At a time when Greece and much of the rest of Europe's southern tier — Italy, Spain, and Portugal — are either near bankruptcy or flirting with insolvency, the danger of a worldwide economic crash is once again real.

What is truly scary is that voting to raise the debt ceiling, which even Ronald Reagan did 17 times, only lessens the chance of an international meltdown in the future. Failing to increase it all but guarantees financial calamity — first for America, then for the world.


SPEAK, SENATOR BROWN

The debt-ceiling crisis raises an interesting question for Massachusetts voters. What does Republican incumbent Scott Brown have to say about all of this?

Let's consider an example from elsewhere in New England. So-called moderate Olympia Snowe of Maine, another Republican facing re-election, has long favored a hair-brained balanced-budget amendment, but she wants to preserve Medicare and Social Security.

Snowe's position may be imperfect, but at least she has one — and it is superior to many of the more foolish ideas out there.

What about Brown? He styles himself a leader, but on the big issues he seems to duck a front-line position, making his mind up at the last moment.

Stop calculating, Senator. Speak up. It's time to be counted.


THE BOSTON FOUNDATION

Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo deserves applause for the courage to tackle municipal health-care reform. Governor Deval Patrick earned thanks for brokering a sensible compromise. But the effort's unsung hero is the Boston Foundation. As a result of the foundation's number crunching, vital services such as local libraries and police and fire protection will be maintained while city and town workers continue to enjoy adequate health care. Once again, the foundation has demonstrated that good government equals smart thinking.

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