Whenor ifa fiscal cliff deal emerges, how will we know whether it's a good one or not? Ezra Klein says we shouldn't get our hopes up, but we can expect one of three types of deal: small, medium, and grand. "Viewed from one angle, the tentative Obama/Boehner deal is surely small-ball. It includes about $1 trillion in tax revenue and $1 trillion in spending cuts, for a total of about $2 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years. Thats not nothing, but its on the small side of the various fiscal plans circulating Washington," Klein writes. But throw in 2011's Budget Control Act and potential savings from winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we might actually be making headway on deficitreduction, Klein argues.
The number of American children who died from gunshots reached 5,740 in a recent two-year period, and Adam Gopnik has no idea why we aren't taking demonstrably effective steps to stop that. "The overwhelming majority of those children would have been saved with effective gun control," he writes. "We know that this is so, because, in societies thathaveeffective gun control, children rarely, rarely, rarely die of gunshots. Lets worry tomorrow about the problem of Evil. Lets worry more about making sure that when the Problem of Evil appears in a first-grade classroom, it is armed with a penknife."
If John Kerry is confirmed as Secretary of State, the U.S. may start to pay more attention to Latin America, argues Andres Oppenheimer. That's because Kerry's vacant seat as chairman of theU.S. Senate Relations Committee would likely be filled by Senator Bob Menendez, a Cuban-American with expertise on the region. And Rep. Eliot Engel seems primed to become a member of theHouse Foreign Affairs Committee. "The likely promotion of Menendez and Engel to top congressional jobs, as well as the growing political weight of Latinos in the United States following the crucial Hispanic support for Obama in the Nov. 6 elections, may push the president to pay more attention to Latin America over the next four years," writes Oppenheimer, who thinks immigration reform, drug war policies, and trade ties could all be affected by the shift.
The U.K.'s continued membership in the European Union is in doubt, with nationalist voices calling for Britain to break from Europeand they're growing louder. Timothy Garton Ash isn't afraid of that debate, because he believes U.K. citizens will ultimately stick with Europe. "Unlike many of my pro-European friends, I think we will win," he writes. "I do not believe the brains of the British people have been so addled by the Sun and Daily Mail that they will, confronted with the facts about what it is really like to be Norway (without the oil) or Switzerland, decide that exitBrexit or Brixitis the best option for this country."