The Morning Joe must-read opinion columns for Thursday, January 10, 2013
DEMOCRATS’ BUSTED BUDGET
Democrats not allergic to arithmetic must know the cost of their “fiscal cliff” victory. When they flinched from allowing all of George W. Bush’s tax rates, especially those on middle-class incomes, to expire, liberalism lost its nerve and began what will be a long slide into ludicrousness. Those temporary rates were enacted in 2001, when only 28 House Democrats supported them, and in 2003, when only seven did. But with the “American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012” — did liberals think about that title? — 172 House Democrats voted to make the Bush income-tax rates permanent for all but 0.7 percent of taxpayers… Liberals could have had a revenue increase of $3.7 trillion over 10 years. Instead, they surrendered nearly $3.1 trillion of that.
TEAM OF LIBERAL LOYALISTS
WALL STREET JOURNAL
[Obama] is assembling a team of personal and ideological loyalists whose job will be less to offer independent advice than to advance and implement his agenda for a larger, more redistributionist government. …Mr. Lew is a Washington lifer whose expertise is politics. He brings no special knowledge or experience in economic policy, private industry or global finance. It’s notable how Mr. Lew’s reputation has changed during the Obama years. As White House budget director in the Clinton era, he was viewed by Republicans as a reasonable liberal they could do business with. But as budget director and chief of staff in the Obama White House, Mr. Lew has been the President’s most partisan and implacable negotiator.
REFRAMING THE GUN DEBATE
NEW YORK TIMES
This time things are different. This time, nearly a month after the horrible mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., the public attention hasn’t ricocheted to the next story. On the contrary, sorrow has hardened into resolve. This time, something can and must be done. And it looks as if something will. … Our search for solutions must be dynamic because the gun industry is wily and our quandary is epic. We don’t want to pass the point where society is so saturated with the most dangerous kinds of weaponry that people feel compelled to arm themselves or be left vulnerable, if indeed we haven’t already passed that point.
OBAMA NEEDS SOME BINDERS OF WOMEN
About all those white guys: What a shame. Not an outrage, but a shame. The face of power that President Obama has chosen to present to the country and the world with his second-term Cabinet picks is striking — except for the African American president at the top of the pyramid — for its retro look, white and male. It’s “Mad Men” Goes to Washington, except Peggy’s leaving. …To look at the most important jobs in the government, in 2013, and see such lack of diversity is just so drearily disappointing. Especially because it could easily have been so different. Imagine the tableau of Obama flanked by secretary of state nominee Susan Rice and defense secretary nominee Michèle Flournoy. That would have been the ultimate you’ve-come-a-long-way moment.
GOOD POLITICS, BAD POLICY
Mr. McConnell is a good political poker player… And he was right to insist that the president engage on serious entitlement reforms in the coming round of deficit reduction. However, as a matter of policy, rather than politics, it is no more sensible to draw the line at $620 billion in additional revenue over the next decade than to insist, as have some Democrats, that Medicare and Social Security remain untouched. The country’s structural deficit poses too large a threat to future prosperity, and there is no politically or fiscally realistic scenario under which entitlement cuts alone can solve the problem.