Online Opinion Outpost: May 26


The Opinion Outpost features opinions and commentary on the latest hot topics from national news sources. As much as you love hearing from The Universe, we thought you might like to hear from journalists around the nation.

Economic prosperity 
Warren Buffet, Wall Street Journal

In my mind, the country’s economic policies should have two main objectives. First, we should wish, in our rich society, for every person who is willing to work to receive income that will provide him or her a decent lifestyle. Second, any plan to do that should not distort our market system, the key element required for growth and prosperity.

That second goal crumbles in the face of any plan to sizably increase the minimum wage. I may wish to have all jobs pay at least $15 an hour. But that minimum would almost certainly reduce employment in a major way, crushing many workers possessing only basic skills. Smaller increases, though obviously welcome, will still leave many hardworking Americans mired in poverty.

Obamacare Repeal

Jeffrey Toobin, The New Yorker

If the Obama Administration loses in the Supreme Court, the political pain will fall almost exclusively on the President and his Party. To paraphrase Colin Powell and the Pottery Barn rule, President Obama will have broken health care, so he owns it. To the vast mass of Americans who follow politics casually or not at all, Obamacare and the American system of health care have become virtually synonymous. This may not be exactly right or fair, but it’s a reasonable perception on the part of most people.

Wall Street Journal

If Congress fails to act the labor market would add as many as 237,000 jobs and 1.3 million people would join the workforce. The reason is that ObamaCare’s employer mandates and other regulations that harm the incentive to work are conditioned on the subsidies. If the subsidies are withdrawn, so are these economic cement shoes.

That may be true over time, but the immediate and persistent headlines through Election Day in 2016 will be about people who have lost or can’t afford their insurance. GOP Governors need a better argument to survive than claiming that things will get better in 2017. And all Republicans need a better response than blaming Mr. Obama and telling Americans to suck it up.

David Brooks, New York Times

Innate spiritual capacities can wither unless cultivated — the way innate math faculties can go undeveloped without instruction. Loving families nurture these capacities, especially when parents speak explicitly about spiritual quests. The larger question, especially in this age of family disruption, is whether public schools and other institutions should do more to nurture spiritual faculties.

Free college tuition
Charles Lane, Washington Post

Sanders’s free-tuition-for-all plan heads in the opposite direction. In the name of helping the poor and middle class, it would tax upper-income people who trade financial instruments — and give a lot of it right back to upper-income people who are perfectly willing and able to fund their children’s college.

A financial stake encourages students to study hard; it encourages families to monitor their kids’ schools and hold them accountable. By contrast, “free” tuition, regardless of need, may breed entitlement, indifference or both. If there’s anything young people don’t need, it’s that.

Justice system
Brian Walsh, Washington Times

To the extent that a person is truly guilty of conduct that deserves to be criminalized, criminal conviction and punishment are appropriate. But when a poor person is unjustly found guilty or pressured into pleading guilty because he is denied constitutionally required legal assistance, the forced unemployment and similar indirect consequences of a conviction greatly increase the injustice.

Iraq War
Charles Krauthammer, Chicago Tribune 

Bush bequeathed to Obama a success. By whose measure? By Obama’s. As he told the troops at Fort Bragg on Dec. 14, 2011, “We are leaving behind a sovereign, stable, and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people.” This was, said the president, a “moment of success.”

Which Obama proceeded to fully squander.

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