Given where we are, this tax-cut deal with the Republicans is the best President Obama could do since raising taxes in a recession would not have been a good idea and the Republicans had the votes to prevent it. But given where we need to go, this deal is just another shot of morphine to a country that needs to do things that are big and hard and still only wants to do things that are easy and small. It still feels to me as though we’re splitting the difference between the two parties, not making a difference for the country as a whole. ...
We don’t seem to realize: We’re in a hole and still digging. Our educational attainment levels are stagnating; our infrastructure is fraying. We don’t have enough smart incentives to foster both innovation and manufacturing; we’re not importing enough talent in an age when we have to compete for jobs with low-wage but high-skilled Indians and Chinese — and we’re still piling up debt. Responding to all this will require a whole new hybrid politics for where to cut, where to save, where to invest, where to tax and where to untax. Shaping that new politics is a revolutionary role I still hope President Obama will play.
E.J. Dionne Jr., in his Washington Post column, quoted Representative Tom Perriello, a Democrat of Virginia, as saying that voters are less interested in “bipartisanship” than “postpartisanship.” He explained: “What they’re looking for is someone who solves the problem, not for a solution that happens to be halfway between the two parties.”
Read Tuesday’s article in this paper about how international education experts were stunned by the fact that students in Shanghai outscored their counterparts in dozens of other countries, in reading as well as in math and science, according to the results of the widely respected Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, tests, which measure learning by 15-year-old students in 65 countries. Yes, Shanghai represents the best of China, but the best of China is now scoring better than anywhere else in the world. America’s 15-year-olds ranked 14th in reading skills, 17th in science and 25th in math, below the average.
Economics is not war. It can be win-win, so it’s good for the world if China is doing better. But it can’t be good for America if every time we come to a hard choice we borrow more money from a country that is not just out-saving and out-hustling us, but is also starting to out-educate us. We need a plan. - Thomas L. Friedman
Links for the 6/18 TRMS - Tuesday night's citations are listed after the jump.
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