Laurence Meyer on Letting the Federal Reserve Do Its Job Former Fed governor Laurence Meyer wants people to stop worrying that rising food and gas prices are a sign that the Federal Reserve is not taking inflation seriously. "There is very little that the Fed can do to control today's inflation," he explains in The New York Times. "What the Fed does influence is inflation a year or two down the road, which is why it needs to look to the future, not overreact to the present." That's why the Fed is focusing on inflation indicators that don't include food and gas prices--because so-called "core" inflation is a better predictor of future inflation. Meyer contradicts arguments that the Fed won't be able to "turn off the spigot" on its debt monatizing when it needs to, saying that "the Fed can raise interest rates directly any time it wants."
John Yoo on the President's Right to Take Military Action John Yoo, a UC Berkely law professor and former Justice Department official under George W. Bush, gives President Obama somewhat of a backhanded compliment in The Wall Street Journal today. Yoo pats the president on the back for initiating military action in Libya without congressional approval, noting that "military action" and declarations of war are two different things and only the latter requires Congress' consent. He also argues that the relatively little opposition Obama's decision has recieved from members of his party in shows "that their oposition to presidential power during the Bush years was political, not principled." But, although Yoo thinks Obama ultimately made the right choice, he thinks the President "has shown he still has to learn the ways of the executive," arguing that "Mr. Obama's desire to work through the United Nations has only substituted one source of delay and unaccountability for another."
David Brooks on the Key to Qaddafi's Lasting Power David Brooks aims to answer the question on everyone's minds: "How does a guy who seems to be only marginally attached to reality manage to stay in power for 42 years?" Brooks, of course, is referring to Muammar Qaddafi, and gives some examples of the Libyan dictator's most outlandish moves, such as "calling for the elimination of Switzerland," forcing all of his people to read his own gospel in which he reveals the "answers to all human problems," and "expelling the Italian community, forcing its members to exhume the bodies of Italians from Libyan graveyards to take home." Brooks concludes that, in fact, "Qaddafi's unhinged narcissistic oddness seems to be the key to his longevity." Dictators who are nutcases are "harder to dislodge."
Donald McCartin on Abolishing the Death Penalty Donald McCartin, a retired Superior Court Judge, was once known as "the hanging judge of Orange County" for having sentenced 10 men to the death penalty for murder. Today, with all of those men still yet to be executed, McCartin takes to the Los Angeles Times to make his case for abolishing the death penalty. Why? Because the men he sentenced aren't dead yet. "It makes me angry to have been made a player in a system so inefficient, so ineffective, so expensive and so emotionally costly, he writes." The appeals and retrials that inevitably come after a death sentence give the offender's victims' families the opposite of closure, leading McCartin to decide that a sentence of life in prison without parole would be a more effective and final one than death. The author argues that "cuts to kindergarten, cuts to universities, cuts to people with special needs" all in the name of balancing California's debt, would be unnecessary if the state's death penalty were eliminated. "It's time to stop playing the killing game."
Elizabeth Dole on Women Taking Voting for Granted Elizabeth Dole is concerned that modern American women are not "taking full advantage of the hard-fought rights won by remarkable women who were pioneers in the crusade for equailty." She notes at USA Today that 90 years after the 19th Amendment allowing women to vote was finally approved, not enough women are exercising that right. "In the 2008 presidential election, only 60.4 percent--a little more than 70 million of the approximately 115 million women eligible to vote--cast a ballot," she writes. "Clearly the right for which American women fought to courageously for so long--and for which women in other parts of the world are bravely fighting today--is taken for granted."