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Aug 23 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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Paul Krugman: This Age of Bubbles

So, another BRIC hits the wall. Actually, I’ve never much liked the whole “BRIC” – Brazil, Russia, India, and China – concept: Russia, which is basically a petro-economy, doesn’t belong there at all, and there are large differences among the other three. Still, it’s hard to deny that India, Brazil, and a number of other countries are now experiencing similar problems. And those shared problems define the economic crisis du jour.

What’s going on? It’s a variant on the same old story: investors loved these economies not wisely but too well, and have now turned on the objects of their former affection. A couple years back, Western investors – discouraged by low returns both in the United States and in the noncrisis nations of Europe – began pouring large sums into emerging markets. Now they’ve reversed course. As a result, India’s rupee and Brazil’s real are plunging, along with Indonesia’s rupiah, the South African rand, the Turkish lira, and more.

Eugene Robinson: GOP in Fantasyland

The make-believe crusade by publicity hound Republicans to somehow stop Obamacare is one of the most cynical political exercises we’ve seen in many years. And that, my friends, is saying something.

Charlatans are peddling the fantasy that somehow they can prevent the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act from becoming what it already is: the law of the land. Congress passed it, President Obama signed it, the Supreme Court upheld it, and many of its provisions are already in force and others will soon take effect.

No matter how contemptuous they may be about Obamacare, opponents have only two viable options: Repeal it or get over it.

Robert Reich: Private Gain to a Few Trumps Public Good for the Many

Congress is in recess, but you’d hardly know it. This has been the most do-nothing, gridlocked Congress in decades. But the recess at least offers a pause in the ongoing partisan fighting that’s sure to resume in a few weeks.

It also offers an opportunity to step back and ask ourselves what’s really at stake.

A society — any society — is defined as a set of mutual benefits and duties embodied most visibly in public institutions: public schools, public libraries, public transportation, public hospitals, public parks, public museums, public recreation, public universities, and so on.

Public institutions are supported by all taxpayers, and are available to all. If the tax system is progressive, those who are better off (and who, presumably, have benefitted from many of these same public institutions) help pay for everyone else.

Robert Creamer: Is There a Difference Between a Third World Autocrat and a Wall Street Mogul?

In America we tend to look down on Third World autocrats who siphon their country’s wealth into their personal Swiss bank accounts at the expense of their citizens. But I would argue we have our own class of kleptocrats that in many ways behave the same way — and often with the same result.

I was recently at a seminar in Africa that focused heavily on human rights.

One of the most insightful participants made a powerful argument that autocratic leaders who violate their people’s human rights by restricting their freedom of speech and assembly were even more culpable for human rights violations when they siphon off millions of dollars into Swiss bank accounts and deprived their country’s children of decent health care, education and an opportunity to make a prosperous life. [..]

But what exactly is the difference between those autocrats and some of the wealthiest men on Wall Street – the “Masters of the Universe”?

Richard (RJ) Eskow: Honor Dr. King’s Revolutionary Vision – by Fighting For It

Our nation is about to commemorate the 1963 March on Washington. Over the next few days there will be new marches and new speeches, along with lots of black-and-white photographs and film clips of that historic day. We’ll remember the wisdom and courage of the civil rights movement’s leaders and heroes.

Many words of praise will be addressed to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The pain of losing him still lingers – not only for the human tragedy of a life cut short, but because he had so much guidance to offer us about the struggles we face today.

Dr. King was a leader in the fight against segregation. But he also recognized that racial justice was woven inseparably into a seamless garment of justice that touches every aspect of modern life. From the gulf of time, from a half-century of struggle and change, his words speak directly to the challenges we face today. We periodically revisit them for inspiration and guidance, and we need them today more than ever.

E. J. Dionne, Jr.: The Dream Did Not Come Free

The things we forget about the March on Washington are the things we most need to remember 50 years on.

We forget that the majestically peaceful assemblage that moved a nation came in the wake of brutal resistance to civil rights and equality. And that there would be more to come. [..]

King called our country forward on that beautiful day in 1963, but he also called out our failings. He told us there could be no peace without justice, and no justice without struggle. We honor him best by sharing not only his hope but also his impatience and his resolve.