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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Daily Digest - October 29: Picking Your Presidential Poison

Oct 29, 2012Tim Price

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The Final Days, the Biggest Issue, and the Clearest Choice (Robert Reich)

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The Final Days, the Biggest Issue, and the Clearest Choice (Robert Reich)

Reich writes that as we enter the home stretch of the 2012 election, the question at the center of it all is not what the latest Gallup tracking poll says or whether we need to unskew the numbers. It's whether the rich need to pay more to unskew the tax code.

The progressive case against Obama (Salon)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Matt Stoller argues that progressives who plan to vote for Barack Obama because they believe he's the lesser of two evils should reweight their scales to account for four years of growing economic and political inequality.

Medicaid on the Ballot (NYT)

Paul Krugman notes that while many of Romney's plans add up to little more than a question mark and a knowing wink, there's no doubt that his cuts to Medicaid would be catastrophic -- and all for the sake of scoring a touchdown against Team Moocher.

Why the GM Rescue Should Matter in Ohio -- and Everywhere Else (TNR)

Jonathan Cohn argues that the auto bailouts aren't just relevant to who wins Ohio's 18 electoral votes. They illustrate that in times of crisis, Obama thinks American industries should turn to government, while Romney thinks they should turn to Bain Capital.

Who Gets Credit for the Recovery? (NYT)

David Leonhardt writes that after four years of Democrats and Republicans tossing the blame for our economic situation back and forth like a live grenade, they're now jockeying to be in the right place at the right time when the belated upswing begins.

How the fiscal cliff would affect the poorest Americans (WaPo)

Suzy Khimm notes that the rich will have to pay higher taxes if we head over the fiscal cliff, but the expiration of stimulus policies like the extended Child Tax Credit and the EITC will ensure that the poor are there at the bottom to cushion their fall.

This Week in Poverty: Big Foot, Nessie, and Paul Ryan (The Nation)

Greg Kaufmann writes that while Paul Ryan claims that the Holy Spirit moves him when talking about poverty, he might as well be speaking in tongues when it comes to his explanation of the problem's causes and what we need to do to solve it.

America - land of inequality (SF Chronicle)

Brad DeLong writes that the economists of 30 years ago predicted the U.S. would become a steadily more egalitarian and middle class country and do away with the "malefactors of great wealth," but instead it has transformed into one big malefactory.

When Low Taxes Don't Help the Rich (NYT)

Robert Frank argues that the key to weakening the influence of big donors is not to attack their selfishness but to appeal to it by pointing out that more tax cuts and deregulation aren't going to fill a pothole for them. Won't someone think of the convertibles?

Billionaires Going Rogue (NYT)

Thomas Edsall writes that recent shifts in campaign finance have benefited the GOP, but all that money doesn't come without a cost. Before, the party maintained tight control over candidates' funding. Now, one rich guy can make Newt Gingrich a thing.

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Daily Digest - October 26: Separate and Unequal

Oct 26, 2012Bryce Covert

Some Are More Unequal Than Others (NYTimes)

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Joseph Stiglitz writes that on one side of the presidential contest we have someone who understands rising inequality even if he hasn't done everything he can to stem the tide, and on the other someone who just wants you to stop talking about it.

Some Are More Unequal Than Others (NYTimes)

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Joseph Stiglitz writes that on one side of the presidential contest we have someone who understands rising inequality even if he hasn't done everything he can to stem the tide, and on the other someone who just wants you to stop talking about it.

Conservative Inequality Denialism (TNR)

Timothy Noah adds that the right doesn't feel comfortable calling the have-nots outright lazy anymore, so they just cover their eyes since that means the poor don't exist.

Romney's Economic Model (NYTimes)

We don't have to speculate about what a Romney economy would look like, writes Nicholas Kristof. We have a real life example: the Europocalypse.

Paul Ryan: No, I Want to Help the Poor! Really! (New York)

Ryan may be trying to pinky swear low-income Americans that he's got their back, but Jonathan Chait points out that his plan for them is: 1. slash the social safety net, 2. ???, 3. social mobility!

Why Freddie Mac Resisted Refis (ProPublica)

Jesse Eisinger goes behind the scenes at the mortgage giant to find out that board members didn't want to help struggling homeowners because it might have eaten into their profits. It also might have helped the economy, which would have been terrible for everyone.

Living Near Foreclosures Has Cost Homeowners Almost $2 Trillion (Think Progress)

Think about how much you hate your neighbors for playing loud music and letting their dog poop on your yard. Now imagine that they're instead costing you trillions of dollars.

The Dirty Secret of Debt-Hating CEOs: They Need Big Deficits to Live (The Atlantic)

The leaders of our biggest corporations may denounce debt during the day, but once night falls they can be seen running to the Treasury to suck on the economy's life essence.

Romney's 9-Point Plan to Annihilate Unions (In These Times)

Workers may not come up nearly as much as small business owners with Republicans, but Romney and Ryan haven't forgotten them. They'll liberate them from the crushing grip of unions fighting to hold onto the 40-hour work week.

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Daily Digest - October 25: Obama's Grand Plans for 2013

Oct 25, 2012Tim Price

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Obama says he'll renew pursuit of 'grand bargain,' offering specifics on agenda (WaPo)

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Obama says he'll renew pursuit of 'grand bargain,' offering specifics on agenda (WaPo)

In an off-and-on-the-record interview, the president outlined his second-term plans for a bipartisan debt deal that would trade $2.50 of spending cuts for every dollar in new taxes, indicating that he still thinks his head can make a dent in that brick wall if he keeps at it.

Obama's Waning Leverage With the Democratic Party Left (Slate)

Matthew Yglesias notes that a grand bargain relies on the idea that liberals will accept cuts in exchange for new revenue, but with the Bush tax cuts set to expire anyway, they stand to gain more by adopting the GOP tactic of sitting back and watching the fireworks.

Why even President Obama won't champion Social Security (Guardian)

Dean Baker writes that Obama's reluctance to emphasize Social Security stems from the fact that millionaire donors are happy to perform their high-wire act without a safety net, and the media views cutting it as the most terribly Serious thing anyone can do.

The Entitlement Crisis That Isn't (Truthdig)

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Jeff Madrick argues that the Beltway insider debate about whether and how we should cut spending on programs we can't afford distracts from the real question, which is about how we raise money to pay for the things we need.

White House seeks removal of Fannie regulator (FT)

Shahien Nasiripour notes that the administration is sending signals that, like any political appointee who flatly and openly refuses to cooperate with the White House's agenda, Acting FHFA Director Ed DeMarco could be out of a job after only two and a half years.

U.S. sues Bank of America over "Hustle" mortgage fraud (Reuters)

Jonathan Stempel reports that prosecutors are suing BofA for over $1 billion in losses suffered by taxpayers thanks to the bank's scheme to conceal problems with residential loans and bury Fannie and Freddie in more toxic waste than a nuclear dump site.

Too Big to Handle (Project Syndicate)

Simon Johnson writes that the consensus is beginning to move toward breaking up the big banks as high-profile resignations suggest that even the people being paid handsomely to run said banks have no idea how they're supposed to function at this scale.

The Inescapable Gender Wage Gap (The Nation)

NND Editor Bryce Covert looks at a new study that finds that the wage gap begins for women straight out of college and follows them everywhere and always, suggesting some flaws in the theory that it's all a result of women choosing to be lazy baby machines.

In Michigan, a High-Stakes Game for Labor (Prospect)

Abby Rapoport highlights a ballot measure in Michigan that supporters say would guarantee collective bargaining rights and protect public worker unions and opponents claim would rain fire down on the state of Michigan, kill its firstborn sons, and salt the earth.

How Millennials Leaving Their Parents' Basements Could Save the Economy (The Atlantic)

Derek Thompson notes that Millennials have been scapegoats of the recession, the great unwashed (literally) mass of shiftless youth dragging us all down, but as they get on their feet and start forming new households, they could provide a major economic boost.

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