamed the economy to near devastation – so much so that the nation turned to an untried young leader in desperation and in hope – would once again inherit the Earth. Unless and until there’s a purging of the crimes that brought our president to his unlikely Inauguration Day, much more in America than the second term of his administration will be at stake.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: The New War of Independence – Against Corporate Politics

This is the age of corporatized politics. That means we may admire our leaders, but we can’t depend on them. We’re paying the price for Thomas Jefferson’s unfulfilled desire to “crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”

This July 4th, politics is too important to be left to the politicians. The stakes are too high and the system is too broken. Citizen action is everyone’s job now, and it will be as long as our political debate focuses on misplaced austerity and ignores the majority’s yearning for jobs, growth, and those things that government does best.

But the problem isn’t just with politicians, or even the system. The problem is dependence itself.

Jose Antonio Vargas: The America in Me

“You’ve been trying to write yourself into America,” my dear friend Teresa Moore said after she read an early draft of the essay I ended up submitting to the New York Times Magazine.

I first met Teresa in 1999, when I was a high school senior and wanted to freelance for YO!, short for Youth Outlook, the monthly magazine she edited. She was my very first editor, the one who can most attest to how much I struggled with writing, with finding just the right words, phrases and punctuation (should I use a comma or a dash or a semi-colon?) with trusting the texture and timbre of my own voice. Then and now, Teresa was always exacting, always insightful.

“You’re still trying to write yourself into America.”

Indeed, I am, perhaps now more than ever.

Holly Sklar and Scott Klinger: Real Patriots Pay Taxes

Some of our nation’s biggest corporations are planning a tax holiday and they want you to pick up the tab.

Actually, you already pay for their routine tax avoidance through the use of tax havens in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and elsewhere. These accounting acrobatics cost the U.S. Treasury $100 billion a year. Now they want Congress to pass a special tax holiday for money they “repatriate” back to the United States.

There’s nothing patriotic about this repatriation being pushed by Google, Cisco, Pfizer and other companies in the Win America campaign. To sell the tax holiday, they claim it will produce a burst of jobs and investment. In fact, Congress passed a “one-time-only” tax holiday in 2004 with similar promises. Instead, it produced a burst of shareholder dividends and stock buybacks, which goosed the pay of CEOs.

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