Daily Digest - November 14: It's Not the Fall That Gets You

Nov 14, 2012Tim Price

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Why We Should Go Over the Fiscal Cliff (Time)

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Why We Should Go Over the Fiscal Cliff (Time)

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Mark Schmitt argues that despite the scary connotations of calling something the "fiscal cliff," we shouldn't be afraid to take the plunge, since we're not exactly standing high atop the peaks of rational fiscal policy right now.

Grand bargain is the wrong solution (WaPo)

Katrina vanden Heuvel writes that voters expressed their policy preferences at the ballot box last Tuesday, and when they backed a government that would challenge powerful interests, they didn't think that would include the best interests of the American people.

Progressives get ready to push the president (Salon)

Alex Seitz-Wald notes that progressives who worked to reelect Barack Obama by a surprisingly decisive margin last week are now preparing to go all out to defeat him if he offers up Social Security and Medicare as a sacrifice to the Beltway gods of Seriousness.

The End of the Pledge: How Democrats Can Finally Beat Grover Norquist (The Atlantic)

Republicans treat Grover Norquist's pledge to never raise taxes under any circumstances as their very own Green Lantern oath, but Derek Thompson thinks they might view a Romney-esque deduction cap as a forgivable, eating-meat-on-Fridays kind of sin.

The economy (probably) can't survive a short dive into austerity crisis (WaPo)

Neil Irwin warns that while the full effects of the fiscal cliff take some time to kick in, it also presents short-term risks if the markets panic. That could throw a bucket of cold water on negotiators, but if we lapse into recession, voters might switch to tar and feathers.

University of Hard Knocks (Prospect)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal writes that despite a few good job reports, recent college graduates are still at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to finding jobs that will put them on a career path -- unless "barista" is their one true calling in life.

Alleging a New Wave of Retaliation, Walmart Warehouse Workers Will Strike a Day Early (The Nation)

Josh Eidelson checks in with the Walmart employees who are launching another round of strikes today to secure better working conditions. Walmart insists it's all just a publicity stunt, which must be why it's firing supporters and holding propaganda meetings.

On the New Shopping List: Milk, Bread, Eggs and a Mortgage (NYT)

Stephanie Clifford and Jessica Silver-Greenberg report that big-box stores like Walmart and Home Depot are branching out into financial products for consumers turned away by banks. But will their debt collectors be taught to greet everyone with a smile?

This Week in Poverty: Janitors in the Queen City (The Nation)

Greg Kaufmann writes that Cincinnati is home to several Fortune 1000 companies and lots and lots of underpaid workers, including the city's janitors, who have decided there's only so much garbage even they can put up with in their contract negotiations.

Charity's Role in America, and Its Limits (NYT)

Eduardo Porter writes that despite the impressive generosity on display in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, we need to ask ourselves whether we can afford tax breaks for someone to get his name on a wall at Harvard when the poor are struggling to get by.

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Daily Digest - November 13: The Debts We Owe

Nov 13, 2012Tim Price

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The President's Opening Bid on a Grand Bargain: Aim High (Robert Reich)

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The President's Opening Bid on a Grand Bargain: Aim High (Robert Reich)

Reich argues that if President Obama wants to capitalize on his newfound leverage in the fiscal negotiations, he needs to make an ambitious push for top earners to pay more, not just a humble request to pretend the Bush administration never happened.

Hawks and Hypocrites (NYT)

Paul Krugman argues that deficit hawks have proven consistently wrong since their rise to power in 2010, and now that their thinly veiled effort to dismantle the safety net has gotten them what they claimed to want, they're even wrong about what's wrong with that.

It's not a fiscal cliff -- it's an austerity crisis. (WaPo)

Suzy Khimm notes that media coverage of the fiscal cliff tends to allude to the threat of an exploding deficit when the real problem is that our deficit is about to get too small too fast. But this suits policymakers whose solution is to jump off a slightly lower cliff instead.

Sweet Forgiveness (Boston Review)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal explains how soaring household debt and increased pressure on borrowers could be causing a prolonged recession and why the key to ending the slump is debt forgiveness, not more debt-shaming. #sorryricksantelli

Occupy Wall Street Activists Buy Up Debt to Abolish It (The Nation)

Allison Kilkenny reports on how the Occupy coalition Strike Debt plans to raise $50,000 to buy up about $1 million in debt and wipe the slates clean. The only obstacle may be the banks, who want to make sure homeowners rue the day they borrowed from them.

Yes We Can, We Did, and Now Obama's Second Term Is Our Responsibility (Truthdig)

Robert Scheer argues that that with the election behind us, it's time for progressives who supported Barack Obama as the lesser of two evils to start pushing for an evil-free second term, which should be easier now that the devil on his shoulder has gone Galt.

Labor Mortgages Future on Obama (Jacobin)

Mike Elk writes that after labor unions flexed some considerable muscle to help President Obama win a second term, they're hoping the debt he owes them is big enough that the strain of lifting a finger on their behalf won't feel so great over the next four years.

In need of help (The Economist)

Poverty in America is at its worst since before LBJ's Great Society, but according to the two presidential campaigns that just concluded, the only economic categories in the U.S. are the rich, the middle class, and those on the waiting list for one of those groups.

Land of the "Free Stuff," Home of the Brave (Prospect)

Paul Waldman notes that after much painful soul-searching, conservatives have finally decided why Republicans lost their bid for the White House last week. It's because the American people are a bunch of spoiled, greedy, lazy jerks who... er... hate America.

The GOP Civil War Is Now a Class War (Atlantic Wire)

Elspeth Reeve writes that as the Republican Party tries to take stock after the wake of its loss, divisions are emerging between the party elites who blame the rubes for getting too caught up in the act and the grassroots who blame the elites for, you know, elitism.

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Daily Digest - November 9: Dealer's Choice

Nov 9, 2012Tim Price

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Let's Not Make a Deal (NYT)

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Let's Not Make a Deal (NYT)

Paul Krugman argues that after a decisive victory, President Obama shouldn't give in to the House GOP's "heads we win, tails you lose" strategy on the fiscal cliff and fall back into the role of economic hostage negotiator as he's done so many times before.

The coming debt battle (Salon)

James K. Galbraith writes that despite growing Beltway pressure to slash Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, they're programs that can always meet their demands as long as we want them to, meaning the only thing bankrupt is their opponents' arguments.

Climate change, not the national debt, is the legacy we should care about (Guardian)

Dean Baker argues that deficit hawks who claim they're just trying to save their grandchildren from the terrible burden of paying interest on government debt might want to step back and look at some bigger questions, like whether Earth will be habitable for them.

Debt Ceiling Complicates a Tax Shift (NYT)

Annie Lowrey notes that while President Obama has leverage in the upcoming fiscal cliff fight thanks to the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, congressional Republicans still have a card up their sleeve, and as usual, it's labeled "Threaten to Destroy Our Credit Rating."

What do voters really think about the economy? Three lessons from exit polls (WaPo)

Neil Irwin writes that exit polls reflect an electorate that believes Obama is still trying to clean up George W. Bush's mess and isn't particularly concerned about the size of the deficit, but would really like to be earning enough money to pay for gas and groceries.

Obama's Second Chance to Be Historic (Bloomberg)

David Kennedy argues that after shattering America's biggest racial barrier, Obama's next task is to convince the GOP to stop gaming a system designed to ensure cooperation in order to achieve the opposite. Then he can challenge Usain Bolt to a foot race.

The You're-on-Your-Own Society (The Nation)

Katha Pollitt writes that the election results suggest that Americans, whether they were convinced by the president or by Hurricane Sandy, have rejected the right-wing notion that the worst burden we can suffer is an obligation to help relieve someone else's.

The Importance of Elizabeth Warren (NYT)

Simon Johnson writes that having Elizabeth Warren headed for the Senate is great news not just for progressives but for anyone who favors transparency and accountability for banks, even if they need to pretend to hate her because of the D next to her name.

Organized labor delivered for the Dems, but what will it get in return? (Washington Monthly)

Kathleen Geier notes that labor unions formed a crucial part of Obama's winning coalition and provided him with all-important ground troops, but with the House in the GOP's hands, the best he may have to offer them in exchange for their votes is his vetoes.

Dave Siegel Hasn't Fired Anyone Yet (Businessweek)

Time-share company owner Dave Siegel was just one of the many CEOs who threatened their employees with vague but grave consequences if President Obama were to be reelected, and so far, those consequences include an across-the-board raise.

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Daily Digest - November 8: Sharp Turn Ahead

Nov 8, 2012Tim Price

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Obama's Next Economy (Robert Reich)

President Obama's first honeymoon period was more of a brief working vacation, and he already faces some tough choices after winning reelection. Robert Reich argues that in his approach to the economic debate, he should choose progressivism.

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Obama's Next Economy (Robert Reich)

President Obama's first honeymoon period was more of a brief working vacation, and he already faces some tough choices after winning reelection. Robert Reich argues that in his approach to the economic debate, he should choose progressivism.

Back to Work, Obama Is Greeted by Looming Fiscal Crisis (NYT)

Jackie Calmes and Peter Baker note that the White House and Congress traded the traditional passive aggressive nods toward cooperation yesterday, but while Obama figures out how to work with the GOP, he also needs to decide who will be working for him.

How the Election Reset the Fiscal Cliff Debate (TNR)

Jonathan Cohn writes that candidate Obama wasn't shy about wanting to raise taxes on the wealthy, and voters turned out to be more than okay with that. That's why John Boehner's already repositioning, even if his opening bid is "Do what we want anyway?"

From Coast-to-Coast, Voters Reject Anti-Tax Hysteria (Think Progress)

Pat Garofalo notes that a tax-friendly electorate turned out to the polls across the country on Tuesday, rejecting many anti-tax ballot measures and reporting a widespread belief that taxes need to be higher. In related news, Grover Norquist's head has exploded.

Obamacare stands. Now states need to make it work. (WaPo)

Sarah Kliff writes that Obama's victory means the Affordable Care Act will take full effect, helping to secure its place as part of the social safety net. The question is whether the states responsible for implementing it want to do this the easy way or the hard way.

Thank You, Republican Misogynists, for Handing Democrats Crucial Victories (The Nation)

NND Editor Bryce Covert writes that Tuesday was a bad night for creepy dudes with fringe theories about rape, who encouraged women who were already concerned about the economy to vote for candidates whose interests wouldn't wander too far afield.

Elizabeth the Great: Warren's Sweet Victory in Massachusetts (Daily Beast)

When bankers want to scare each other, they tell Elizabeth Warren stories. Now Daniel Gross talks to experts including Roosevelt Institute Fellows Rob Johnson and Mike Konczal about the populism and policy expertise that could make her a senatorial powerhouse.

The second worst trade of 2012? Wall Street's terrible presidential bet (Quartz)

Matt Phillips notes that, with all due respect to the incompetence of the London Whale, the financial industry went awfully long on Mitt Romney, contributing heavily to the Republican's presidential campaign. At least they weren't trading Virgil Goode derivatives.

Little to Show for Cash Flood by Big Donors (NYT)

Nicholas Confessore and Jess Bidgood point out that megadonors' massive spending on the 2012 election turned out to be a more environmentally conscious method of burning a huge pile of cash, suggesting that money can't buy everything -- though it helps.

Unraveling secret money in California (WaPo)

Harold Meyerson writes that with $213 million in anonymous outside spending having gone into the 2012 races, an investigation of one shady group's finances has revealed a Russian nesting doll of 501(c)(4)s designed to hide donors' identities from prying eyes.

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Daily Digest - November 7: A Landslide Victory for Schadenfreude

Nov 7, 2012Tim Price

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Obama Beats Back the Right-Wing Tide (MoJo)

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Obama Beats Back the Right-Wing Tide (MoJo)

David Corn writes that after the ugly midterms, President Obama decided the only way to win reelection with the highest unemployment rate since FDR was to make it a clear ideological choice rather than a referendum. Luckily, Romney volunteered to help him.

Obama's victory should settle a bitter argument (WaPo)

E.J. Dionne argues that unlike Romney, who ran on a platform to be named later, Obama was clear with voters that he believed the government should regulate the economy and level the playing field. In other words, we are all Kenyan anti-colonialists now.

How Obama Won Ohio (TNR)

Alec MacGillis writes that Obama's strength in Ohio, which helped put him over the top last night, stemmed from a belief among working class voters that the president had looked out for people like them while the GOP ticket was barely the same species.

Fresh from reelection, president finds himself on edge of 'fiscal cliff' (WaPo)

Now that Obama's won the booby prize of working with Congress for four more years, Lori Montgomery and Zachary Goldfarb note that his first task is reaching a fiscal cliff deal with Republicans who will demand entitlement cuts. What can they do to him if he says no?

Elizabeth Warren, from Professor to Gadfly to Senator (Bloomberg)

Deborah Solomon congratulates Wall Street on the brilliant strategy of blocking Elizabeth Warren at the CFPB so that she could go on to win a Senate seat and a likely position on the Banking Committee, where she can keep tormenting them to the end of her days.

Get What You Pay For? Not Always (NYT)

Eduardo Porter writes that in the coming days, businesses and their shareholders may have to do some soul-searching about whether it was really worth spending $2 billion to unsuccessfully buy an election while damaging their own reputations in the process.

The Most Expensive Election Ever: ...1896? (The Atlantic)

Matthew O'Brien notes that as a share of GDP, this year's campaign spending had nothing on the money brought to bear against William Jennings Bryan and his pro-silver platform. The GOP still hates Silver, but now that's just some guy who's good at math.

After Sandy, disaster response needs not less government, but better (Guardian)

Sarah Jaffe argues that while Barack Obama's Sandy response has outclassed Bush's handling of Katrina, it's become obvious to people on the ground that once the government shows up to help, it would be nice to have it be well-funded and effective, too.

The Two Key Investments to Build Back Better Post-Sandy (HuffPo)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Susan Crawford writes that disruptions caused by Sandy demonstrate that we must invest in our communications infrastructure so that resources like the Internet are available in times of crisis as well as for basic funny gif research.

Wall Street Offers a Second Career for Former Politicians (NYT)

Steven Davidoff notes that Wall Street offers many lucrative opportunities to failed politicians, whether it's delivering speeches or working the global cocktail circuit. Will Mitt decide that sometimes you really do want to go where everybody knows your name?

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Daily Digest - November 6: The Poll to End All Polls

Nov 6, 2012Tim Price

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FDR and the fight to defend our freedom (WaPo)

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FDR and the fight to defend our freedom (WaPo)

Katrina vanden Heuvel contrasts FDR's call for freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear with the modern GOP's vision of freedom, which involves a wealthy CEO and a bishop with an assault rifle donating to a Super PAC.

Obama Mirror Image of Hoover With Lessons From 1930s (Bloomberg)

Steve Matthews and Caroline Salas Gage write that President Obama is hoping he's learned to avoid Herbert Hoover's mistakes while the Romney campaign insists he's repeating them. It's Who's Hoover, the game of presidential politics where everyone loses.

The Next President Is Lucky (Slate)

Matthew Yglesias notes that, in contrast to the pile of flaming wreckage Barack Obama inherited, whoever takes office on January 20th is likely to preside over a relative healthy, stable recovery. What's that like? We've all heard rumors of it, from the Time Before.

On Election Eve, Women Voters Break Strongly for Obama (The Nation)

NND Editor Bryce Covert writes that the gender gap is alive and well thanks to women's support for the safety net, but this year it's also driven by the GOP attacking contraception and defining more categories of rape than Baskin Robbins has ice cream flavors.

Californians Started the Tax Revolt 34 Years Ago. Will They End It Today? (MoJo)

Kevin Drum notes that back in 1978, Jerry Brown was governor of California and the state's residents voted to cut and cap property taxes and require a super-majority for future increases. Today, Jerry Brown's still governor, but voters are giving themselves a do-over.

Are Low-Income Programs Enlarging the Nation's Long-Term Fiscal Problem? (CBPP)

Robert Greenstein and Richard Kogan run the numbers to determine whether paying for people's food stamps and other forms of aid to the poor is actually bankrupting the nation. The short answer: No. The longer answer: No, really.

Yet another CEO pushes workers to back Romney (MSNBC)

With Americans across the country headed to the polls, Saddle Creek Corporation President Cliff Otto has become the latest patriotic executive willing to take time from his busy schedule to remind employees to fulfill their civic duty by voting Republican, or else.

Wall Street Failed to Crush the Democrats. Now What? (TNR)

Molly Redden notes that Wall Street has failed to hedge its bets in this election and now faces the prospect of another four years trying to work with the guy it just spent millions to defeat. But if throwing money at a problem fails, do bankers have a plan B?

The Big Swipe (NYT)

Nancy Folbre argues that Dodd-Frank's regulations on credit card swipe fees have been a boon to merchants and consumers, unless you listen to the totally unbiased claims of the credit card companies -- or the Republicans who want to dismantle the law.

Power to the People (Jacobin)

Sarah Jaffe poses a metaphysical question to critics who argued the Occupy movement was a flash in the pan: If Occupy is dead, who's that walking around Red Hook handing out supplies to hurricane victims while other organizations twiddle their thumbs?

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Daily Digest - November 5: The Good Kind of Unemployment

Nov 5, 2012Tim Price

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Unemployment Ticks Up -- And That's a Good Thing (Prospect)

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Unemployment Ticks Up -- And That's a Good Thing (Prospect)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal explains that the slight increase in unemployment in the latest jobs report is an indication that more people are starting to believe the economy is growing enough that there just might be enough room in it for them.

Sandy Versus Katrina (NYT)

Paul Krugman notes that the difference between the response to the current disaster and the Bush administration's failure in New Orleans shows that federal aid works better when led by someone who doesn't think effective government is an oxymoron.

Hurricane Sandy and the Myth of the Big Government-vs.-Small Government Debate (Rolling Stone)

Matt Taibbi writes that the Sandy response demonstrates the hypocrisy of those who complain about government money going to parasites until there's an emergency, like a hurricane endangering their lives or an economic collapse endangering their bonuses.

Massive Surge of Republican Money in Last Ditch Effort to Sink Obama (AlterNet)

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Tom Ferguson, Paul Jorgensen, and Jie Chen warn that conservative groups are trying to recreate the 2000 election by inundating swing states with ad buys in the closing days until voters give in from sheer exhaustion.

Attacks on Labor Put Unions on the Defensive in Election 2012 (The Nation)

Josh Eidelson writes that while President Obama hasn't exactly been a working class champion during his first term, union leaders feel it's time to set aside hopes for a wave of pro-labor legislation and focus on not being totally obliterated over the next four years.

The Gilded Age vs. the 21st century (WaPo)

E.J. Dionne argues this election began with the debt ceiling showdown, when Obama finally realized there was no working with radicalized Republicans. Now voters must decide whether the GOP deserves a negotiating partner who shares its nostalgia for the 1890s.

Businessmen as Presidents: A Historical Circle (NYT)

Robert Shiller notes that Americans have been reluctant to elect businessmen since Hoover, but many are drawn to Romney by the fear that the U.S. is in decline and the hope that they could be like him if they work hard or discover some buried pirate treasure.

Does Unemployment Make People More Likely to Vote? (Monkey Cage)

Matthew Incantalupo finds that while voters who lose their jobs while unemployment is low tend to be dispirited come Election Day, those who lose their jobs where unemployment is high tend to turn out, perhaps to invite politicians to share the experience.

One Safety Net That Needs to Shrink (NYT)

Gretchen Morgenson writes that there are a select group of moochers who have become entitled to government largesse under the Obama administration's watch without taking any steps to better themselves. She speaks, of course, of clearinghouses.

Meet the Most Indebted Man in the World (The Atlantic)

Matthew O'Brien talks to Frank Partnoy about the curious case of French trader Jérôme Kerviel, who owes his former employer $6.3 billion for the fraudulent deals he made, and what it will take for banks to keep an eye on employees before a fortune goes missing.

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Daily Digest - November 2: Battlefield Earth

Nov 2, 2012Tim Price

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America's Global Election (Project Syndicate)

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America's Global Election (Project Syndicate)

Roosevelt Institute Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz argues that the rest of the world has good reason to hope Barack Obama wins reelection: America serves as a model for other nations, but Mitt Romney's version is likely to be more of a cautionary tale.

A Slow but Steady Climb to Prosperity (WSJ)

Alan S. Blinder writes that there are two basic facts shaping the election: After four years, the economy still stinks, but it's also getting better, slowly but surely. Republicans deny that the second part is true, and if they control the levers of policy, it won't be.

Being Nice to Business Has Nothing to Do With Economic Growth (Slate)

Matthew Yglesias notes that critics who argue that Obama can't effectively guide the economy without buttering up business leaders should remember that said leaders hated FDR's guts throughout his presidency, and he did pretty okay without them.

Little Federal Help for the Long-Term Unemployed (NYT)

Annie Lowrey and Catherine Rampell write that addressing long-term joblessness remains one of our biggest economic challenges, and while many policymakers agree in principle, they seem to have forgotten that it's their job to do something about it.

Why Should Government Respond Differently to Natural vs. Economic Disasters? (Prospect)

David Callahan notes that after Hurricane Sandy, nearly everyone agrees that it's the government's duty to deliver aid to those in need. But unlike the victims of economic disasters, we don't blame the survivors for growing too dependent on the rescue boats.

Get ready for the phony debt fight (Salon)

Dean Baker writes that no matter who wins the election, we're about to see a push for deficit reduction led by the CEOs behind the Campaign to Fix the Debt, who coincidentally don't think it's a good idea to do that by raising more tax revenue from themselves.

Nonpartisan Tax Report Withdrawn After G.O.P. Protest (NYT)

Jonathan Weisman reports that the GOP pressured the Congressional Research Service into withdrawing a report that showed no link between top tax rates and economic growth. The naked emperor probably had that annoying kid thrown in a dungeon, too.

#TalkPoverty: The Obama Campaign Responds (The Nation)

Greg Kaufmann has asked the presidential candidates to explain how they plan to address child poverty, and the Obama campaign has taken him up on the challenge. Meanwhile, the Romney campaign says it won't be participating. Points for honesty!

How will the election change the Fed? (MoneyWatch)

Mark Thoma thinks we can expect a more hawkish replacement for the Bernank if Mitt Romney is elected, but there won't be much change in policy due to a) resistance from other Fed members b) not wanting to be the guy who destroyed the economy.

'Too Big to Fail' Remains Very Real (NYT)

Simon Johnson notes that while financial sector insiders insist that recent regulation has ended the problem of "too big to fail" (even though they hate it), as far as the markets are concerned, their financial institutions remain both very big and full of fail.

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Daily Digest - November 1: Conservative Policy Offers No Relief

Nov 1, 2012Tim Price

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Romney's Public Disservice (The Nation)

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Romney's Public Disservice (The Nation)

Katrina vanden Heuvel notes that while public workers have been saving lives in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Mitt Romney claims we'd be better off if we privatized FEMA. But what if the 1% wind up like movie stars arguing over who has the nicest trailer?

Did recession-era austerity make Frankenstorm worse? (MSNBC)

Ned Resnikoff writes that years of budget cuts and financial mismanagement at the MTA and New York City hospitals left them ill-prepared to cope with the storm of the century. Knowing it's going to rain doesn't help much when you can't afford an umbrella.

For Builders, the Storm Is Good for Business (NYT)

Catherine Rampell and Shaila Dewan report that there's a silver lining to Sandy's devastation: the construction industry will have to start hiring more workers to rebuild everything. See also the upcoming Romney policy paper, "On the Benefits of Dynamite."

Obama vs. Hoover (NYT)

Robert S. McElvaine writes that Herbert Hoover is Barack Obama's closest presidential counterpart in terms of the economic crises they faced, but while Obama's policy response has left many wondering if he did too little, Hoover's removed any doubt.

Romney would be a backward step (FT)

Martin Wolf argues that this election comes down to a choice between an incumbent who lacks the bold vision needed to surmount our economic challenges and an opponent who has borrowed George W. Bush's eyes like that scene in Minority Report.

Money Talks in Many Ways: Election-Season Reflections on How the Ruling Class Rules (Truthout)

Paul Street notes that the influence of the rich goes beyond buying politicians through campaign donations. Everything from corporate lobbying to mass media control allows them to set the boundaries of debate like parents child-proofing their homes.

Mortgage Price-Gouging Courtesy of the Bailout (ProPublica)

Jesse Eisinger points out that it's a great time to be JPMorgan and Wells Fargo, since regulators have let them buy out smaller mortgage lenders, allowing them to charge whatever they want. There's more genuine competition in a Coke/Pepsi taste test.

How Elizabeth Warren saved taxpayers $1 billion (Salon)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Matt Stoller explains how Elizabeth Warren's work on the TARP Congressional Oversight Panel forced the Treasury Department to shape up, demonstrating that public servants can save taxpayers money by being good at their jobs.

A Tax Refund That Could Help Congress Over Cliff (Bloomberg)

Peter Orszag, erstwhile speaker at the Hamptons Institute and the Next American Economy breakfast series, argues that a universal tax refund would give policymakers more rope to rappel down the fiscal cliff if they can't strike a deal on the Bush tax cuts.

'Tax Reform' Is Republicanese for 'Massive Tax Cuts for the Rich' (The Atlantic)

Matthew O'Brien writes that, like the old urban legend about Inuit tribes having hundreds of words for snow, "broadening the base and lowering the rates" is shaping up to be another of the GOP's vast lexicon of coded terms for cutting taxes for the rich.

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Daily Digest - October 31: GOP Takes the Budget By Storm

Oct 31, 2012

Sandy’s Lesson for the Voters: Government Matters (TNR)

The GOP may be fond of a government that can drown in a bathtub, but as the East Coast found out this weekend, without infrastructure to keep storms at bay and a big enough disaster response funded by the federal government, there are much larger bodies of water to worry about.

Sandy’s Lesson for the Voters: Government Matters (TNR)

The GOP may be fond of a government that can drown in a bathtub, but as the East Coast found out this weekend, without infrastructure to keep storms at bay and a big enough disaster response funded by the federal government, there are much larger bodies of water to worry about.

Romney would pass the buck on disasters (WaPo)

Yet as Eugene Robinson points out, Romney's plan for disaster relief looks a lot like his other plans: 1. Hand the program back over the states while slashing funding, 2. ???, 3. Safety and prosperity.

Obama cuts FEMA funding by 3 percent. Romney-Ryan cuts it by 40 percent. Or more. Or less. (WaPo)

Suzy Khimm helps fill in some of those question marks by comparing Romney's plan to (potentially) slash FEMA to Obama's plan to give it a close shave.

How Economic Inequality Makes Hurricanes More Deadly (Think Progress)

No matter how much we spend on the rescue and clean up, we're going to have to lay out bigger and bigger sums of money as our dangerous income inequality becomes literally life threatening.

Warfare waged by the upper class (WaPo)

The 1% is pissed and has decided to revolt against a country that bailed it out and then handed it most of the income gains in the post-recession economy. Solidarity, amirite?

Fix the Debt, Destroy the Recovery (TAP)

Robert Kuttner warns against the side effects of listening to the austerity lobby: decreased purchasing power, increased corporate profits, and economic drowsiness. If pain persists, see your doctor, if you can afford the visit.

Documents Found in Meth House Bare Inner Workings of Dark Money Group (ProPublica)

It's the ultimate episode of hoarders, except that they were hoarding secrets about political spending.

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