Daily Digest - June 5: Visiting the Bad Job Fair

Jun 5, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Fed’s Raskin Bemoans Quality of New Jobs (WSJ)

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Fed’s Raskin Bemoans Quality of New Jobs (WSJ)

Eric Morath and Victoria McGrane report that Federal Reserve Governor Sarah Bloom Raskin, a panelist at yesterday's Roosevelt Institute conference, said she became concerned about the kinds of jobs being created when she attended a job fair. The disconnect she's seeing is one where the jobs don't require the skills and education of the unemployed.

Rich Countries Are Creating More Jobs By Creating Worse Jobs (The Atlantic)

Tim Fernholz says that bad jobs (as measured by wages, benefits, and hours worked) make up the bulk of the jobs being created in advanced economies internationally. No surprise, the lack of good jobs is leading to a shrinking middle class.

White House Threatens to Veto Spending Plans Unless Broader Budget Deal Reached (WaPo)

Lori Montgomery writes that unless the House comes up with a budget plan that includes eliminating sequestration and sufficient stimulus to kick-start the economy, the administration is threatening to veto every single spending bill that crosses the president's desk.

AIG, Prudential Financial, and GE Capital Receive Preliminary Designation as "Systemically Important" Financial Institutions (Slate)

Matt Yglesias explains why these firms, which aren't really banks, should still be subject to higher scrutiny under Dodd-Frank. These companies hold bank risks, and are the reason regulating bank size isn't enough when we consider "Too Big To Fail."

Price-Gouging Cable Companies are our Latter-Day Robber Barons (The Guardian)

Heidi Moore accuses cable companies of creating an environment where a near-essential service is inaccessible to many households due to cost. Worse, no one in Washington is even trying to regulate this industry, allowing the oligopolies to set whatever prices they like.

From Lottery to Oligopoly in Wireless Spectrum (NYT)

Eduardo Porter suggests that as the F.C.C. auctions off the last chunk of the spectrum preferred by wireless companies, it should place limits on what companies can buy in order to encourage competition.

Detroit’s embarrassing new get-out-of-debt scheme (Salon)

Jillian Steinhauer writes that no government should have to sell off cultural artifacts to get out of debt, but the Emergency Manager of Detroit disagrees and is having the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts appraised. Would he suggest Greece slap a price tag on the Acropolis?

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Daily Digest - June 4: We Haven't Recovered Yet

Jun 4, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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We Must Not Accept This Economic 'New Normal' (The Guardian)

Senator Bernie Sanders refuses to accept this "recovery" as good enough. With so many Americans still suffering, he wants to see new jobs programs, corporate tax reform, and other steps to reduce the ever-growing wealth gap.

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We Must Not Accept This Economic 'New Normal' (The Guardian)

Senator Bernie Sanders refuses to accept this "recovery" as good enough. With so many Americans still suffering, he wants to see new jobs programs, corporate tax reform, and other steps to reduce the ever-growing wealth gap.

Four Trends in the Recovery, Two of Which You Don’t See Enough (On The Economy)

Jared Bernstein thinks the booming stock market is just one piece of the economic puzzle that only affects the wealthy. Statistics that have more bearing on middle-class households, like weekly earnings and median household income, aren't looking so good.

Student Loan Debt Is a Beast. Here Are Elizabeth Warren's, President Obama's, and the GOP's Plans to Fix It. (MoJo)

Erika Eichelberger, Maggie Severns, and Brett Brownell explain seven plans, four long-term and three short-term, to handle the question of student loan interest rates. One thing they don't mention: none of these plans have any effect on private loans.

  • Roosevelt Take: The Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network's policy report "A New Deal For Students" lays out concrete and innovative policy solutions from students to solve the student debt crisis.

How Did Work-Life Balance in the U.S. Get So Awful? (The Atlantic)

Derek Thompson examines why measures of leisure time in the U.S. are not so clear-cut: recently, educational achievement has come to determine your access to leisure. The more educated you are, the less time off you have.

E-Verify is Supposed to Stop Undocumented Employment. It Could Also Harm Legal Workers. (WaPo)

Timothy Lee is concerned for the people who get rejected by E-Verify despite authorization to work. While they have an appeals process, it is complex and time-consuming, and employers aren’t keeping them on the job, even though they are supposed to.

Surpluses Help, but Fiscal Woes for States Go On (NYT)

Michael Cooper and Mary Williams Wash write that while states are seeing budget surpluses, between pension plans, health care costs, and other recession cuts, those surpluses are practically already spent.

Frank Lautenberg, the Last of the New Deal Liberals (The Nation)

John Nichols's obituary of Senator Lautenberg emphasizes that he was the last senator to benefit from New Deal programs in his youth. The senator worked in the legacy of Roosevelt to the end, with such legislation as the "21st Century WPA Act.”

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Daily Digest - June 3: Tax Breaks for Every Percent

Jun 3, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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The tax break state (WaPo)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal breaks down how the different kinds of tax expenditures work based on income distribution, and explains how they affect current policy debates that revolve around infamous numbers like 47 percent and the 1 percent.

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The tax break state (WaPo)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal breaks down how the different kinds of tax expenditures work based on income distribution, and explains how they affect current policy debates that revolve around infamous numbers like 47 percent and the 1 percent.

Matriarchy, patriarchy and the masters of the universe (Reuters)

Chrystia Freeland reacts to Paul Tudor Jones's comment that women stop being successful investors or traders the moment they start breastfeeding. With female breadwinners in forty percent of U.S. households, she wonders if the plutocracy is not only patriarchal but oblivious to working women's achievements.

Affordable Care Act Could Be Good for Entrepreneurship (NYT)

Catherine Rampell writes that we can expect a significant jump in self-employment in 2014, thanks to the new health care exchanges. When it becomes possible to obtain affordable insurance without a traditional job, the definition of a "good job" can change.

Sorry, There's Been No Economic Recovery for Poor and Minority Households (MoJo)

Erika Eichelberger shows that wealth recovery has been heavily skewed towards the already-wealthy. As the housing market recovers, the households that haven't could be in even worse shape, as mortgage principal reductions look more and more out of reach.

Economic Storm Clouds Ahead (Robert Reich)

Robert Reich argues that we should stop listening to economic forecasters who say that everything is going just great. The current recovery is really only a recovery for corporate profits, and most of us are still facing tough times to come.

The High Cost of Unemployment (Slate)

Robert Shiller worries about the effect of unemployment on our nation's morale, because people don't respond well to sudden forced leisure instead of work. The concept of less work is nice, but not the current reality.

The Geezers Are All Right (NYT)

Paul Krugman is tired of listening to the deficit hawks claim that Social Security and Medicare are going to go bust, because it just isn't true, and worrying about funding benefits for 2035 takes the focus off today’s problems, like the jobs crisis.

Ending Corporate Tax Avoidance: Just the Debate I Asked For! (On The Economy)

Jared Bernstein looks at options to change how we tax multinationals, such as placing a minimum tax on foreign earnings or taxing based on where products are sold. Instead of endorsing one solution, he wants to keep talking so this issue can’t disappear.

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Daily Digest - May 31: Everyone Hates ISPs

May 31, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Americans are not happy with their Internet service providers (Marketplace)

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Americans are not happy with their Internet service providers (Marketplace)

Ben Johnson talks to Roosevelt Institute Fellow Susan Crawford about the latest American Consumer Satisfaction Index, which shows ISPs are dead last in keeping customers happy. With little to no competition, they'd rather put profits into dividends for shareholders.

From the Mouths of Babes (NYT)

Paul Krugman feels that the Republican Party's war against SNAP is worth getting angry about, because SNAP encourages economic growth by giving families more to spend. And since the program feeds hungry people, more cuts mean more empty stomachs.

The Real Numbers: Half of America in Poverty -- and It's Creeping Upward (AlterNet)

Paul Buchheit argues that while the Census Bureau reports 15 percent of Americans are living in poverty, with alternate measures it's more like 50 percent -- a number that should raise some eyebrows, especially as Congress allows cuts to poverty programs.

Man of the (rich) people (Salon)

Joan Walsh agrees with rising Republican star Sen. Ted Cruz: Mitt Romney lost the presidency with the words "47 percent." But she sees a disconnect between Cruz's words and the pro-1 percent policies he and other Republican "reformers" are endorsing.

After Running The Numbers Carefully There's No Evidence That High Debt Levels Cause Slow Growth (Slate)

Matt Yglesias explains why it's problematic that Reinhart and Rogoff took their research straight to the op-ed pages: the data shows it’s likely they were aware that they were jumping from correlation to policy suggestions without the necessary stop at causation.

Washington 'Spends' More on Tax Breaks Than on Medicare, Defense, or Social Security (The Atlantic)

Derek Thompson shows that tax expenditures designed to promote mortgages, employer-sponsored health care, investment, and various other consumer behaviors cost American taxpayers more than many programs that are frequent targets for budget cuts.

Losing Hope in Detroit (Bill Moyers)

Greg Kaufmann examines the kinds of programs affected by sequestration, with Focus: HOPE in Detroit as his example. Their job-training program is going to lose between 250 and 350 spots this year, which will hurt 250 to 350 people still seeking good jobs.

Fast Food Workers Striking in Seattle (The Nation)

Josh Eidelson looks at the fast food strikes that shut down three fast food restaurants in Seattle yesterday. These one-day strikes are an organizing tactic for a world that is increasingly hostile to organized labor, and they're looking more and more effective.

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Daily Digest - May 30: Your Cable Package is Free Speech

May 30, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Comcast and Verizon’s Phony Free-Speech Claim (Bloomberg)

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Comcast and Verizon’s Phony Free-Speech Claim (Bloomberg)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Susan Crawford knows that it's the cable and internet providers who are trying to limit speech through their control of what's available over their wires. Business decisions aren't free speech- especially when they limit fair competition.

Why the Shareholder Rescue Never Comes (ProPublica)

Jesse Eisinger explains why shareholders aren't going to solve Too Big to Fail. Shareholders want to see big risks and big returns- and as long as they can count on federal bailouts, that means they don't mind seeing big banks, either.

People Over Politicians: Spending Less on Elections Could Strengthen Unions (The Century Foundation)

Douglas Williams argues that unions are wasting money when they donate to campaigns, because even politicians who claim to be pro-labor work against them. Instead, they could invest in local organizing and actually achieve some change.

No cause for relief—austerity will indeed drag hard on the economy in 2013 and 2014 (Working Economics)

Josh Bivens thinks that other writers are too quick to assume that rising stock and housing prices and falling gas prices mean that austerity hasn't slowed our economy. With the job market remaining "dismal," he thinks the recovery hasn't even arrived.

More and more Americans are feeling the effects of the sequester (WaPo)

Brad Plumer looks at the results of a May ABC News/Washington Post poll, which shows that 37 percent of Americans say they've been impacted negatively by the sequester. That number can only grow as spending on vital services continues to shrink.

Children of the Great Collapse (TAP)

Jared Bernstein lays out how the stimulus helped bring children out of poverty, and how the end of the Recovery Act along with sequestration will put them right back in it. Nothing helps the country's long-term economic growth quite like cutting 50,000 spots in Head Start.

Why Can’t America Be Sweden? (NYT)

Tom Edsall examines the claim that Sweden's "cuddly capitalism" would not work in the United States, where our role as supposed innovation entrepreneurs requires a more cutthroat system. This sounds like an awfully convenient excuse to abandon those in need.

The Very Low Threshold For What Conservatives Consider “Reform” (Washington Monthly)

Ed Kilgore doesn't think that policy priorities are enough to differentiate conservative reformers. When the plan for "reform" is to cut taxes and reduce the social safety net, it's hard to see how conservative reformers can claim to support the poor -- or new ideas.

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Daily Digest - May 29: No CFPB Director For You

May 29, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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The GOP doesn’t oppose Richard Cordray. It opposes his whole agency. (WaPo)

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The GOP doesn’t oppose Richard Cordray. It opposes his whole agency. (WaPo)

Roosevelt Fellow Mike Konczal explains why Republican opposition to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is based on falsehoods. Unfortunately, filibusters mean that Republican temper tantrums about the power of the CFPB translate to blocking any director.

Did I get the money-and-politics debate all wrong? (WaPo)

Ezra Klein responds to critiques of his own pieces on money and politics, including Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Mark Schmitt's take, which he mostly agrees with. Unsurprisingly, spending lots of time fundraising doesn't make for better legislators.

Walmart Workers Launch First-Ever 'Prolonged Strikes' Today (The Nation)

Josh Eidelson reports on the strikes in Miami, Massachusetts, and the Bay Area, which are the first multi-day strikes again Walmart. Worker-activist Dominic Ware's biggest fear? That his son will have to work for Walmart too.

Beware Capitalist Tools (Robert Reich)

Robert Reich doesn't understand why Forbes writers would argue that it's a bad thing for government to condition market access on the social benefits we receive from corporations. Why wouldn't we want to tell corporations to put jobs here?

Central Banks Act With a New Boldness to Revitalize Economies (NYT)

Binyamin Appelbaum, Jack Ewing, Hiroko Tabuchi, and Landon Thomas Jr. note that once-cautious central banks have become more aggressive in recent years, taking action to get their countries' economies moving while their governments are stuck on austerity.

When Sequestration Becomes Devastation (Bloomberg)

Evan Soltas wants us to look ahead to sequestration’s effect on the 2014 budget, because if we think things are bad today then we haven't seen anything yet. Next year’s cuts aren’t automatic -- the House gets to decide where to cut deeper.

Like a Bad Cough: Why Austerity Economics Lingers (HuffPo)

Steven Conn thinks the reason we can't get past austerity economics is that we're treating a set of moral propositions about wealth, self-denial, and work as hard science. But when something doesn't work in chemistry, the chemists start a new experiment.

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Daily Digest - May 28: Global Economy, Global Loopholes

May 28, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Globalisation isn't just about profits. It's about taxes too (The Guardian)

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Globalisation isn't just about profits. It's about taxes too (The Guardian)

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Joseph Stiglitz argues that in today's global economy, all countries suffer when major corporations take advantage of tax loopholes, and that reform is needed so that corporations pay a fair income tax rate internationally.

The Facts (Captive Audience)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Susan Crawford corrects what Comcast's Executive Vice President told the U.S. Conference of Mayors about how great high-speed Internet access is in the U.S. If the mayors believed him, they must not look at what household Internet costs in their cities.

See How Citigroup Wrote a Bill So It Could Get a Bailout (MoJo)

Erika Eichelberger spoke to Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal about Citigroup's attempt to gut the "push-out rule," which would forbid banks from trading certain derivatives. This prevents banks from protecting risky trades with FDIC insurance, and Konczal says we need it "more than ever."

This Week in Poverty: Homeowners Take the Foreclosure Fight to the DOJ (The Nation)

Greg Kaufmann spoke to activists involved in protests last week to fight illegal foreclosures and push for principal reductions for homeowners at risk of foreclosure. These newly minted reformers first fought to keep their own homes; now they’re fighting for others.

  • Roosevelt Take: The jobs crisis hasn't helped people struggling to keep their homes. Roosevelt Fellows and other distinguished guests will discuss A Bold Approach to the Jobs Emergency on June 4th.

America is the only rich country that doesn’t guarantee paid vacation or holidays (WaPo)

In honor of Memorial Day, Ezra Klein reminds us that in the U.S., poorer workers are less likely to have any paid time off, and if they do, they get less. Compared to European countries' paid time off guarantees, yesterday's barbeques seem a little less exciting.

Let Them Make Their Own Jobs (NYT)

Nancy Folbre considers that statement to be the new "let them eat cake," because entrepreneurs and start-ups struggle as much as established businesses with the lack of demand. Creating your own job doesn’t guarantee you've created any income for yourself.

The Falling-Bridge Lesson: The U.S. Infrastructure Failure Is Still Totally Inexcusable (The Atlantic)

Matt Thompson thinks the bridge that collapsed near Seattle last week needs to be a wake-up call to increase spending on infrastructure. Maybe some members of Congress will take family road trips this summer and notice how the roads just end at that big blue space on their map now.

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Daily Digest - May 24: The Real (Student) Debt Crisis

May 23, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Nobel winner: Cut student loan rates (USA Today)

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Nobel winner: Cut student loan rates (USA Today)

Roosevelt Institute Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz says he backs Elizabeth Warren's plan to let students borrow at the same discount rate as banks because student debt is holding back our economy, especially compared to countries that are actually doing something about it.

  • Roosevelt Take: The Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network's policy report "A New Deal For Students" lays out concrete and innovative policy solutions from students to solve the student debt crisis.

Donors Urge Cuomo to Press for Public Financing of State Campaigns (NYT)

Thomas Kaplan talks to Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Ellen Chesler and others who feel public campaign financing is necessary to combat an unusual form of peer pressure -- the kind the wealthy exert on politicians. According to Chesler, it's a moral issue.

In one chart: we have a demand problem, not a skills problem (Working Economics)

Heidi Shierholz looks at the unemployment and underemployment rates of college graduates under 25, and concludes that when even the young and highly educated have trouble finding jobs, the problem is pretty simple: no one is hiring.

America's Scandalous Underfunding of Community Colleges (Slate)

Matt Yglesias uses data on school spending changes to illustrate just how bad things have gotten at community colleges. Even with tuition hikes, they haven't been able to increase spending, which means they're forced to reduce services to our neediest students.

Black Unemployment Is Still Shamefully High (The Atlantic)

Jordan Weissmann knows the jobs crisis isn't close to over in the black community, where unemployment is both high and long-term. But Congress sees a string of decent jobs reports and a booming stock market and convinces itself the recovery is color-blind.

Food Stamp Cuts Backed By Farm Subsidy Beneficiaries (HuffPo)

Arthur Delaney points out the hypocrisy of lawmakers who receive significant subsidies for their family farms but feel the government doesn't have an obligation to feed the poor through SNAP. Anti-poverty programs: too costly. Photo op on a tractor: priceless.

Japan the Model (NYT)

Paul Krugman makes the case for Japan's current intense political efforts to turn around its economy, noting that no one else in the developed world is attempting stimulus on this level, and while it's too early to be certain, the signs look good that it's working.

New on Next New Deal

Michael Kinsley Gets It Wrong On "Austerians"

According to Mike Konzcal, austerians are setting eliminating the deficit as the only priority, while the rest of us see a bigger picture. Kinsley and other austerians are in a fantasy world where everyone saves, no one spends, and the economy improves without stimulus.

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Daily Digest - May 23: Fearing the Future

May 23, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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What’s in millennials’ wallets? Fewer credit cards (LA Times)

Emily Alpert talks to Pipeline Fellow Nona Willis Aronowitz about why young households are carrying less and less credit card debt. According to Aronowitz, it’s all about fear of an uncertain future.

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What’s in millennials’ wallets? Fewer credit cards (LA Times)

Emily Alpert talks to Pipeline Fellow Nona Willis Aronowitz about why young households are carrying less and less credit card debt. According to Aronowitz, it’s all about fear of an uncertain future.

Why Suburban Poverty Is Less Visible and More Insidious (The Atlantic)

According to Emily Badger, suburban poverty is an incredibly isolating phenomenon. In areas where children play in back yards, not public playgrounds, and commuters drive instead of taking the subway, communal support for the poor all but disappears.

Elizabeth Warren Grills Treasury Secretary on Too Big to Fail (MoJo)

Erika Eichelberger characterizes Jack Lew’s response to Senator Warren’s questioning on breaking up the biggest banks as nothing but avoidance. In the linked video, Lew sticks to name, rank, and serial number while Warren pushes for a direct answer on capping bank size.

How Budget Cuts Could Lead To Higher Costs From Tornadoes (Think Progress)

Bryce Covert reminds us that sequestration is still happening and is causing furloughs at the National Weather Service. The NWS warned residents of Moore, OK about the tornado 16 minutes before it touched down, and we can’t afford to cut it much closer.

Fed Endorses Stimulus, but the Message Is Garbled (NYT)

Nelson D. Schwartz explains that it doesn’t look like the Fed will be cutting back its bond-buying program just yet. Bernanke’s testimony yesterday showed a sense of caution, despite the apparent signs of improvement in the job market.

Robert Kaiser on Dodd-Frank: ‘This example of Congress working also illuminated why it works so rarely.’ (WaPo)

Neil Irwin and Robert Kaiser discuss why no one would want to emulate the process required to pass Dodd-Frank, with months of negotiations for bipartisan support collapsing and the bill barely scraping by. Instead, we get no negotiation and no legislation, saving everyone time.

Why Obama’s Scandals Won’t Lead to Reform (Bloomberg View)

Ezra Klein points out the disconnect between who is upset about the policy problems raised by the IRS and AP scandals, and who wants to make a fuss about them. With those categories split, he doesn’t think we will see any changes in anonymous political spending through 501(c)(4)s or legislation to protect journalists and their sources.

U.S. Retailers See Big Risk in Safety Plan for Factories in Bangladesh (NYT)

Steven Greenhouse says major U.S. retailers are worried the accord that many European retailers have embraced will open them up to legal liability. Apparently the real risk isn’t sending workers into a death trap; it’s all the paperwork and billable hours that could result.

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Daily Digest - May 22: Where Have All the Good Jobs Gone?

May 22, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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The Case for Raising the Minimum Wage (U.S. News and World Report)

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The Case for Raising the Minimum Wage (U.S. News and World Report)

David Cooper makes the case that raising the minimum wage is not only advisable but necessary: with full-time minimum wage workers living below the poverty line, every taxpayer is subsidizing low wage employers. Not the most uplifting way to see your tax dollars at work.

Workers Strike Over Federal Contracts and Low Wage Jobs In D.C.(HuffPo)

Arthur Delaney and Dave Jamieson spoke to workers striking yesterday to protest low wages at workplaces funded by federal contracts. If taxpayers subsidize low-wage workers, this piece of the puzzle is even more frustrating, because federal contracts could set a higher wage floor.

SNAP Rolls: They’re Elevated for a Reason (On The Economy)

Jared Bernstein explains why SNAP enrollment isn’t dropping right alongside unemployment, even though that’s a pretty logical idea. Unemployment may be down, he says, but that doesn’t mean people have actually gone back to work, and in the meantime, they still need to eat.

Keynes Skeptics Find New Economic Poster Boy (NY Mag)

Jonathan Chait has discovered the new face of austerity, following the collapse of Reinhart-Rogoff: James Buchanan (the economist, not the unloved U.S. president). Buchanan argued “temporary” stimulus would create permanent long-term deficits, but Chait isn’t buying it.

Naming Names in the Dodd Frank Mess (TAP)

David Dayen wants us to stop blaming generic “Wall Street lobbyists” for gutting Dodd-Frank when they have name-brand help. Regulators like Mark Wetjen, one of the Democratic commissioners on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, are also responsible for weaker rules.

The IRS controversy isn’t about taxes. It’s about disclosure. (WaPo)

Dylan Matthews thinks that the IRS controversy is really about the distinction between 501(c)(4)s and 527s: the former can keep donors a secret, but 527s must disclose. Apparently Tea Party organizations are worried that no one would donate to them if they had to own up to it.

A Keynesian Victory, but Austerity Stands Firm (NYT)

Eduardo Porter examines why Keynesian economists are running victory laps around austerians, yet austerity politics are still reigning across the globe. The intellectual battle may be won, but politicians are resisting.

New on Next New Deal

Creating Good Jobs is the Defining Issue of Our Time (Next New Deal)

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Richard Kirsch knows that our biggest economic problem isn’t the deficit or national debt: it’s jobs. Good jobs, the ones that provide decent pay and benefits, are disappearing, and the economy can’t recover without them.

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