US Press: pick of the papers

The ten must-read opinion pieces from today's US papers.

1. Obama-Bubba ticket could be winner (Politico)

A loophole would make it possible for Bill Clinton to take Biden's spot on the 2012 ticket, note Paul Goldman and Mark J. Rozell.

2. Herman Cain's 9-9-9 doesn't add up (USA Today)

According to this editorial, the former pizza CEO's tax plan is a windfall for the rich, burden on the poor.

3. What the CLASS Act says about health-care reform (Washington Post)

Further analysis of the experiment showed it worked exactly as the Congressional Budget Office predicted, writes Ezra Klein: it saved money in the first 10 years and cost money after that.

4. Who Mailed the Anthrax Letters? (New York Times)

New research raises doubts that investigators found the perpetrator. Congress should commission an independent assessment to be sure there are no culprits still at large, urges this NYT editorial.

5. America's bitter sugar policy (Politico)

Sugar price supports are an unnecessary market intervention, costing consumers and businesses $4 billion a year, say Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Mark Kirk.

6. Food fight over marketing to kids misses mark (USA Today)

In a country where cartoon characters tempt children to eat the wrong foods, where kids don't get enough exercise and parents don't say "no" often enough, it's little wonder that one-third of children are overweight or obese. Parents are key, argues this editorial.

7. Should pensions be a top priority? (Chicago Tribune)

According to Dennis Byrne, not at the expense of other crisises

8. Apology to Chinese immigrants is long overdue (San Francisco Chronicle)

The idea seems unthinkable today, says this editorial, but until 1943, most Chinese were barred from entering the United States, and immigrants already here were prohibited from seeking citizenship.

9. Obama's stumbling, bumbling 1-term presidency (Washington Times)

The President has exposed what can be called only "Amateur Hour in the White House", writes Joseph Curl.

10. Funny lady: Siri may be there for you, but is that a good thing? (Boston Globe)

Yes, voice recognition is a useful tool, says Joanna Weiss, but what will happen if searching becomes so easy and appealing that we spend even less time talking to people?

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Emmanuel Macron's "moralisation of politics" comes at a heavy price for his allies

"Fake" jobs in French politics, season 3 episode 1.

Something is rotten in the state of France. No political party – at least none that existed before 2016 – seems immune to the spread of investigations into “fake” or shady parliamentary jobs. The accusations sank centre-right candidate François Fillon’s presidential campaign, and led to Marine Le Pen losing her parliamentary immunity in the European parliament (and proxy wars within her party, the National Front). Both deny the allegations. Now the investigations have made their way to the French government, led by Edouard Philippe, Emmanuel Macron’s Prime Minister.

On Wednesday morning, justice minister François Bayrou and secretary of state for European affairs Marielle de Sarnez announced their resignation from Philippe’s cabinet. They followed defence minister Sylvie Goulard’s resignation the previous day. The three politicians belonged not to Macron's party, En Marche!, but the centrist MoDem party. Bayrou, the leader, had thrown his weight behind Macron after dropping his own presidential bid in April.

The disappearance of three ministers leaves Emmanuel Macron’s cross-party government, which includes politicians from centre left and centre right parties, without a centrist helm. (Bayrou, who has run several times for the French presidency and lost, is the original “neither left nor right” politician – just with a less disruptive attitude, and a lot less luck). “I have decided not to be part of the next government,” he told the AFP.

Rumours had been spreading for weeks. Bayrou, who was last part of a French government as education minister from 1993 to 1997, had been under pressure since 9 June, when he was included in a preliminary investigation into “embezzlement”. The case revolves around whether the parliamentary assistants of MoDem's MEPs, paid for by the European Parliament, were actually working full or part-time for the party. The other two MoDem ministers who resigned, along with Bayrou, also have assistants under investigation.

Bayrou has denied the allegations. He has declared that there “never was” any case of “fake” jobs within his party and that it would be “easy to prove”. All the same, by the time he resigned, his position as justice minister has become untenable, not least because he was tasked by Macron with developing key legislation on the “moralisation of politics”, one of the new President’s campaign pledges. On 1 June, Bayrou unveiled the new law, which plans a 10-year ban from public life for any politician convicted of a crime or offence regarding honesty and transparency in their work.

Bayrou described his decision to resign as a sacrifice. “My name was never pronounced, but I was the target to hit to attack the government’s credibility,” he said, declaring he would rather “protect this law” by stepping down. The other two ministers also refuted the allegations, and gave similar reasons for resigning. 

Macron’s movement-turned-unstoppable-machine, En Marche!, remains untainted from accusations of the sort. Their 350 new MPs are younger, more diverse than is usual in France – but they are newcomers in politics. Which is exactly why Macron had sought an alliance with experienced Bayrou in the first place.

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