The India-Indonesia Alignment

Posted by osurce, 25th January 2011

India Taj MajalHarsh V. Pant
1/25/2011

The long partnership between India and Indonesia is deepening against the backdrop of a more menacing China. The basis of the India-Indonesia partnership dates to the founding of these nation’s founders–Jawaharlal Nehru and Sukarno–who offered a distinct worldview that drew on their shared colonial experiences. Economic engagement between New Delhi and Jakarta is growing rapidly and has gained further momentum with the signing of the India-Asean free-trade agreement last year. Pant concludes that by wooing Indonesia, India is signaling that it is indeed serious about its presence in Southeast Asia.

Pant is a professor of defense studies at King’s College, London.

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Health care and the contest of credibility

Posted by osurce, 25th January 2011

MedicaidMichael Gerson
1/25/2011

The Obama administration is taking a Clintonian approach to the deficit problem, particularly with regard to health-care price controls. The Congressional Budget Office will likely report cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, and other health-care costs as huge savings over the years (a perk that is feasible on paper but not in reality), while Republicans propose cutting discretionary domestic spending without touching Medicare. But Medicare reform is essential to America’s fiscal future, leaving Republicans with a political dilemma. Obama’s plan, neatly laid out on paper, is far more politically palatable (even if it does cause “immediate pain”) than a more gradual Republican plan that subsidizes citizens to buy their own health insurance and leaves those over 55 unaffected. However, the unsustainable nature of Obama’s plan could affect his credibility in the long run.

Gerson is a nationally syndicated columnist who appears twice weekly in the Washington Post.

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The Talent Magnet

Posted by osurce, 25th January 2011

ObamaDavid Brooks
1/25/2011

Brooks says it will be interesting to see if President Obama talks about economic growth and competitiveness in the standard or visionary way tonight in his state of the union address. He considers what a visionary speech might encompass, including a look at how America’s position in the world is changing moving from the Big Dog nation of the 20th century to a different world today. In order to thrive America must become the crossroads nation where global talent congregates and collaborates. He says the nation with the most diverse creative hot spots will dominate the century and government’s role will be like at a university: it must establish an overall climate with competitive tax rates, predictable regulations, and fiscal balance. It should actively concentrate talent and then work aggressively to reduce the human capital inequalities that occur in an innovation economy.

Brooks is a New York Times columnist.

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Myth of the Hero Gunslinger

Posted by osurce, 21st January 2011

GunmanTimothy Egan
1/21/2011

Regarding the Tucson tragedy, Egan looks at the response to arguments that people who are armed can defend themselves against assassins. In fact several people were armed at the scene and one person who thought of firing at the alleged murderer almost fired at the wrong person. In addition, most citizens are not trained well enough to react well in a violent confrontation. This is not enough reason to disarm citizens, but it is enough to discredit the canard that we need more guns in society. He cites studies that show that states with higher rates of gun ownership have much higher gun death rates.

Egan is a New York Times columnist.

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Can Deregulation Work?

Posted by osurce, 21st January 2011

Paul H. RubinPaul Rubin
1/21/2011

Based on his experience at two regulatory agencies during the Reagan years, Rubin is not optimistic that the president’s recently announced deregulatory initiative will be a success. He writes that without managers with a strong interest in deregulation and with the backing of senior administrators, there will be no serious power to buck the staffs. The current executive order seems to impose a cost-benefit analysis, but it has enough loopholes (“equity, human dignity, fairness”) so that agencies will be able to do whatever they want.

Rubin is a professor of economics at Emory University.

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Everything starts with repeal

Posted by osurce, 21st January 2011

Obama HealthcareCharles Krauthammer
1/21/2011

As HR 2 (Republican health-care repeal) comes up for debate, Democrats are touting a “$230 billion deficit reduction” as a selling point for Obamacare, when in fact the “reduction” is merely a mathematical difference between a massive increase in spending and a bigger increase in taxes. A similarly elusive “surplus” is also supposed to be created as entitlement to long-term care (CLASS Act) is achieved by paying for benefits now that won’t kick in for a decade. Krauthammer encourages Republicans to expose the “flimflammery” upon which the health-care bill was built and to explain the phony numbers or have the Congressional Budget Office director explain them. The “insanely complicated” and deceptive health-care bill is beyond reform; it must be repealed, concludes Krauthammer, and only then can Republicans present their own plan.

Krauthammer is a weekly columnist for The Post, writing on foreign and domestic policy and politics.

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Hu Jintao meets the free press

Posted by osurce, 20th January 2011

Hu JintaoDana Milbank
1/20/2011

American reporters had a unique opportunity on Wednesday to question Chinese President Hu Jintao directly on his country’s human rights record. The very first question at the state dinner press conference addressed the matter and Hu Jintao attempted to deflect by claiming difficulty in translation. But a persistent press corps forced him to address the matter, however mildly, in a way that would have been plainly impossible in any other circumstance.

Milbank writes about political theater in the nation’s capital.

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Don’t Bank on China ‘Rebalancing’

Posted by osurce, 20th January 2011

China shopJoseph Sternberg
1/20/2011

There are deeply rooted reasons–from banking habits to government policy–why the Chinese are unlikely to increase consumption anytime soon. For starters, China lacks the infrastructure of modern consumer finance and is years–possibly decades–away from building it to the standards of the developed world. Its banks face significant structural and regulatory barriers to offering more consumer-finance products. China needs to reallocate capital and labor to orient itself toward producing goods and services that its consumers want. China’s investment-driven growth may already be witnessing declining marginal returns. Shifting to a new model for GDP growth will require changes at every level, right down to the bank branch.

Sternberg is an editorial page writer for the Wall Street Journal Asia.

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Hubris heading for a fall

Posted by osurce, 20th January 2011

larry summersGeorge F. Will
1/20/2011

The political class in America has come to be defined by its hubris and Larry Summers exemplified such conceit in his departing speech wherein he warned of profound government demoralization in the face of inadequate funding. Summers should concern himself with the reverse scenario: government recklessly expanding its scope and squandering its limited resources, says Will. Such a scenario is likely to worsen due to the slow or non-existent increase of productivity in “labor-intensive service industries” (Princeton economics professor emeritus William J. Baumol) and the migration of such services to the public sector (senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan). Because those industries relegated to the public sector tend toward stagnation, the government should be cautious about any expansion of its responsibilities.

Will is a twice-weekly columnist for The Post and approximately 400 other newspapers, writing about foreign and domestic politics and policy.

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