Mr. Obama’s Disappointing Response

By the time President Obama gave his news conference on Friday, there was really only one course to take on surveillance policy from an ethical, moral, constitutional and even political point of view. And that was to embrace the recommendations of his handpicked panel on government spying — and bills pending in Congress — to…

The Next Chapter for Derivatives Regulation

Under the Dodd Frank financial reform law, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, a five-member panel of three Democrats and two Republicans, has an all-important role in regulating the multi-trillion dollar market in derivatives. Since the passage of Dodd-Frank in 2010, the C.F.T.C. has put in place dozens of generally sound new federal rules — on…

A Pope’s New Path on Child Abuse

After decades of Vatican indifference and evasion, Pope Francis has ordered the creation of a commission to study the rape and intimidation of schoolchildren by priests and to recommend measures for effective reform. The new commission, long overdue, will be composed of international experts, both lay and religious, reflecting the global scope of the scandal.…

The President on Inequality

The issues that have obsessed Washington for the last few months — the government shutdown, the broken health care website, the unrelentingly bitter tone of a stalemated Congress — mean very little to most Americans. For a broad swath of the country, what matters hasn’t changed since the recession, and it is economic anxiety. Six…

Another Challenge to the Health Care Law

More than a year after it upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court has set the stage for a showdown over the law’s requirement that employer health plans cover birth control. It agreed on Tuesday to hear two cases challenging the mandate, each brought by a secular, profit-making company seeking an…

Another Banking Scandal

As financial investigations go, it literally can’t get any bigger than this: The world’s biggest banks are now being investigated for rigging the world’s biggest market. In a widening inquiry, as many as 15 banks — among them, Barclays, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and UBS — are under scrutiny by international officials…

The Shame of American Health Care

Even as Americans struggle with the changes required by health care reform, an international survey released last week by the Commonwealth Fund, a research organization, shows why change is so necessary. The report found that by virtually all measures of cost, access to care and ease of dealing with insurance problems, Americans fared poorly compared…

Gun Tragedies Without End

The latest woeful lesson in gun mayhem is playing out in Michigan, where a 54-year-old man in Dearborn Heights was charged Friday with second-degree murder in the shotgun slaying of a 19-year-old woman presumed to have knocked on his door in the middle of the night, seeking help after a traffic accident. The Wayne County…

A Health Care Fix

President Obama has come up with a modest fix for a self-inflicted political wound: his repeated — and wrong — assertions that Americans would be able to keep their health insurance plans if they wanted to under the health care reform law. The fix, which deals with the cancellations of individual policies, is far preferable…

Still Dangerous

Five years ago, when the economy imploded, the world learned that the global financial system was, in part, a casino built on derivatives, complex instruments that are supposed to reduce risk but are instead widely used by banks and other big investors for speculation. Since then, new rules have been created to rein in derivatives…

Reality Sets In

For about a decade, American military commanders leading the fight against Al Qaeda, the Taliban and Saddam Hussein had a blank check from Congress to buy whatever weapons and other supplies they needed. Now, the Pentagon is being forced to live with less in a new era of fiscal austerity. With the Iraq war over…

Second Thoughts on Neighborhood Watches

Far too late to save the life of Trayvon Martin, the community of Sanford, Fla., where Mr. Martin was shot to death last year by a roaming neighborhood watch volunteer, is wisely changing course and banning civilians from packing firearms on future citizen patrols. The lethal folly of allowing armed volunteers to strut about, largely…

Arming the T.S.A. Is Not a Solution

Police are still piecing together the details of Friday’s fatal shooting at Los Angeles International Airport, but it appears as if the gunman, Paul Ciancia, targeted Transportation Security Administration agents. In response to the attack, the union representing T.S.A. screeners said the agency should arm certain employees and assign them to checkpoints. The administrator of…

Sandy’s Unfinished Business

A year ago Tuesday evening, Hurricane Sandy slammed into the Eastern Seaboard, destroying lives and homes and entire neighborhoods. On the first anniversary of the storm, politicians are busily touting what they’ve done since, while, at the same time, assiduously dodging legitimate complaints from people who are still suffering. The delays have been excruciating for…

Ted Cruz Takes On the F.C.C.

Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican who helped engineer the recent government shutdown, has a new target for his obstructionism: the Federal Communications Commission. Last week, Mr. Cruz blocked the Senate from considering the nomination of Tom Wheeler to lead the commission — a candidate who leaders from both parties had agreed would be put…

The United States, Falling Behind

Researchers have been warning for more than a decade that the United States was losing ground to its economic competitors abroad and would eventually fall behind them unless it provided more of its citizens with the high-level math, science and literacy skills necessary for the new economy. Naysayers dismissed this as alarmist. But recent data…

An Exit Strategy From Afghanistan

As it winds down its 12-year-old military commitment in Afghanistan, the United States is still looking for a face-saving way out of a conflict that seems headed, at best, for a stalemate. The new bilateral security agreement between the two nations is part of that exit strategy. So is a hoped-for political settlement with the…

No Vacancies

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on the radio on Friday that New Yorkers are lucky to live in a city where apartments are so hard to find. “Somebody said that there’s not enough housing,” he said. “That’s a good sign. As fast as we build, more people want to live here.” Mr. Bloomberg acknowledged that affordable…