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Their Views

High Court ruling a win for free speech

Depending on who you listen to, the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent 5-4 McCutcheon v. FEC decision on campaign finance laws is either a resounding victory for free speech or the end of democracy as we know it. The truth is probably somewhere in between, though we think it is much closer to the former.

Keeping the terrorists out

Factions among and within the right and left disagree about immigration, but nearly all Americans can agree that foreign terrorist shouldn’t step foot on our shores. Thanks to Rep. Doug Lamborn and Sen. Ted Cruz, Iran won’t be shipping a former hostage taker to the United States to serve as that country’s ambassador to the United Nations.

A counter for hysterics in Michigan

DETROIT — Robert Griffin, now 90, who rose to be second in the Republican U.S. Senate leadership, was defeated in 1978. Since then, only one Michigan Republican, Spencer Abraham in 1994, has been elected to the Senate and for only one term. Evidence former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land might end this GOP drought is that Democrats are attacking her for opposing “preventive health care.”

Data release welcomed

Federal officials released a huge trove of data Wednesday that shows what Medicare paid to more than 880,000 doctors and other health care providers nationwide. There were some eye-popping stats:

Health care nightmares

When it comes to health reform, Republicans suffer from delusions of disaster. They know, just know, that the Affordable Care Act is doomed to utter failure, so failure is what they see, never mind the facts on the ground.

Solution in search of a problem

Is America fundamentally hostile to women? It’s a notion that seems difficult to reconcile with the reality we see around us. In the March jobs report, for instance, women and men had exactly the same unemployment rates. Women substantially outnumber men on American college campuses. And, with 63.7 percent of women voting in the 2012 presidential election (as opposed to 59.7 percent of men), it’s not as if they’re being shut out of the political process.

Bottom dollar

The earned-income tax credit is one of the government’s most effective poverty-fighting, work-encouraging tools. The program pays low-income employees a wage supplement, in the form of a tax credit, that can be worth more than $6,000 a year to a family with three or more children. The EITC has offset higher Social Security taxes and the minimum wage’s erosion by inflation in recent years.

When geography matters

WASHINGTON — Igor Stravinsky, the Russian composer, said of Poland, perilously positioned between Russia and Germany: “If you pitch your tent in the middle of Fifth Avenue, it is quite likely you will be run over by a bus.” Poland has been run over hard and often; indeed, between 1795 and 1918 it disappeared from the map of Europe.

Malaysia’s catastrophe

If you are perplexed by Monday’s announcement about the missing Malaysian airliner, no wonder. Prime Minister Najib Razak declared the flight “ended” in the southern Indian Ocean, and the state-owned airline said “we have to assume beyond a reasonable doubt” the plane went down in the ocean, far off its course to Beijing. Both announcements were vague; neither said much about why or how.

U.S. Sanctions Best Step to Counter Russians

There may be nothing that the United States and its allies in the European Union can do to force the Russians to leave Crimea at this point. But they can send a loud message that expanding the invasion beyond this Russian-centric region of Ukraine carries a heavy price. A new round of sanctions imposed last week on prominent Russian officials is a good way to begin to exact that price in the wake of a bogus election over the weekend on Crimean secession.

Drifting toward an oligarchy?

It seems safe to say that “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” the magnum opus of the French economist Thomas Piketty, will be the most important economics book of the year — and maybe of the decade. Piketty, arguably the world’s leading expert on income and wealth inequality, does more than document the growing concentration of income in the hands of a small economic elite.