The Associated Press
Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States and abroad:
Chicago Sun-Times on a presidential-bid condition for New Jersey Gov. Christie:
If New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie wants to run for president in 2016 -- and we hope he does -- he had better figure out now what to say and do about his considerable extra weight.
Gov. Christie can't have it both ways. He can't laugh off the matter of his obesity one day, as he did on David Letterman's show recently, and snarl about it the next, as he did later when he told a former White House doctor who mentioned his weight to "shut up."
More than that, here's hoping Christie actually slims down, as he says he's trying to do. The doctor who annoyed him, Connie Mariano, was speaking the simple truth when she pointed out that the presidency is a highly stressful job and all those extra pounds could kill him.
Americans presume that a president's health is their business. They don't want any big secrets, as there were for FDR and JFK. That's why later presidents have made public the results of their annual physicals.
Presidents are also, like it or not, role models for good health or bad. President George W. Bush set a good example with is regular jogging; President Barack Obama set a bad example with his covert smoking -- let's hope he's quit.
About a third of all Americans are obese, carrying an extra 35 pounds or so.
If Christie goes for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, we can expect a primary battle that is far more honest and intelligent than what we saw last year. And Christie would give any Democrat in the general election, even one named Clinton, a real run for the money.
But if the governor is of a mind to run, he would be wise to start now, beginning with a slow jog.
The Greenwood (Miss.) Commonwealth on job loss trends:
The Associated Press recently moved a provocative series about the changing landscape for jobs in the United States. It made a good case that middle-class jobs eliminated by technology and the recession aren't coming back.
This is not the first time to hear such dire warnings. Imagine the fuss in the horse carriage industry 100 years ago as it tried to compete with the fledgling automobile. More recently, the typewriter vanished after being conquered by the personal computer.
Generally, a disruptive improvement such as the automobile winds up creating more jobs than it eliminates. Historically, such changes have been good for the economy.
However, the AP report indicates that this time may be different -- due to the rapid improvement in computer software that allows machines to do more jobs with greater accuracy.
Another difference is that a lot of the jobs being eliminated, such as an accountant or office manager, involve a college degree. So far, the recent improvements in technology are eliminating more jobs than they are creating.
The statistics bear out this argument. The United States lost 7.5 million jobs in the recession that started in late 2007. So far, only 3.5 million jobs have been created, but few of them in the so-called "mid-skill, mid-pay" category. Most new jobs are in lower-paying, lower-skill categories. ...
The AP report is informative because it addresses a subject that politicians were unwilling to in last year's elections. It's easy to say that all the jobs are going to China, but a more accurate answer is that some of them are not going anywhere. They're just disappearing. ...
The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tenn., on no breaks for Congress:
Congress likes to impose draconian consequences -- the fiscal cliff, sequestration, national default -- on itself, and unfortunately on the rest of us as well, for failing to do what it's supposed to do.
The latest such gimmick is the "no budget, no pay" proviso. The idea is that none of the lawmakers will get a paycheck until both the House and Senate pass a budget this year. For the senators, it's not an idle threat because they haven't passed a budget in four years.
But the threat is somewhat mitigated because so many members of Congress are wealthy enough that they can get along without their government paycheck and, besides, they get all the money back at the end of the congressional session. No member will starve.