Here is some constructive thinking. “Washington’s deficit hawks lamented the dragging pace of tax reform at this year’s Fiscal Summit in Washington, their annual budget brainstorm spearheaded by Pete G. Peterson, the billionaire co-founder of the Blackstone Group. The thought leaders’ consensus, expectedly: It’s not going to happen this year. But one traditionally non-fiscal topic danced on the tongues of the meeting’s attendees, including former president Bill Clinton: immigration reform. . . . [It] would have a positive impact on population growth, the labor force growth and the housing market. And, he added, it would have a positive impact on the federal budget. Framing immigration reform as a national debt solution is nothing new. The Congressional Budget Office predicted last year that fixing the system will hack more than a trillion dollars off the federal deficit in the next two decades.”
Ukraine must be thinking the diplomatic cure could be worse than the disease: “A new round of negotiations aimed at defusing the Ukraine crisis opened in Kiev on Wednesday. Held under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the talks are loosely modeled after the 1989 “round-table talks” that paved the way for a peaceful transition from Communism across Eastern and Central Europe. The prospects for the current round-table talks for Ukraine look more bleak. Among the reasons: Tim Guldimann, the Swiss diplomat who has been one of the talks’ chief architects, is seen by current and former U.S. diplomats as a ‘freelancer’ eager to accommodate Moscow.”
Is she thinking she can get away with anything? “Hillary Clinton is now claiming to be the architect of crippling sanctions on the Iranian economy. But during her tenure at Secretary of State, her department repeatedly opposed or tried to water down an array of sanctions measures that were pushed into law by Democrats and Republicans in Congress. . . . ‘The overwhelming success of Iran sanctions is certainly motivating many folks to claim credit. The reality is that there is no doubt that the toughest sanctions were imposed by Congress over the objections of the administration.’ ” Well, she also told us in 2008 she came under fire as first lady.
Most lawmakers thinking immigration reform is the end of American civilization have very few immigrants back home. “The 15 states where immigrants made up the biggest share of the population in 2012 account for about eight-in-ten (79%) of the nation’s immigrants. Although the rankings have changed over the past few decades, almost all of the states that have the highest immigrant population shares have remained the same.”
Right about now soon-to-be Egyptian president Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sissi should be thinking about market economic reforms. “He will enter office on a wave of good will and could make some important moves toward freeing up the Egyptian economy. If he lets the opportunity pass, if he lets the moment slip by while he attends to things that seem more important, he will be dooming Egypt to more years of economic stasis and millions of Egyptians to poverty. Here’s hoping that from Chicago or the Gulf donors or the IMF and World Bank, he is getting good advice–and takes it.”
Peter Berkowitz’s thinking about the danger of immoderate, emotion-driven politics is spot on. “Traditionalist conservatism accords private property and the rights associated with it special protection, but not because it places a premium on the promotion of commerce and economic growth. It teaches that through ownership, particularly of a home, one puts one’s stamp on the natural world, creating a place where one can develop one’s distinctive identity in relations with others and achieve a measure of permanence amid the flux of everyday life. . . . Contrary to the prevailing prejudice in the movement today, political moderation does not mean hoisting the white flag of surrender in the face of the steady growth of the federal government, the secularization of the public square, the deterioration of the family, the unraveling of sexual mores, and the decline of patriotism.” Read the whole thing.
Former Israeli ambassador to United States and historian Michael Oren must be thinking that speaking his mind to uninformed Israel critics is quite liberating: “As so many American Jews of our generation, you have this idealized image of pre-1967 Israel. But we’re adults now and adults inhabiting an illusion-less world. Israel before 1967 was in fact a far less equitable place than it is today. . . . It’s time [American Jews] stop judging Israelis by the standards of the American Jewish experience and start trying to understand the Israeli experience. Tired after two wars in which the vast majority didn’t fight? Try dealing with eight or so, one every few years, together with thousands of rockets raining on you cities, countless bombs blowing up buses and malls and intersections, and an absolutely relentless total threat. Nobody in Israel — not one single person you met, not our friend Lior [Weintraub], not me — hasn’t lost loved ones or hasn’t been deeply scarred. Remembering that, you shouldn’t be amazed that the country seems tired. You’ll be amazed that the country exists at all. You’ll be astonished that those young cool kids you saw in the army are still cool and still want to serve.” Enjoy the whole, brilliant takedown.