Ronald Brownstein on 'Dangerous Trends' in the War on Terror The National Journal senior editor outlines two "ominous" trends that, if unchecked, could "reinforce" and "accelerate" each other. The first is the unquestionable increase in the number of American Muslims who are being actively recruited to commit terrorist acts against the United States. While the number, which Brownstein cites from a report by the National Security Preparedness Group, is "extremely small," it is nevertheless growing. The second trend is the "growing suspicion about Islam among the non-Muslim U.S. population." He concludes: "If the legitimate worry about unearthing domestic terrorists metastasizes into broader suspicion of all American Muslims, that attitude will enlarge the audience for that message. ... Imagine how fast that cycle would spin if a homegrown terrorist succeeds in a major attack."
Paul Krugman on the 'Tax-Cut Racket' In an effort to convey the serious implications of the congressional tax-cut debate, The New York Times columnist frames it like this: "President Obama is proposing legislation that would keep tax rates essentially unchanged for 98 percent of Americans but allow rates on the richest 2 percent to rise. But Republicans are threatening to block that legislation, effectively raising taxes on the middle class, unless they get tax breaks for their wealthy friends." While the GOP brands itself as the party that champions lower taxes it is essentially engaging in dangerous "brinksmanship" to "plunge the U.S. economy back into recession unless Democrats pay up." It's a move that the Democrats can not give in to, as it would be "morally wrong" if they did.
David Brooks on the Backlash Myth Democrats banking on the Tea Party turning off independent voters could be in for something of a shock, argues The New York Times columnist. Tea Party backed candidates across the map are polling ahead of or close to their Democratic opponents. "This does not mean that moderate voters are signing up for the Glenn Beck-Sarah Palin brigades," cautions Brooks. These candidates aren't ahead in these races because the public necessarily likes what they're selling. Rather, they're upset with Democrats because they're the majority and "the party of government and of the status quo." It scarcely matters who opposes them, just as long as something opposes them. "Right now, the Tea Party doesn;t matter," writes Brooks. "The Republicans don't matter. The economy and the Democrats are handing the G.O.P. a great, unearned revival."
Valerie Jarrett on Closing the Wage Gap The House has passed the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Senate should do the same, the senior adviser to President Obama writes in The Washington Post. In the nearly 50 years since the equal pay law was first enacted, the wage gap has closed by only 18 cents. "In this harsh economic environment, the consequences of the pay disparity put women and their families, as well as our economy, at a significant disadvantage," argues Jarrett. "That's why women's wages have perhaps never been more important." Anything that can help reduce the wage gap, Jarrett believes, is "not only good for women, it's good for working families, for business and for the American economy."
Jonathan Cohn on 'Repeal and Replace' With a GOP takeover of the House looking increasingly likely, The New Republic's Jonathan Cohn challenges Republicans to explain their plan to "repeal and replace" health care legislation. The bill passed earlier this year was far from perfect, concedes Cohn, but it did include "a bunch of consumer protections...standard benefits that all insurers will have to cover, requirements for more disclosure so that consumers will be able to shop intelligently and find the best plans, and guarantees of the right to appeal treatment denials." Ultimately, it's tough to argue that these provisions will hurt the American consumer. "Can Republicans make the case that Americans would be better off without these benefits?" asks Cohn. "It's about time somebody forced them to answer that question."