Morning Call: pick of the papers

The ten must-read comment pieces from this morning's papers.

1. Can Miliband and Balls discover Attlee’s steel? (Daily Telegraph)

Labour's Iron Eds will soon know whether the voters are swayed by their moment of truth, says Mary Riddell.

2. America owes a lot to Bernanke (Financial Times)

Fed critics lack imagination or are indifferent to what would have happened had it not acted, writes Martin Wolf.

3. He’s beating the Blob, but Gove won’t be PM (Times)

The Education Secretary’s radicalism knows no bounds, unlike his political ambition, writes Tim Montgomerie.

4. When – not if – China overtakes the US, normality will have returned (Independent)

The possibility that China's economy will outgrow America's in the next three years gives added spice to Obama's meeting with President Xi Jinping, writes Hamish McRae.

5. Ed Balls is as mesmerised by the bankers as George Osborne (Guardian)

Austerity has lost its credibility everywhere but London and Berlin, writes Simon Jenkins. The shadow chancellor missed a golden opportunity.

6. Curry Club Conservatives can spice things up (Daily Telegraph)

Why are Tory MPs who can help win the next election ignored by the party leadership, asks Isabel Hardman.

7. They’ve all discovered the economic big idea (Times)

Industrial policy is back in vogue, but will its new incarnation succeed where earlier attempts to stop decline failed, asks Daniel Finkelstein.

8. How to destroy the future (Guardian)

From the Cuban missile crisis to a fossil fuels frenzy, the US is intent on winning the race to disaster, says Noam Chomsky.

9. At all costs, our museums must remain free (Independent)

Other ways to close the funding gap must be found, says an Independent editorial.

10. Great powers’ ties hinge on the Pacific (Financial Times)

The US and China have an opportunity to set out aims and test limits, writes Robert Zoellick.

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Is anyone prepared to solve the NHS funding crisis?

As long as the political taboo on raising taxes endures, the service will be in financial peril. 

It has long been clear that the NHS is in financial ill-health. But today's figures, conveniently delayed until after the Conservative conference, are still stunningly bad. The service ran a deficit of £930m between April and June (greater than the £820m recorded for the whole of the 2014/15 financial year) and is on course for a shortfall of at least £2bn this year - its worst position for a generation. 

Though often described as having been shielded from austerity, owing to its ring-fenced budget, the NHS is enduring the toughest spending settlement in its history. Since 1950, health spending has grown at an average annual rate of 4 per cent, but over the last parliament it rose by just 0.5 per cent. An ageing population, rising treatment costs and the social care crisis all mean that the NHS has to run merely to stand still. The Tories have pledged to provide £10bn more for the service but this still leaves £20bn of efficiency savings required. 

Speculation is now turning to whether George Osborne will provide an emergency injection of funds in the Autumn Statement on 25 November. But the long-term question is whether anyone is prepared to offer a sustainable solution to the crisis. Health experts argue that only a rise in general taxation (income tax, VAT, national insurance), patient charges or a hypothecated "health tax" will secure the future of a universal, high-quality service. But the political taboo against increasing taxes on all but the richest means no politician has ventured into this territory. Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has today called for the government to "find money urgently to get through the coming winter months". But the bigger question is whether, under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is prepared to go beyond sticking-plaster solutions. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.