Michael R. Bloomberg in Bloomberg View on immigration as an economic issue The New York City mayor writes that immigration reform is an issue for Democrats and Republicans to convene around, not a partisan talking point. Immigration reform is "the single most important step the federal government could take to bolster the economy," he writes. Citing various studies, Bloomberg says immigrants create businesses, jobs, and revitalize cities as a result. One solution: Demand that the election frames immigration's role in the economy. "To remain great, we must remain a nation of immigrants," he writes. "To do otherwise would betray not only our heritage, but also our future."
Dexter Filkins in The New Yorker on the deeply troubled Afghanistan government Presidential candidates are probably ignoring the topic of Afghanistan because neither of them know what to do about it, Filkins writes. Most recently, three powerful people around President Hamid Karzai are either under fire, have left the job, have promised to leave the job, or are clinging to threads of legitimacy. Filkins examines the most interesting case: Omar Zakhilwal, the Afghan finance minister. Zakhilwal's bank statements, found by reporters, showed cash deposits of millions of dollars in the time when he was a public servant. Questionable, to say the least. Filkin writes, "after eleven years, more than four-hundred billion dollars spent and two thousand Americans dead, this is what we’ve built: a deeply dysfunctional, predatory Afghan state that seems incapable of standing on its own—even when we’re there."
Charles Lane in The Washington Post on the financial health of senior citizens In talks of Medicare, do not feel sorry for the elderly, Lane says. He writes that the financial vulnerability of senior citizens has been exaggerated, and that only 9 percent of Americans over 65 are living in poverty, lower than the 13.7 percent of the general population in poverty. In the housing crisis, the elderly lost 13 percent of their net worth, but it was the smallest decrease among any age group. Even in social security, today's seniors are getting more in benefits than they paid in taxes. "Sooner or later, politicians are going to have to treat older voters not as potential victims but as secure and fortunate citizens," Lane writes.
Margaret Carlson in Bloomberg View on why Paul Ryan is the new Dick Cheney The closest parallel for Ryan, Carlson writes, is Dick Cheney, "another Man with a Plan." Just as George W. Bush needed to balance "his own vague compassionate conservatism with Cheney's bloodless neoconservative certainty," Romney's lack of belief system required Ryan's strong brand. But it's only a short term bet, Carlson said. "Ryan may well be to domestic policy what Cheney was to foreign policy: a fresh vessel for old ideas beloved by the archconservative wing of the party yet sadly irrelevant to the current situation or candidate."
George Monbiot in The Guardian on how creating biofuel contributes to famine The global price of food has gone up due to smaller harvests caused by the drought, causing a famine to develop in west Africa. Monbiot writes that global warming is not the only thing to blame. Policies in the United Kingdom, EU, and U.S. to create biofuels helps raise food prices while avoiding the root of the problem: Dependence on cars. "[Rather] than promoting a shift from driving to public transport, walking and cycling..., they have chosen to exchange our wild overconsumption of petroleum for the wild overconsumption of fuel made from crops." The result: A competition between rich Western countries and poor consumers. "There was never any doubt about which side would win," he writes.