John Cassidy on who's driving the budget deal, Noreen Malone on San Francisco's homeless, Chris Cilliza and Sean Sullivan on Paul Ryan's big moment, Ezra Klein says Obama needs to fire some people, and Brian Beutler on Obama's leadership.
Five Best Columns
Today's Top Opinions on the News
John Cassidy at The New Yorker on who's driving the budget deal. "As the full details of the two-year deal between Democrats and Republicans on taxes and spending emerged on Wednesday, liberal and centrist budget experts held their noses, and, with their other hands, gave it a reluctant thumbs-up," Cassidy argues. The deal is better than continuing sequestration, but long-term unemployment insurance won't be extended. Most importantly, Republicans are winning on discretionary spending: The figure is "slightly more than the Republican negotiators wanted. But ... it’s $27 billion less than Ryan proposed in his 2011 budget, which, at the time, was widely agreed to be so draconian it was unrealistic." Washington Post and Paris Review contributor Scott Esposito tweets this line: "Dems in Congress are on the point of reaching an agreement that sets spending at a lower level than Ryan wanted."
Noreen Malone at The New Republic on San Francisco's homeless. After startup CEO Greg Gopman posted an offensive rant about homeless people in San Francisco, Malone concluded that the techies who populate the Bay Area are "the new Puritans." Gopman complained that "there is nothing positive gained from having [the homeless] so close to us." Malone explains, "In the Puritan model of charity, the rich have an obligation to do good for the poor — but the poor also have an obligation to the rich, to try to be a useful part of the same society. It sounds not unlike the way Silicon Valley understands homelessness: Why are the poor dropping their end of the bargain?" She continues, "This is, of course, a conservative worldview, where harder work will solve most problems." Wired senior writer Mat Honan tweets, "this is insightful." Valleywag editor Sam Biddle agrees.
Chris Cilliza and Sean Sullivan at The Washington Post on Paul Ryan's big moment. "The boldest political move of Paul Ryan’s career came this week when he stood side by side with Patty Murray to announce an $85 billion budget agreement," Cilliza and Sullivan argue. That's because "the Murray-Ryan budget deal, ... has a very real chance of becoming law. And that means Ryan will have attached his name to something that outside conservative groups have denounced as insufficiently dedicated to deficit reduction." So "now, let’s see if he gets rewarded or punished for being bold."
Ezra Klein at Bloomberg View says Obama needs to fire some people. After Obamacare's rocky rollout, "Obama clearly decided that the people nominally in charge of his signature legislative achievement weren’t up to their jobs. The rescue effort wasn’t led by Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of Health and Human Services, or Marilynn Tavenner, head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services," Klein explains. If the President has brought in new people to clean up the mess, why do the old people still have their jobs? "Firing and replacing underperforming staff is also a key element of effective management," Klein argues. National Journal reporter Alex Seitz-Wald tweets, "Obama needs to fire some people and @ezraklein offers some good suggestions of whom." Ars Technica writer Jonathan Gitlin responds, "no Generals got fired over Iraq, no one will get fired over this either. Consequences are for the plebs, not the elite."
Brian Beutler at Salon on Obama's leadership in the budget deal. Since President Obama didn't negotiate with Republicans during the shutdown, he provoked Rep. Paul Ryan's "volte-face." Ryan has presented a budget deal that is a compromise, one that probably will not lead to another shutdown. "The deal he struck with Murray, ... wasn’t negotiated under threat of default. As such, it contain no fruits of the right’s extortion fantasies. No cuts to big social insurance programs. No pound of Obamacare flesh. But it doesn’t bear any of the hallmarks of a GOP cave either. No tax increase on rich people. No unemployment extension. Nothing about this deal suggests Obama destroyed the GOP and is now running roughshod over them for sport." Think Progress reporter Sy Mukherjee recommends the post.
Also on The Wire
Atlantic Media Company | 600 New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington DC 20037