By Fareed Zakaria
“Europe is always thought of as having a sovereign-debt crisis, and it has. But the origins of the euro disaster lay less with government profligacy than with excessive private borrowing,” The Economist says. “True, Greece got into trouble because its government spent too much and collected too little in taxes. But elsewhere the bust followed a private-sector binge: mortgage debt in Ireland and Spain; corporate borrowing in Portugal and again in Spain (see article). In all three countries household and corporate debt combined were way over 200 percent of GDP before the crisis, much higher than in America (175 percent) or even Britain (205 percent).”
“Unfortunately, the euro zone has made less headway than other places in reducing this private-debt burden.”
“So why is it that the technology available to Mr. Obama as president doesn’t compare to the technology he used to win an election? Much of the problem has to do with the way the government buys things,” write Clay Johnson and Harper Reed in The New York Times. “The government has to follow a code called the Federal Acquisition Regulation, which is more than 1,800 pages of legalese that all but ensure that the companies that win government contracts, like the ones put out to build HealthCare.gov, are those that can navigate the regulations best, but not necessarily do the best job. That’s evidenced by yesterday’s Congressional testimony by the largest of the vendors, CGI Federal, which blamed everyone but itself when asked to explain the botched rollout of the new Web site.”
“Can the open-source model work for federal government? Not in every way—for security purposes, the government’s inner workings will never be completely open to the public. Even in the inner workings of government, fears of triggering the next Wikileaks or Snowden scandal may scare officials away from being more open with one another. While not every area of government can be more open, there are a few areas ripe for change,” writes Alexis Wichowski in The Atlantic.