Bill Keller in The New York Times on what a Romney administration would look like In light of a Romney-Ryan ticket, Keller looks at the entire Republican team, saying that "a Republican administration is more than ever a conservative turnkey project." There's Ryan, of course, who would've been an influence on lower spending regardless. For foreign policy, the Romney administration has John Bolton, a "hawkish" adviser with "a decidedly neoconservative bent." There's constitutional conservative Robert Bork for the Justice Advisory Committee, trickle-down economist R. Glenn Hubbard, and a handful of influential business moguls. All that makes for the hyperpartisan politics the Republican party now demands.
Adam Kirsch in Bloomberg View on money and political influence Money has played an unprecedented role in this year's election, Kirsch writes, and it's helpful to look to classics of American fiction to examine our beliefs about how a country should be governed. Henry Adam's 1880 novel Democracy tells the tale of a wealthy widow named Madeleine Lee who moves to Washington to see how America is ruled. She finds that the most successful politician, Silas P. Ratcliffe, "never even pretends that politics is an honest business." In the end, she rejects an offer to marry him, but in turn loses her chance to influence change. "To know the truth about how the country is governed, Adams suggested, is to lose any illusions about fairness, honesty and the public good."
Matt Miller in The Washington Post on Paul Ryan myths Miller wants to remind people that in spite of media-supported rhetoric, Republican VP candidate Paul Ryan is not a fiscal conservative. "A fiscal conservative pays for the government he wants," Miller writes. "Ryan never has." Ryan's 2011 house-passed budget plan added $14 trillion in debt and didn't balance until the 2030s. Ryan is instead "an extreme 'small government conservative'." With a government at 20 percent of the GDP, it will never be able to handle the needs of an aging population, Miller says. But, Ryan does deserve credit for trying to make changes on Medicare: "Even if his approach is imperfect, Ryan is right to challenge our Medical Industrial Complex to change."
Joseph E. Stiglitz and Mark Zandi in The New York Times on the last housing crisis solution Housing is still an impediment to recovery, and Stiglitz and Zandi, both economists, say the last solution left is to "facilitate mass mortgage refinancings." It would reduce monthly payments, working like "a potent tax cut" and reducing chances of defaulting for underwater homeowners, they write. They endorse the plan of Senator Jeff Merkley, a Democrat from Oregon, and his Rebuilding American Homeownership plan. It allows underwater homeowners who are making payments to refinance or pay down their loans. "If we do nothing, the problem will eventually resolve itself, but only with significant pain and a long wait. Mr. Merkley’s plan would speed the healing."
Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom in Los Angeles Times on voter ID laws and democracy A Harvard history professor and the vice chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights argue that having voter ID laws where only people with government-issued IDs can vote is better for democracy. Look at Indiana, they write, which had a voter ID law in place for the 2008 election. Democratic turnout rose more in the state, even though Democrats have been driving protests against the laws. Georgia had a similar jump in turnout driven by Democratic voters, though it also had an ID law. "If, indeed, the voter ID laws inspire drives to register citizens and get them to the polls (and get them photo IDs), won't America be better off?"
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