Thomas B. Edsall in The New York Times on poverty and politics Calling the issue of poverty "one of most intractable political dilemmas of our era," Edsall asks whether the Democratic Party can address the poor, who are more likely to be black than white, in this partisan era. He adds, "Democrats have concluded that getting enough votes on Nov. 6 precludes taking policy positions that alienate middle-class whites. In practice this means that on the campaign trail there is an absence of explicit references to the poor." 

Robert J. Samuelson in The Washington Post on Bernanke's stimulus We might be beyond the practical limits of economic stimulus. "The Fed is on the brink of moving beyond what it understands and can control." The government has been doling out "huge amounts of stimulus," but it hasn't fixed the economy to people's expectations. Maybe Bernanke's move will help the housing market, but "based on experience, people have grown skeptical."

Steven Rattner in The New York Times on Medicare costs and death panels Nobody wants to admit that the elderly cannot get "every conceivable medical procedure or pharmaceutical," but examining that assumption is the only way to reduce Medicare costs. "The big money in Medicare is not to be found in Mr. Ryan’s competition or Mr. Obama’s innovation, but in reducing the cost of treating people in the last year of life, which consumes more than a quarter of the program’s budget."

Simon Johnson in Bloomberg View on German taxpayers paying for Deutsche Bank In addition to helping the European Central Bank take on sovereign-debt, German taxpayers may now have to help the Deutsche Bank, too, writes the former International Monetary Fund economist. The Deutsche Bank has thin capital, poor risk management, and an unconvincing vision for staying out of trouble. "Germany has deep pockets, and many people lined up to put their hands in. But the wealth and the patience of the German people is limited."

Sir Elton John in The Washington Post on segregating HIV-positive prisoners Alabama and South Carolina prisons "blatantly and dangerously" discriminate against HIV-positive prisoners, the pop star and founder of Elton John AIDS Foundation writes. In both states, the prisoners are segregated and denied the same rehabilitation opportunities as other prisoners. "HIV-positive prisoners are repaying their debts to society in accordance with the law," he writes. "They should not bear the additional punishment of being prisoners of the past."