Editorial: A US-China agreement could signal new global cooperation in battling climate change

The United States’ relationship with China remains fraught largely due to the latter’s treatment of Hong Kong, its human rights abuses in the Xinjiang province, intellectual property theft and more. Nevertheless, President Joe Biden’s climate envoy, John Kerry, visited China to eke out an agreement to reduce carbon emissions, setting aside the countries’ differences on a critical issue at a critical moment.

Commentary: Tax the rich? Here’s what Biden forgot

President Joe Biden proposes to impose steep new taxes on high earnings and lucrative investments to help pay for expanded child care and other social programs. But if he’s serious about requiring wealthy Americans to pay more, he missed one of the most obvious places to start.

Editorial: Up in smoke: Good riddance to flavored menthol cigarettes

The Food and Drug Administration is set to ban the manufacture and sale of menthol-flavored cigarettes, the only remaining flavored cigarette still legally allowed. To borrow from an unintentionally grim advertising tagline used by the leading menthol brand, the move makes us alive with pleasure.

Commentary: Want to prevent the next pandemic? We’ll need a more powerful World Health Organization

Only a handful of places — including Taiwan, Vietnam and New Zealand — acted in time to contain the coronavirus last year, causing the world to spend trillions of dollars fighting an infection that has led to the deaths of more than 3 million people so far. The World Health Organization shoulders some of the blame. At the least, it should have declared COVID-19 a pandemic weeks sooner than March 11, 2020, which would have underlined the urgency of a global response.

Ramesh Ponnuru: Republicans wish Liz Cheney would keep quiet

Liz Cheney, the Republican congresswoman from Wyoming, is likely to be dumped as chairman of the party’s House conference. That’s not because she recognized in public that President Joe Biden won the legal votes to be president. It’s not because she voted to impeach President Donald Trump over his campaign to keep power even though he had lost. After all, she won a vote to keep her position not long after the impeachment. She’s on her way out the door because, in the weeks after she prevailed, she refused to stop talking about Trump’s lies and the riot they caused at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Editorial: North Korea economic crisis opening a lane for diplomacy, denuclearization

In his first congressional address last week, Mr. Biden said the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea posed a “serious threat to America’s security and world security” and promised to respond through “diplomacy and stern deterrence.” His administration has also completed a review of the U.S.’s North Korea policy. Mr. Biden is likely to steer between Barack Obama’s “strategic patience” and Donald Trump’s top-level summitry in dealing with the North Korean nuclear challenge.

Editorial: Worse than the crime: Gov. Cuomo’s obfuscation of nursing home death numbers looks more egregious by the day

We never blamed Gov. Andrew Cuomo for COVID-19’s death toll in New York. The virus has claimed more than 50,000 lives, including what we now know to be more than 15,500 deaths among nursing home residents. We accepted and accept Cuomo aides’ insistence that a March 25, 2020, executive order requiring nursing homes to accept new or returning residents regardless of whether they were COVID-19-positive — was the well-intentioned act of a governor desperate to keep hospitals from being overwhelmed by the virus’s surge, as opposed to something nefarious.

Commentary: Revamping the Social Security Administration: Small changes would make a big impact

With the change in presidential administrations, some are demanding that President Joe Biden fire the current commissioner, Andrew Saul, of the Social Security Administration (SSA), appointed by President Donald Trump. Under current law, Saul may stay in office through the end of his term (another four years), although a recent Supreme Court decision does put the law around independent agencies into constitutional question. Legal and political issues aside, what is, as a matter of good public policy, the correct governance and political structure for this massive, critical federal agency, with considerable decision-making authority and policy responsibility?

Jay Ambrose: The first 100 days are now gone, but not the crisis

Let’s see, he has already spent $1.9 trillion, plans to spend another $4.1 trillion and pretty soon we are talking about real money. On hearing President Joe Biden outline his monetary and other grandiose ambitions in a speech before a miniaturized, virus-wary Congress, Republican Sen. Mitt Romney thought his moolah mutters nothing less than foolish, saying in a New York Times quote, “Maybe if he were younger, I’d say his dad needs to take away his credit card.”

Editorial: Biden’s plans are ambitious but risky

In his speech to Congress, President Joe Biden declared his ambitions for a country on its way back from the COVID-19 pandemic. “Now, after just 100 days, I can report to the nation: America is on the move again,” he said. “Turning peril into possibility. Crisis into opportunity. Setback into strength.”