Daily Digest - August 3: Olympic Feats of Misdirection

Aug 3, 2012Tim Price

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Debt, Depression, DeMarco (NYT)

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Debt, Depression, DeMarco (NYT)

Paul Krugman writes that Edward DeMarco's refusal to implement the Obama administration's HAMP plan is another example of Republicans' commitment to the reverse-Rooseveltian economic policy of "try nothing" and "bold, persistent exasperation."

Nine takeaways on Romney's tax plan (WaPo)

Ezra Klein argues that Mitt Romney's clever plan to win over voters by refusing to tell them what he actually plans to do has hit a major stumbling block now that independent analysts are finding that what he plans to do is mathematically impossible.

Romney's "Recovery Plan" Could Bring On Another Recession (New Yorker)

John Cassidy notes that Romney's recovery plan would bring austerity to America's shores, but he'd have us believe it will succeed here despite failing everywhere else it's been tried. Maybe economists have failed to model the power of positive thinking.

Americans Want to Live in a Much More Equal Country (They Just Don't Realize It) (The Atlantic)

Dan Ariely shows that Americans of all stripes vastly underestimate U.S. inequality but would prefer a more equal distribution of wealth than exists in the real world or their imaginations. Sorry, Republicans; you're just a bunch of self-loathing hippies.

Special interests win in Senate panel's attempt at tax reform (WaPo)

Lori Montgomery reports that in an attempt to end superfluous tax breaks, the Senate couldn't resist preserving a few (or 55) of the bare essentials, like credits for electric bikes and Samoan StarKist. Pork-barrel spending, meet tuna can tax breaks.

Under Pressure, Biggest Banks Rely on 3 Myths (NYT)

Simon Johnson notes that in the midst of a cruel summer, banks are trying to take the heat off by claiming the costs of regulation outweigh the benefits and that their critics are the kind of wild-eyed populists who are always getting appointed to the Fed or FDIC.

No Big Boy Pants for Banks That Whine Over Rules (Bloomberg)

Susan Antilla writes that banks are attempting to slow the rule-making process to a halt by urging officials to consider whether the flutter of their regulatory butterfly wings could lead to an economic tornado. They'd prefer to skip straight to the tornado.

How the Poor, the Middle Class and the Rich Spend Their Money (NPR)

Jacob Goldstein and Lam Vo chart Americans' spending habits and find that everyone spends a lot on staples like housing and clothing, but while the rich save for college or retirement, the poor are busy making sure they don't starve in the dark.

Dissecting the Deficit (CBPP)

A CBPP analysis shows that the biggest drivers of the deficit are the Bush tax cuts, the wars in the Middle East, and the economic downturn. So obviously the fiscally responsible party is the one that started all of these and plans to continue them.

Romney's Olympic tax myth (Salon)

Alex Seitz-Wald notes the latest GOP attack on Obama: he wants to tax our Olympians up to $9,000 for their medals and prize money when they return home! How could he do that to poor Gabby Douglas? Luckily, the story is completely made up.

With additional research by Danielle Bella Ellison.

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Daily Digest - August 2: First They Came for My Putter

Aug 2, 2012Tim Price

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Who Would Gain in a Romney Tax Overhaul (NYT)

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Who Would Gain in a Romney Tax Overhaul (NYT)

Catherine Rampell highlights a new study that shows Mitt Romney's tax plan would close loopholes but cut taxes for anyone making over $200,000 while asking more from the 95 percent of us who have never written off a dressage horse on our 1040.

Top two percenters to Congress: Raise our taxes. Please. (WaPo)

Greg Sargent notes that a group of about 100 wealthy Americans have written to congressional leaders to demand fiscal sanity and a fairer tax deal, but since they're progressives, they're not trying to invent creative new definitions for "sane" and "fair."

The Federal Reserve Doesn't Want the Economy to Grow Faster (Slate)

Matthew Yglesias recaps the report from the latest FOMC meeting: Everything is terrible, worse than expected even, and their current policy response is failing even by their own criteria, so they're going to stick with it and see what happens. The end.

The Dinged-Up, Broken Down, Fender-Bended Economic Recovery Plan (NYT)

Adam Davidson notes that the nature of the auto industry means it has to base its current plans on its expectations for 2015, and the bet it's making is that the recovery won't stall by then, but the clunker you've been driving for the last 11 years will.

Memo to Corporate America: More Women Leaders Means a Better Bottom Line (Forbes)

NND Editor Bryce Covert writes that research shows that letting more women into the clubhouse improves corporate performance, but we should remember that's because it helps to have a deeper pool of talent, not because they have magic lady powers.

Flood of Errant Trades Is a Black Eye for Wall Street (NYT)

Nathaniel Popper notes that a rogue stock trading program sent a shock through the market yesterday morning by making millions of trades, renewing fears that existing regulations may not cut it when HAL 9000 snaps and starts singing "Daisy Bell."

Underwater homeowners face a tax time bomb (Salon)

David Dayen warns that if the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act is allowed to expire on December 31st, it will leave struggling homeowners owing billions to the IRS and bring principal reductions and other relief to a screeching halt. Happy New Year.

Jobless generation puts brakes on US (FT)

Shannon Bond writes that the future of the economy depends on a generation of young Americans who have been taught that if you work hard and get good grades, one day you can have hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and no way to pay it off.

Goldman to Invest in City Jail Program, Profiting if Recidivism Falls Sharply (NYT)

David Chen reports that Goldman Sachs is contributing $10 million to New York's new test case for social impact bonds, which will pay out if Rikers Island produces fewer repeat offenders. Why not volunteer some colleagues as test subjects while they're at it?

Paul Krugman, Ted Cruz, and the Rage of the Golfing Class (TNR)

It might seem a little crazy that the Texas GOP has a Senate candidate who thinks the UN and George Soros are plotting to destroy golf courses, but Timothy Noah notes that it's a hot-button issue among those who have nothing better to worry about.

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Daily Digest - August 1: He's a 21st Century Man, But He Don't Want to Be Here

Aug 1, 2012Tim Price

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Mitt Romney's 20th-century worldview (WaPo)

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Mitt Romney's 20th-century worldview (WaPo)

Katrina vanden Heuvel argues that in addition to his retrograde domestic policies, Romney's gaffetastic world tour shows that, like George W. Bush, he's of the mindset that America can be judged not just by the quality but the quantity of its enemies.

Obama: Not Like You or Me (TAP)

Paul Waldman writes that directly emphasizing race would be far too uncouth for Romney, but basing his campaign around "you didn't build that" allows him to imply that Obama is some sort of foreign infiltrator without hissing the name "Hussein."

Leaders Reach Tentative Deal on Spending to Avoid Fight Before Election Day (NYT)

Not wanting to let a budget showdown interfere with an election that's mostly been about out-of-context quotes, leaders have struck a deal to keep the government running through March. But that doesn't mean the GOP won't vote against it anyway.

Why is Ed DeMarco stopping mortgage refinancing? (WaPo)

In light of the news that the Acting Director of FHFA has rejected the administration's plan to let Fannie and Freddie borrowers take part in HAMP, Dylan Matthews explains how a civil servant got quite so big for his britches and why it's tough to get him out of them.

Hopeless Unemployment (Project Syndicate)

Brad DeLong warns that if we don't learn from the Great Depression, in which the economy entered a suicidal demand-side spiral that led to major structural unemployment, the long-term unemployed will take all the hints they're getting and give up.

How Our 'Growth' Obsession Drives Inequity, and May Kill Us All (ColorLines)

Imara Jones writes that basing our vision of prosperity on Gross Domestic Product leads us to treat natural and human resources as endless and therefore disposible. But sooner rather than later, we're going to run out of planet and people to exploit.

Feel the Burn: Making the 2012 Heat Wave Matter (The Nation)

Mark Hertsgaard argues that although both presidential candidates have been silent on the issue of climate change, little issues like the fact that 97 percent of Greenland just melted should motivate us to declare that it is, in fact, hot enough for us.

The Fed Should Stop Paying Banks Not to Lend (NYT)

Bruce Bartlett writes that as the Fed debates yet another round of quantitative easing, it should consider more inventive approaches, like giving banks a penalty rather than a bonus for sitting on $1.5 trillion in reserves like it's an egg that's going to hatch.

Companies With Women on Their Boards Perform Better (Slate)

Matthew Yglesias notes that while there's no clear definition of what makes for an effective corporate board, it's traditionally been assumed that a gentleman's frat party is the way to go. As in most cases, the available evidence suggests otherwise.

The Larger Question About Romney's Taxes: Why? (TNR)

As new rumors emerge about Romney's dodgy tax history, Alec MacGillis writes that one question that confounds liberals is why he didn't cover his tracks better. But the answer may be staring us in the face: this guy really, really likes making money.

With additional research by Danielle Bella Ellison.

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Daily Digest - July 31: Heads They Win, Tails We Lose

Jul 31, 2012Tim Price

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Fussbudget: How Paul Ryan captured the G.O.P. (New Yorker)

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Fussbudget: How Paul Ryan captured the G.O.P. (New Yorker)

Ryan Lizza profiles the young Wisconsite on the House Budget Committee who became the de facto leader of the Republican Party by convincing them they had to lay out their own vision, no matter how scary it looks when you actually write it all down.

The Republicans' Medicaid Cruelty (NYRB)

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Jeff Madrick argues that Republican governors' rejection of a Medicaid expansion in states where low-income Americans are most in need shows that America has developed a mean streak to go with its stars and stripes.

As 'fiscal cliff' looms, debate over pre-Election Day layoff notices heats up (WaPo)

While budget negotiations remain stalled, President Obama and congressional Republicans are already arguing over who's most responsible for tens of thousands of potential layoffs by government contractors. Guys, there's no need to fight. You all win.

Will Women Get Pushed Off the Fiscal Cliff? (The Nation)

NND Editor Bryce Covert notes that although defense cuts have received the most attention, automatic cuts to programs like Head Start and family assistance mean that women may face the steepest dive from the looming peaks of Mt. Sequestration.

The CEO Plan to Steal Your Social Security and Medicare (HuffPo)

Do you ever get tired of living in a democracy and wish there was a cabal of wealthy business executives devising a plan to slash the social safety net no matter what kind of policy voters endorse in this election? If so, Dean Baker has some good news for you.

Municipal bankruptcy: The lessons of California (LA Times)

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellows Tom Ferguson and Rob Johnson write that California is hardly the only state facing a fiscal crunch, but it is the most thoroughly rigged for disaster, and banks were more than happy to light the fuse by toying with muni bonds.

An Intriguing Idea to Encourage Bank Lending (WSJ)

Alan Blinder looks at the Bank of England's new plan to encourage lending by lowering banks' funding costs and how, with a few Fed-specific tweaks, it could be the biggest thing to cross the pond since... hmm, let's say The Office, before it got stupid.

It's D-Day for the Post Office (NYT)

Joe Nocera notes that the Postal Service is set to default tomorrow on a scheduled payment of $5.5 billion to pre-fund benefits for future retirees, a problem entirely of Congress's own making despite legislators' "stop hitting yourself!" approach to solving it.

Those Guys? Never Seen 'Em Before. (TNR)

Alec MacGillis unravels the narrative thread that says Republicans are the party of the little guy (who just so happens to have a really huge bank account) while Democrats are simultaneously champions of socialism and proponents of crony capitalism.

America Has the World's Luckiest Billionaires (MoJo)

Josh Harkinson presents a series of charts that illustrate why, despite their griping, America's uber-rich get the sweetest deal of any country where they're highly concentrated, plus the added convenience of not having to hide in Singapore to shelter their money.

With additional research by Danielle Bella Ellison.

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Daily Digest - July 30: Oh, Now You're Sorry

Jul 30, 2012Tim Price

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A Big Banker's Belated Apology (NYT)

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A Big Banker's Belated Apology (NYT)

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Jeff Madrick notes that while Sandy Weill says big banks should be broken up now that he's out of the game, he still insists deregulation was a good idea at the time. And it was, but only for the Sandy Weill Retirement Fund.

The Terrible Economy and the Anti-Election of 2012 (Robert Reich)

Reich writes that instead of laying out the bold economic agenda we need, both candidates are tearing each other down. But can the president claim a policy mandate if he wins reelection with the slogan "Obama '12: Because You Have to Vote for One of Us"?

Mitt Romney and the go-for-broke election (WaPo)

E.J. Dionne argues that Republicans are hammering Obama's out-of-context quote about small businesses because redefining moderate liberalism as radical socialism is the only way to make the far right's extreme ideas look like The New Reasonable.

Obama's Second-Term Agenda: Cutting Social Security, Medicare, and/or Medicaid (Naked Capitalism)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Matt Stoller warns that defeating Mitt Romney won't be enough to protect the social safety net if the reelected Barack Obama follows the grand Democratic tradition of trying to undermine the Democratic Party's greatest achievements.

Crash of the Bumblebee (NYT)

Paul Krugman notes that Mario Draghi's commitment to saving the euro and crafting dubious analogies has reassured investors for now, but acknowledging that the euro zone is a weird freak of nature that shouldn't work is a lot easier than explaining how it can.

Poverty in America: Why Can't We End It? (NYT)

Peter Edelman writes that we aren't going to make headway in the war on poverty until the middle class recognizes that the top 1 percent aren't waiting at the top of the economic ladder to congratulate them, but to grease the rungs and laugh when they fall.

TANF, VAWA and Playing Politics with the Lives of Low-Income People (The Nation)

Greg Kaufmann notes that Republicans have suddenly become skeptics of turning more power over to the states when it involves allowing them to administer welfare benefits in a way that values effectiveness over making poor people's lives more difficult.

‘Big Government’ Isn’t So Big by Historical Standards. It’s Also Shrinking. (NYT)

Catherine Rampell points out that while Republicans are convinced that the growth of the federal government is out of control under Obama, he's actually been shrinking it down to a nice, bathtubbable size for them compared to socialists like Ronald Reagan.

Killing a Fly With a Bazooka (NYT)

Thomas Edsall argues that Republicans who don't care about the "collateral damage" of voting restrictions that prevent fraud that doesn't exist must also be unconcerned about damaging their credibility by winning elections only they get to participate in.

Olympinomics (Slate)

Matthew Yglesias writes that despite David Cameron's attempts to justify spending billions on the Olympics, the results have historically been a mixed bag. And once the games end, you're going to be staring at that International Horse Arena for a while.

With additional research by Danielle Bella Ellison.

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Daily Digest - July 27: Take the Money and Run

Jul 27, 2012Tim Price

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Money for Nothing (NYT)

Paul Krugman notes that our wise men keep predicting deficits will lead to disaster, but with borrowing costs at an all-time low, they're like end-times prophets disappointed when the sun rises the day after they marked the apocalypse on their calendars.

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Money for Nothing (NYT)

Paul Krugman notes that our wise men keep predicting deficits will lead to disaster, but with borrowing costs at an all-time low, they're like end-times prophets disappointed when the sun rises the day after they marked the apocalypse on their calendars.

When Even Pessimism May Be Too Optimistic (WSJ)

David Wessel warns that avoiding another recession before the U.S. is fully recovered from the last one will require everything from the euro crisis to fiscal policy to go just right, but the last few years have clearly established that Murphy's law is in effect.

New housing bubbles set to burst (Al Jazeera)

Dean Baker argues that with the UK, Canada, and Australia all caught up in housing bubbles relatively larger than the one the U.S. experienced, central banks need to become more diligent about making sure random parts of the economy don't explode.

A crisis worse than 2008? (Salon)

Steve Weissman writes that the LIBOR scandal could undermine trust in banks even more than the financial crisis did. There's no complex web of derivatives deals to unravel here, just a bunch of guys going "Hey, here's the interest rate I made up today."

A Fed Governor Wants Tougher Rules (NYT)

Simon Johnson notes that the Volcker Rule has gained an influential advocate in the form of Fed governor Sarah Bloom Raskin, but she fears that her colleagues would prefer a weaker version of the rule, like "no prop trading unless you really really want to."

Teaching Matters: Why It May Put More Women Into Public Office (Forbes)

NND Editor Bryce Covert writes that a new Teach for America program encouraging alumni to run for office could tap into a deep pool of female political talent. Good thing we're laying off all our teachers; that should give them a lot more time to campaign.

Romney's Innovative Economic Plan: Dubya 2.0 (TAP)

Paul Waldman argues that Mitt Romney's claim to have some special knowledge of how the economy works is belied by a policy platform that only counts as fresh and innovative if we all agree to the GOP's polite fiction that George W. Bush never existed.

Mitt Romney's Pork Barrel Olympics (MoJo)

Tim Murphy notes that when Mitt Romney touts the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City as an example of his skill at hard-nosed cost-cutting, he leaves out a few details, like how his friends ripped off the federal government to the tune of $1.5 billion.

Money Corrupts Politics Even More Than You Thought (Bloomberg)

Ezra Klein notes that 80 percent of Super PAC money comes from a secretive group of about 200 donors, but simply disclosing their spending won't help when the size of their bank accounts is a more effective deterrent than most nuclear arsenals.

America's High Health Care Costs (CAP)

Maura Calsyn, Emily Oshima Lee, and Danny Schwaber present a set of infographics illustrating the root causes and ramifications of our $2.8 trillion in annual health care spending, which should be enough to make anyone feel a little ill.

With additional research by Danielle Bella Ellison.

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Daily Digest - July 26: The Emperor Has No Jobs Plan

Jul 26, 2012Tim Price

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Romney's Distortion -- And Why It Matters (TNR)

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Romney's Distortion -- And Why It Matters (TNR)

Jonathan Cohn writes that Mitt Romney continues to misrepresent President Obama's remarks about business owners because it's easier to attack a claim no one ever made than to defend an economic platform that no one takes seriously.

Among competing jobs plans, it's not even close (Maddowblog)

Steve Benen notes that while Republicans like to claim they've passed 32 jobs bills since 2010, economists say it's a triumph of quantity over quality, with little evidence that they'd create work for anyone besides the interns sent to print them out.

Republicans want to raise taxes on the poor. Why? (WaPo)

When is a tax cut not a tax cut? Ezra Klein argues that for the GOP, it's when it's a tax cut that President Obama supports, since everything he does is wrong by definition, while tax cuts are good and virtuous like the rich people they're intended for.

Democratic Leaders Again Whipping Against Audit of the Federal Reserve (Naked Capitalism)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Matt Stoller writes that the House's latest audit bill shows how low the Fed has fallen. Despite being whipped like a 50 Shades of Grey character, many Democrats voted with the GOP to make the central bank accountable.

Can Financial Regulation Be Fixed? (Baseline Scenario)

James Kwak argues that recent financial scandals show that simply passing more regulations is a futile gesture as long as banks are large and powerful enough to respond by patting regulators on the head and thanking them for the suggestions.

The Man Who Invented "Too Big to Fail" Banks Finally Recants. Will Obama or Romney Follow? (Robert Reich)

Reich writes that hearing a proposal to break up the big banks from Sanford Weil, who created Citigroup and successfully lobbied for the repeal of Glass-Steagall, is as significant as hearing Bill Gates say it's time to rethink the whole computer thing.

Mitt Romney's Bankster Ball (The Nation)

John Nichols notes that Mitt Romney's trip to London to reconnect with his Olympic roots gave him the opportunity to hold a fundraiser with execs from British banks, who happen to have a lot of money they need to unload before they all go to jail.

London to the safety net: Let them eat sports (Lean Forward)

Ned Resnikoff points out that instead of spending billions to rebuild infrastructure, shore up public pensions, or improve working conditions, the British government has sensibly decided to invest in a huge sports arena to house a one-time event.

There Is No Sovereign Debt Crisis (Slate)

Matthew Yglesias writes that with a few exceptions, nations around the world are seeing borrowing costs plunge as investors beg them to take their money so they don't have to lose it all in the private sector. We should be smart enough to say yes.

Hot new conservative lie: The private sector invented the Internet (Salon)

Alex Pareene examines the latest conservative talking point about the creation of the Internet: Despite what "facts" would have you believe, the government couldn't have created the Internet, because government is bad and can't create anything. QED. 

With additional research by Danielle Bella Ellison.

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Daily Digest - July 25: The GOP Can't Handle the Truth

Jul 25, 2012Tim Price

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The GOP's War Against Facts (Slate)

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The GOP's War Against Facts (Slate)

Dahlia Lithwick and Raymond Vasvari write that from tax returns to campaign finance disclosures, the GOP is worried that an informed electorate could suffer an outbreak of independent thought, which is definitely not supported by the party platform.

Romney's "You Didn't Build That" Fails (MoJo)

Adam Serwer notes that Romney's attacks on Obama for claiming successful entrepreneurs need help from the government have been hampered by the fact that it's kind of hard to find successful entrepreneurs who haven't been helped by the government.

New York Fed Faces Questions Over Policing Wall Street (NYT)

Ben Protess and Jessica Silver-Greenberg report that after high-profile failures including the financial crisis, JPMorgan's trading losses, and the LIBOR fixing scandal, critics worry the New York Fed has sent a bunch of mall cops to do a SWAT team's job.

Homer Simpson Politics (Boston Review)

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Mark Schmitt argues that due to shifting coalitions and the fall of the Solid South, today's Democratic Party is beholden to affluent voters whose policy preferences don't lean much further left than "not hating gay people."

Women Need a Raise in the Minimum Wage (Forbes)

The women who hold two-thirds of often grueling minimum wage jobs aren't looking for lavish rewards, but NND Editor Bryce Covert suggests that being paid enough to escape poverty and afford rent and food might not be too much for them to ask.

7 Ultra-Rich Companies Rake in Profits While Paying Workers Peanuts (AlterNet)

Sarah Jaffe writes that low-wage workers aren't stiffed because their employers can't afford to pay more -- most work for hugely successful corporations. Maybe it's time for McDonald's to melt down some of those golden arches and spread the wealth.

The Republican Plan to Tax the Poor (MoJo)

Josh Harkinson notes that the GOP plans to pay for tax cuts for the rich with $11 billion in cuts to the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit that benefit working families. It's tough getting blood from a stone, but they've got their best leeches on it.

Fed Leaning Closer to New Stimulus if No Growth Is Seen (NYT)

Binyamin Appelbaum reports that a growing number of Federal Reserve officials are pushing for immediate action to boost the flagging economic recovery, though some would like to wait until September and see if doing a little more nothing will help.

Euro's Medicine May Be Making Greece's Symptoms Worse (NYT)

Rachel Donadio and Suzanne Daley write that tension is once again rising in the euro zone as it becomes obvious that imposing austerity on Greece is driving it deeper into the red -- a turn of events only everyone but euro zone leaders could have predicted.

What happens if GOP's voter suppression works? (WaPo)

Harold Meyerson argues that as Republicans push ahead with plans to disenfranchise their opponents under the pretext of preventing fraud that doesn't exist, they run the risk of securing themselves a victory that doesn't count for much in anyone's eyes.

With additional research by Danielle Bella Ellison.

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Daily Digest - July 24: We're All the Biggest Loser

Jul 24, 2012Tim Price

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Austerity's Big Winners Prove To Be Wall Street and the Wealthy (HuffPo)

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Austerity's Big Winners Prove To Be Wall Street and the Wealthy (HuffPo)

Zach Carter writes that austerity hasn't only been a source of misery. As Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren points out, the rich are liking it just fine, since they've reversed the process of redistribution to rob from the poor and give to themselves.

A Closer Look at Middle-Class Decline (NYT)

David Leonhardt notes that given the most prolonged income decline since the Depression, we need a debate that addresses the core problems in our economy rather than one that decides who gets to carry the handbasket on the way to hell.

Low-Income Older Women Will Be Worst Hit if States Don't Expand Medicaid (The Nation)

NND Editor Bryce Covert writes that without the Medicaid expansion, uninsured older women will have a much more difficult time paying for health care and saving for retirement. Bonus for Boy Scouts: There may be a lot more of them out on the streets.

Obama's Skills on the Campaign Trail Explain His Haplessness in the White House (TNR)

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Mark Schmitt argues that Obama's Bain attacks may prove as clever as his 2008 strategy, but like a dog chasing a car, politicians who focus all their attention on winning office may not know what to do with it if they get it.

Q: How Are the Swing-State Economies Doing? A: Who Cares? (The Atlantic)

Reporters are going to spend the rest of the year obessing about states like Ohio as if they work for the tourism board, but Derek Thompson notes that state-level economic reports tell us nothing about the election. It's the national economy, stupid.

Bankers Gone Wild (New Yorker)

James Surowiecki writes that given the incentives banks have to lie and cheat, regulators need to stop treating Wall Street less like a gentleman's club where members can police themselves and more like a group of toddlers playing with matches.

The LIBOR Scandal's Lies (TAP)

Wallace Turbeville argues that while it's fair to criticize regulators for not doing as good a job as they could have in the LIBOR scandal, we shouldn't let that distract us from the fact that the banks involved were behaving as badly as could be.

From an Unlikely Source, a Serious Challenge to Wall Street (Rolling Stone)

Matt Taibbi looks at a plan by local governments to use eminent domain to buy up underwater mortgages. But who are you going to trust to treat you fairly, your elected officials or trained professionals with big rubber FORECLOSURE stamps?

Meet the Front Group Leading the Fight Against Taxing the Rich (MoJo)

Josh Harkinson takes a closer look at attacks on the president's tax proposals by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, or NFIB -- an acronym that would be much more accurate if they dropped the N or changed the B to "Billionaires."

Another "subprime" crisis: Student loans (Salon)

Andrew Leonard argues that that the housing and student loan debt crises weren't driven by irresponsible borrowers, but by the same underlying philosophy of banks: there's a sucker born every minute, and they're our new favorite customers.

With additional research by Danielle Bella Ellison.

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Daily Digest - July 23: Scandals of the Weak

Jul 23, 2012Tim Price

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Financial Scandal Scorecard (NYT)

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Financial Scandal Scorecard (NYT)

As the LIBOR scandal jostles for attention with Peregrine's fraud, HSBC's money laundering, and Capital One's sketchy sales tactics, Joe Nocera plays a game of financial shenanigans bingo. Traditional regulators sleeping on the job is the free square.

Prosecutors, regulators close to making Libor arrests (Reuters)

In addition to pursuing regulatory penalties against the banks that rigged LIBOR, U.S. and European authorities plan to bring charges against some of the individuals traders involved, lest a few bad apples spoil Wall Street's delicious apple sauce of crime.

Bungled Bank Bailout Leaves Behind Righteous Anger (Bloomberg)

Neil Barofsky argues that given the choice to flood banks with money but leave homeowners high and dry and a weaksauce excuse for reform that's being watered down even more in the rulemaking process, getting mad just means we're paying attention.

Wall Street Is Too Big to Regulate (NYT)

Gar Alperovitz notes that to end Too Big to Fail, liberal reformers should heed conservative economists of the 1930s: When the free market can't provide true competition, sometimes the government should pry an industry out of the invisible hand's sweaty grasp.

'We Can't Afford It': The Big Lie About Medicaid Expansion (The Nation)

Richard Kim writes that while conservative governors say they're rejecting the Medicaid expansion because it would bust their states' budgets, they could easily pay for it by ending their DIY budget-busting project of tax cuts, tax cuts, and more tax cuts.

Only the First Step in Containing Health Costs (NYT)

Christina Romer argues that if we want to implement policies that will really put a stop to soaring health care costs, the Affordable Care Act's victory at the Supreme Court isn't the grand finale of the health care reform story, but the end of chapter one. 

American Pie in the Sky (Project Syndicate)

Nouriel Roubini writes that despite all our wishes for a speedy recovery, the American economy still isn't well enough to be released from intensive care, and if it suffers another relapse, no quarantine will stop the rest of the global economy from falling ill.

Loading the Climate Dice (NYT)

Paul Krugman notes that rising temperatures and historic droughts could mean a modern-day revival of the Dust Bowl, but at least the climate change deniers in the GOP and the fossil fuels industry will have plenty of new sand to bury their heads in.

Does raising taxes on the rich hurt small businesses? (WaPo)

Ezra Klein highlights a CBPP brief that shows the evidence doesn't support conservative claims that the fate of young entrepreneurs looking to start their own small businesses is tied by some mysterious force to the tax rate paid by Donald Trump.

Is Obama Alienating Rich Voters? (TNR)

Nate Cohn notes that while many progressives have urged President Obama to emulate FDR by welcoming the hatred of the rich and powerful, polls suggest he's actually welcoming a decent amount of their support in his contest with Mitt Romney.

With additional research by Danielle Bella Ellison.

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