Aaron B. O'Connell in The New York Times on the military-industrial complex The U.S. Naval Academy professor and Marine reserve officer writes of how the military has become the true "third rail" of American politics. Civilians are more vocal about supporting troops than troops are. Few veterans enter Congress. The result: "few Americans today are giving sufficient consideration to the full range of violent activities the government undertakes in their names."
Robert J. Samuelson in The Washington Post on the campaign disconnect This campaign "was dangerously disconnected from the actual problems the victor will face," Samuelson writes. "The gap between political theory and reality seems especially pronounced in 2012." The U.S. faces economic growth, aging population, and chronic deficit problems. But the questions were not properly tackled this campaign season, and Americans are unprepared for choices that lie ahead.
David Corn in Mother Jones on the demise of political truth The most significant statement this season came from Mitt Romney's pollster Neil Newhouse, who said "We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers." "Romney's chief numbers guy was issuing a manifesto: This campaign is about saying whatever needs to be said to win, reality and facts be damned." And indeed, from "you didn't build that" to saying Chrysler moved jobs to China, the Romney campaign has been based in lies.
Steven Greenhut in Bloomberg View on California's spending problem Voters do not like Proposition 30 in California, which raises sales and income taxes. Governor Jerry Brown has warned that if it doesn't pass, education will be cut. But education won't suffer real decreases. "Government agencies often complain about draconian budgets, when what they really mean is a reduction in the rate of spending growth." Ultimately, Prop 30 is about maintaining status quo instead of pursuing fiscal innovation.
Gordon G. Chang in Forbes on China's Enrons China's Big Four banks may be doing well, but the man who was shorted Enron is dubious of the banks' success. Banks may have overreported earnings because of bad loans. And a loaning spree in 2008 means many banks carry assets that cannot be paid back. "These relatively minor problems could not come at a worse time for the banks. As borrowers fail to make repayments and as the economy continues to stumble, watch for China’s Enrons to hit the wall."