“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.
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New York Times Editorial Board: DNA and Suspicionless Searches
The federal government and 28 states currently permit DNA collection before conviction. The decision severely undermines fundamental Fourth Amendment principles that protect individuals against unjustified searches and incursions on privacy by law enforcement.
Justice Antonin Scalia, writing the dissent that was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, eviscerated the logic of the majority opinion.
“The court’s assertion that DNA is being taken, not to solve crimes, but to identify those in the state’s custody, taxes the credulity of the credulous,” he said. “Solving unsolved crimes is a noble objective, but it occupies a lower place in the American pantheon of noble objectives than the protection of our people from suspicionless law-enforcement searches.”
That has been a bedrock rule in court decisions about the Fourth Amendment, Justice Scalia explained, which the majority has cast aside.
Dean Baker: Recession culprits? Start with Alan Greenspan and Jean-Claude Trichet
The US Federal Reserve and European Central Bank heads played large roles in the crisis, yet they collect public pensions
The economies of the United States and Europe are seeing their worst downturn since the Great Depression. Tens of millions of people are unemployed or underemployed. This has led to millions losing their homes, their access to health care, and, in some cases, their lives.
Remarkably, the two individuals who bear the greatest responsibility for this disaster, former Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan former president of the European Central Bank Jean-Claude Trichet, do not appear to be suffering at all for their failure. Both are living comfortably and continue to be sought out for their expertise on economic policy. This should infuriate reasonable people everywhere.
As if immigration and health-care reform aren’t sufficiently daunting in their own rights, the two issues are now joined.
Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would give the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. a chance to become citizens. Immigrants who meet a series of conditions would be granted provisional legal status, allowing them to work in the country legally.
The legislation would prevent those immigrants from receiving federal benefits for at least 10 years. The prohibition includes qualifying for Medicaid and getting federal subsidies to purchase health insurance.
Excluding such immigrants from government health assistance has its appeal. Although the cost of extending such benefits is hard to estimate — the Congressional Budget Office hasn’t analyzed the issue — it’s likely to be expensive. In addition, some critics view subsidies for immigrants as a perverse reward for breaking immigration laws.
Eugene Robinson: Too Juvenile to Govern
Washington – With budgetary tantrums in the Senate and investigative play-acting in the House, the Republican Party is proving once again that it simply cannot be taken seriously.
This is a shame. I don’t share the GOP’s philosophy, but I do believe that competition makes both of our major parties smarter. I also believe that a big, complicated country facing economic and geopolitical challenges needs a government able to govern.
What we don’t need is the steady diet of obstruction, diversion and gamesmanship that Republicans are trying to ram down the nation’s throat. It’s not as if President Obama and the Democrats are doing everything right. It’s just that the GOP shrinks from doing anything meaningful at all.
Mark Vorpahl: Quantitative Crisis: Bernanke’s “Stimulus” for the 1%
When I heard that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress last week that it was too soon for the Fed to end its extraordinary stimulus programs, I did a double take.
“What stimulus programs?” I thought. Where are the jobs programs? Where are the “extraordinary” social services that will enable those still suffering from the effects of the Great Recession to buy more and stimulate the economy?
What escaped my attention for a moment was the fact that these words were uttered by an official steeped in the jargon of high finance and political policy – where words like “stimulus” are treated to Orwellian twists, their meaning transformed into something very different from what most people understand them to mean.
Christopher Flavelle: The Real Reason We Pay So Much for Health Care
A lengthy New York Times report yesterday detailed just how much more Americans pay for medical services than people in other countries. Often a lot more: almost twice what the Swiss pay for a colonoscopy, three and a half times more than the Dutch for an MRI and five times more than Spaniards for a hip replacement, according to the International Federation of Health Plans.
The high per-unit price of medical services in this country is an open secret, well documented in the health-policy world but largely ignored in the political debate. Rather than rail against high prices, Americans should rail against this: The fixes for those higher prices are clear enough, yet they get almost no consideration from policymakers.