What a wonderful Wall Street Journal editorial page to start off the week!
Gordon Crovitz, who lives a block away from the Occupy Wall Street protest, has written THE best piece yet anywhere about it. He quotes a letter from the owner of the property being occupied: "Complaints range from outrage over numerous laws being broken including but not limited to lewdness, groping, drinking and drug use to the lack of safe access to and usage of the park, to the ongoing noise at all hours, to unsanitary conditions and to offensive odors."
Amity Shlaes has a fine column about how some developments in the late 1970s helped set the stage for the boom of the 1980s and thereafter. Her point about "the Steiger Amendment, which halved the capital gains rate, to an effective 25%," is particularly well taken.
The only thing on the page that made me wince was an editorial critical of Israel for its prisoner exchange deal for the captured soldier Gilad Shalit. The Journal has a long record of pro-Israel editorials, and it has plenty of company in the pro-Israel camp in America in criticizing the deal: Jeff Jacoby, Jeffrey Goldberg, the Zionist Organization of America, and Max Boot have all expressed similar concerns. Even so, there's something slightly off about seeing a newspaper whose own hostage, Daniel Pearl, was killed publish an editorial lecturing Israel about being too generous to the Islamists in negotiating the live return of Shalit. I can see how, from the Journal's perspective, deals like the one for Shalit would make it tempting to kidnap the next Daniel Pearl. But I can also see how, from the Israelis' perspective, deals like the one for Shalit would make it tempting for the kidnappers to keep the hostage alive and in good condition rather than dead like Daniel Pearl. Particularly odd is the final sentence of the Journal editorial: "Sooner or later, too, it [Israel] will learn that the better course is to give its enemies reasons to think twice before taking hostages in the first place." The editorialists seem to have forgotten the significant damage that Israel wreaked on Gaza and Lebanon in 2006 in response to the capture of Shalit, Ehud Goldwasser, and Eldad Regev. This massive retaliation of the sort the Journal seems to be recommending doesn't work so perfectly against an enemy for whom, as Bernard Lewis puts it, mutual assured destruction is not a deterrent but an inducement. Nor is it looked upon particularly favorably by the United Nations, Europe, or the current American administration — not that their objections should be dispositive, but not that Israel is free to disregard them entirely, either.