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Steve and Cokie Roberts


Taxes and trade are the test

The economic news from abroad is not good. Japan has plunged into a recession and Europe could soon follow. America’s performance — 3.5 percent annual growth, 5.8 percent unemployment rate — looks positively robust by comparison.

Give workers a raise

American workers need a raise, and there’s one simple way to boost incomes at the lower end of the pay scale: Increase the federal minimum wage, which has been stuck at $7.25 an hour since 2009.

Sometimes government is essential

Two years ago, President Obama was striding the beaches of New Jersey and spearheading the federal response to the damage wrought by Hurricane Sandy. Gov. Chris Christie was praising the president and Washington’s help for his battered state — much to the dismay of his fellow Republicans.

The Democrats’ secret weapon

Bill Clinton campaigned in Arkansas this week, focusing on college campuses and urging students to support candidates like Mark Pryor, one of the most endangered Democrats in the Senate. At each stop, staffers scurried through the crowds, gathering email addresses and cellphone numbers that could be used to mobilize voters on Election Day.

Has the trap already been set?

Tony Blinken, President Obama’s deputy national security adviser, was outlining administration policy in the Middle East. “We’re not going to fall into their trap of sending hundreds of thousands of Americans back,” he told Fox News. “That’s exactly what they want us to do. They want to bog us down.”

That’s just the way it works

Suddenly, Kansas is the center of the political universe. Sen. Pat Roberts, a three-term Republican, is trailing an independent challenger, Greg Orman, in the polls. A Roberts defeat could jeopardize Republican hopes for gaining a majority in the Senate.

A tale of two cities

This is a tale of two cities. Murrieta, in southern California, attracted a lot of TV cameras last month when protesters blocked three buses carrying illegal immigrants to a processing center.

Freedom from fear

Karina Velasco paid her way through college by cleaning office buildings in downtown Washington for five hours every evening. She did her schoolwork after getting home at midnight, and is on track to receive her degree in social work next spring.

What would Jesus say?

Conservatives are quick to embrace religious figures who agree with them on issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, and the right of business owners to deny contraception coverage to their employees.

One small blow against gridlock

There’s nothing new about politicians using their offices to enhance their power. The word “gerrymander” was coined in 1812 after Massachusetts Gov. Elbridge Gerry signed a bill creating a legislative district that resembled a salamander.

Facing facts on immigration

Rupert Murdoch and Sheldon Adelson are both staunch Republicans. Both are also very practical businessmen — Murdoch owns media companies; Adelson, casinos. They became billionaires by dealing with reality, with hard-learned facts — not soft-headed illusions.