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Reforms offer economic boost

The economic news remains dreadful: Stock markets, credit ratings and consumer confidence are all plunging. Worse yet, the administration has few tools available to reverse the trend. New stimulus spending is politically impossible, and interest rates are already at rock bottom.

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Washington needs more grown-ups

Finally, the Responsibility Caucus has spoken. A total of 343 lawmakers, from both chambers and both parties, supported a bill to raise the debt ceiling and avoid financial calamity. For now.- Steve & Cokie Roberts, syndicated columnists

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A commission to the rescue?

Rancor and recrimination are suffocating Washington like a summer heat wave, but the nasty tone of the debate obscures an important point of agreement. Leaders in both parties now agree that Congress is a failure. It cannot, they concede, make the painful decisions necessary to defuse the country's exploding budget deficits.

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Politicians should keep away from pledges

USA Today was right in saying, "Candidates who sign pledges outsource their brains," but it's actually worse than that. By giving up their capacity for judgment, they are outsourcing their hearts, as well.

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Ford was a good political wife

Since her death at 93, Betty Ford has been justly praised for publicizing her battles with breast cancer and alcoholism. As President Obama put it, her candor and courage gave "countless Americans a new lease on life."- Steve & Cokie Roberts, syndicated columnists

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Learning from from the Strauss-Kahn case

We don't know exactly what happened in that hotel room last May. But we do know that DSK has a long record of abusing women. And we know that such a record should disqualify a man from holding public office, in Paris or Washington or anywhere else.

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This has gotten personal now

State Sen. Carl Kruger provided a key vote when the New York legislature recently legalized gay marriage. According to the New York Times, his girlfriend's gay nephew had lobbied him heavily and cut off relations after Kruger opposed the measure two years ago. "I don't need this," the lawmaker said, explaining his change of mind. "It has gotten personal now."- Steve and Cokie Roberts, syndicated columnists

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