Daily Digest - February 25: How the Sequester Hits Home

Feb 25, 2013Tim Price

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Eight Ways the Sequester Could Ruin Your Life (Daily Beast)

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Eight Ways the Sequester Could Ruin Your Life (Daily Beast)

Caitlin Dickson explains why your spring getaway should take place in a bunker with a well-stocked library and a freezer full of beef if the sequester takes effect. Though even if the sequester's canceled, it doesn't sound like the worst way to spend a weekend.

The state-by-state impacts of sequestration (WaPo)

The Obama administration has released a state-by-state breakdown on the effects of looming budget cuts, from teacher layoffs to fewer vaccinations. And we can only afford to keep one of the Dakotas running, so their governors will have to draw straws.

The Lindbergh-Baby Economy (TNR)

Timothy Noah argues that commentators who blame the White House for creating the sequester are forgetting it was a ransom they paid to end the debt ceiling crisis, while the GOP's rhetoric was one step above cutting and pasting letters from magazines.

Austerity, Italian Style (NYT)

Paul Krugman writes that in the current Italian elections, Mario Monti, Germany's PM-by-proxy, is running behind both Silvio Berlusconi and an actual comedian. It seems Italian voters have decided the proper response to austerity is to laugh rather than cry.

The recession was her fault (Salon)

David Dayen notes that the Justice Department has successfully prosecuted and jailed Lorraine Brown, the one woman responsible for inventing mortgage fraud all by herself. How could you do it, Lorraine? Those poor mortgage servicers were counting on you.

The 2% Mystery: Why Has QE3 Been Such a Bust? (The Atlantic)

Matthew O'Brien argues this round of quantitative easing hasn't been effective because the Fed doesn't want it to be, which is why it says it will accept slightly higher inflation in the same tone you use to tell your partner you're okay with the in-laws coming to visit.

White House directs open access for government research (Reuters)

Mark Felsenthal reports that the Obama administration is siding with critics who believe taxpayers deserve free access to the results of the research they're funding, though there will still be a one-year embargo to make sure we don't all innovate our faces off.

This Week in Poverty: How Obama Can Fight Hunger Now (The Nation)

Greg Kaufmann highlights a new report that outlines executive actions President Obama can take to advance his pledge to end childhood hunger and offset sequestration cuts that would otherwise leave many low-income Americans fighting for scraps.

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Daily Digest - February 22: If At First You Don't Succeed, Make Everyone Else Suffer

Feb 22, 2013Tim Price

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Sequester of Fools (NYT)

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Sequester of Fools (NYT)

Paul Krugman writes that two years after the quest for a grand bargain ended with the flame-out of the Simpson-Bowles commission, the only fiscal crisis we face isn't the one they warned about, but the one that was designed to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

We're All Women Workers Now: How the Floor of the Economy Has Dropped for Everyone (The Nation)

NND Editor Bryce Covert argues that while the workforce is now roughly evenly split between men and women, the nature of work has shifted heavily toward old-fashioned girly jobs -- look nice, smile, earn a little pocket money, and don't get too comfortable.

Obama Fleshes Out Plans for Infrastructure Projects (NYT)

John Schwartz reports that the president has a three-part infrastructure investment plan, including a public-private National Infrastructure Bank, a streamlined permit process, and $50 billion to fix all the bridges being held together with duct tape and good thoughts.

Too Little, Too Late: Why? (NYRB)

To some, TARP was the worst mistake made during the financial crisis. To others (mostly its architects), it paid off in spades. Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Jeff Madrick plays claims adjuster and provides a full damage assessment of the Geithner legacy. (Note: subscribers only.)

Why Should Taxpayers Give Banks $83 Billion a Year? (Bloomberg)

Big banks like to claim their size gives them some sort of edge, but an editorial argues they wouldn't be turning a profit without the lower borrowing costs that result from the government standing by to perform first aid in case they collapse under their own weight.

A Tax That May Change the Trading Game (NYT)

Floyd Norris writes that Europe looks ready to embrace a financial transactions tax to help rein in high-frequency trading and recoup its losses from the financial crisis, and like all European fashions, they're hoping it will catch on in America in the next few years.

Financial Reform's Triple "F" Rating (Prospect)

David Dayen examines Dodd-Frank's failure to overhaul the credit rating system in which issuers pay ratings agencies big bucks to evaluate the quality of their securities, or, more accurately, to tell investors what a safe and amazingly profitable bet they are.

Despite Aid, Borrowers Still Face Foreclosure (NYT)

Jessica Silver-Greenberg reports that out of the homeowners who have seen some relief from last year's big foreclosure settlement, only 13 percent got help with their primary mortgage. That explains why the banks signed the settlement papers with a ;-).

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Daily Digest - February 21: Has the Unthinkable Become Unavoidable?

Feb 21, 2013Tim Price

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Budget Cuts Seen as Risk to Growth of U.S. Economy (NYT)

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Budget Cuts Seen as Risk to Growth of U.S. Economy (NYT)

Binyamin Appelbaum and Annie Lowrey report that forecasters predict the sequester will shave about half a percentage point off GDP, but policymakers intentionally designed the whole thing to have horrible consequences, so maybe it's best not to encourage them.

The GOP's Budget Denialism (TNR)

Jonathan Cohn argues that Republicans must accept that the government is going to keep growing and revenue must grow with it. Otherwise they can either print more money (nope) or simply maintain that we shouldn't pay for things, an ethos shared by shoplifters.

New study badly undermines GOP position on sequester (WaPo)

Greg Sargent highlights a study from a Congressional Research Service analyst who finds that the single greatest driver of inequality over a period of 15 years has been income from capital gains and dividends, or as the GOP's constituents refer to it, income.

Unemployed would lose benefits if federal budget cuts go through (CNNMoney)

Tami Luhby notes that the sequester will cut extended federal unemployment benefits by almost 10 percent, which some members of Congress no doubt view as an added incentive for recipients to go get a job before Congress is finished destroying them all.

Connecting Entitlement Reform to Immigration Reform (Robert Reich)

Reich writes that one of the biggest fiscal challenges for Social Security and Medicare is that there will be fewer young workers supporting more retirees in coming years. Luckily, we have tons of immigrant workers eager to lend a hand if we'd stop slapping it away.

A jump-start for American wages (WaPo)

Harold Meyerson notes that there are big deals going down in the corporate world, from Comcast buying NBC to Warren Buffett buying a liftetime supply of ketchup, but workers still aren't seeing a dime, and they won't unless the government sets wage standards.

Why Degree Inflation Hits Women Workers Hardest (Businessweek)

Sheelah Kolhatkar writes that as bachelor's degrees become a requirement for administrative jobs, women are having a harder time getting a foot in the door -- though our research finds those jobs disappearing, so the entrance might be bricked over anyway.

Friends in Low Places: Where the Real Lobbying Happens (ProPublica)

Jesse Eisinger argues that despite the controversy over top-level regulatory nominations like Mary Jo White, the real action takes place in the back rooms, where a bunch of lobbyists-turned-staffers whom you've never heard of are deciding which master to serve.

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Daily Digest - February 20: Diving Into the Deep Cuts

Feb 20, 2013Tim Price

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Homeless, Hungry, Hung Out to Dry (Prospect)

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Homeless, Hungry, Hung Out to Dry (Prospect)

With just over a week to go before Sequestration Day (Have you made your party plans yet? Bought the budget piñata for the kids?), NND Editor Bryce Covert looks at the people and programs that will be affected by deep discretionary spending cuts.

Moving the Goal Posts: Simpson and Bowles Renege on Their Own Plan for More Revenue (Think Progress)

Jeff Spross notes that Simpson-Bowles 2: Simpson-Bowles Harder would build on existing deficit reduction measures by adding a lot more spending cuts and just a little more revenue, bringing it more in line with the imaginary version Republicans support.

One on One: Susan P. Crawford, Author of 'Captive Audience' (NYT)

Brian Chen talks to Roosevelt Institute Fellow Susan Crawford about how the deregulation and merger of telecom giants is stifling competition and high-speed Internet access, making it that much harder to watch the Gangnam Style parodies your aunt sends you.

The Real Problem With the Big Banks (New Yorker)

James Surowiecki argues that if you strip away all the incomprehensible derivatives schemes and make banks more transparent, they're still going to be banks, which, even in their vanilla form, require much stricter regulation than your corner drug store.

Prosecutors, Shifting Strategy, Build New Wall Street Cases (NYT)

Ben Protess reports that the Justice Department plans to start taking a tougher approach with financial fraud cases, emphasizing guilty pleas over fines and promises of good behavior. In layman's terms, this strategy is known as "trying to win the case."

Ten Things You Should Know About #TheRealTANF (The Nation)

Greg Kaufmann clears up common misconceptions about the low-income financial assistance program as it comes up for renewal, highlighting key facts about how it works, who it's reaching, and why it's failing. Spoilers: They're all pretty depressing.

Southern poverty pimps (Salon)

Michael Lind argues that, like so much in American culture, our economic debate is all about the North-South divide -- specifically, between the northern model that invests in people and the southern model that relies on treating them as poorly as possible.

How the ultra-rich are pulling away from the 'merely' rich (WaPo)

Dylan Matthews notes that new data from Piketty and Saez show inequality is increasing even at the very top, where people are getting so rich that they're discovering previously unknown categories of richness, like the Lewises and Clarks of affluence.

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Daily Digest - February 19: America Immobilized

Feb 19, 2013Tim Price

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Equal Opportunity, Our National Myth (NYT)

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Equal Opportunity, Our National Myth (NYT)

Roosevelt Institute Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz writes that the poor-but-economically-mobile girl described in President Obama's State of the Union address is as much an American icon as Uncle Sam, but they're both from the fictional side of the family.

Raise That Wage (NYT)

With a nudge from analysts like Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal, Paul Krugman concludes that raising the minimum wage is good economics, good politics, and a good thing for workers -- also known as the top three reasons the GOP will oppose it.

Pretty Words, Dismal Economics (Prospect)

Robert Kuttner argues that while the State of the Union laid out a strong progressive agenda, the Budget Control Act and the president's fretting about how much his plans will cost could undermine him. He's the guy who slows down the whole check-out line.

Scarborough and Friends Trying to Make 'Debt Deniers' Happen (NY Mag)

Jonathan Chait updates us on Joe Scarborough's ongoing crusade to prove he understands the economy better than Nobel-winning economists because he has strong morals and also a talk show and all his friends agree with him on his show so shut up.

Why aren't more countries run by economists? (WaPo)

Brad Plumer highlights a new paper that finds most countries don't put trained economists in charge unless they're in the middle of a crisis, though anyone familiar with economists probably understands why it's best not to leave them unsupervised for too long.

The Myth of the Rich Who Flee From Taxes (NYT)

James B. Stewart notes that the idea that raising taxes will cause a mass exodus of millionaires to more friendly climes just isn't supported by the evidence, much as we might be tempted to set fiscal policy according to how it makes random pro golfers feel.

Wall Street wins again? Not so fast. (WaPo)

The Residential Mortgage Backed Securities working group just celebrated one full year of accomplishing nothing. But Katrina vanden Heuvel argues that instead of congratulating ourselves for calling it, we should figure out how to make year two less of a farce.

The Second-Mortgage Shell Game (NYT)

Elizabeth M. Lynch notes that the terms of settlements with banks have allowed them to write off second mortgages while keeping troubled primary mortgages intact, which is about as helpful as pouring someone a glass of water while their house is burning down.

A Valuable U.S. Export: Banking Regulations (Bloomberg)

Simon Johnson writes that while Europe has begun to back down from promised reforms in the hope that happier banks will lend more, American policymakers are warming to the idea of tougher regulations, even if some just like to look at France and do the opposite.

Signed, Sealed, Deposited (Pacific Standard)

David Dayen argues that allowing the Postal Service to offer simple banking services again would help put it back in the black and give the unbanked access to the financial system. Probably still not a good idea to send around envelopes full of cash, though.

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Daily Digest - February 15: Don't Be Afraid of the Minimum Wage

Feb 15, 2013Tim Price

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Minimum Wage 101 (Prospect)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal talks to minimum wage scholar Arindrajit Dube about why President Obama's new proposal to set the federal minimum to $9 an hour will help raise wages and increase job stability -- except for minimum wage scholars.

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Minimum Wage 101 (Prospect)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal talks to minimum wage scholar Arindrajit Dube about why President Obama's new proposal to set the federal minimum to $9 an hour will help raise wages and increase job stability -- except for minimum wage scholars.

Why the Minimum Wage Is a Woman's Issue, in Three Charts (Think Progress)

Annie-Rose Strasser writes that a report shows women comprise 64 percent of minimum wage earners, and over 17 million -- and their families -- would benefit from an increase. Inform the generals leading the war on women that it's time for a strategic redeployment.

What Labor Can Learn from the Obama Campaign (The Nation)

Suresh Naidu and Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren argue labor should take a cue from the "big data" and microtargeting techniques that mobilized Obama supporters. Don't be freaked out if your union leader starts e-mailing you dinner invitations with subjects like "hey."

Rubio and the Zombies (NYT)

Paul Krugman notes that Marco Rubio's State of the Union response rehashed thoroughly discredited right-wing claims about the government causing the financial crisis and crowding out private investment. And those were actually the less embarrassing parts of the speech.

There are now four big plans to stop the sequester (WaPo)

Brad Plumer explains the details of the Senate Democrats' new plan, the House Republicans' old plan, the House Democrats' current plan, and President Obama's non-specific plan, all of which are still worse than if they'd never manufactured this debacle in the first place.

Clint Eastwood and Barney Frank Attack the Pentagon (Bloomberg)

It's not just the premise for the greatest buddy duo action-comedy of all time. Ezra Klein points out that both Frank and the Man with No Name are skeptical of defense spending, and if those two can find common ground, it shouldn't be that hard for everyone else.

Big Corporations Put Up Seed Funding for Republican Dark Money Group (ProPublica)

At some point we've all wondered, what exactly do corporations do with all that money they're not paying their workers? According to Justin Elliott, one thing they do is donate a million dollars to shady Republican nonprofits like the State Government Leadership Foundation.

Elizabeth Warren Embarrasses Hapless Bank Regulators at First Hearing (HuffPo)

Ryan Grim notes that Senator Warren posed some tough questions about why financial fraudsters have escaped prosecution at yesterday's Banking Committee hearing. But hey, a lot of people didn't want her leading the CFPB, and they got their wish. God help them.

Gangster Banksters: Too Big to Jail (Rolling Stone)

We've pretty firmly established at this point that no one's going to jail for causing the near-collapse of the global economy, but what other crimes can banks get away with? How about money-laundering for drug dealers and terrorists? As Matt Taibbi writes, that's a big yes.

Your New Landlord Works on Wall Street (TNR)

David Dayen writes that the latest housing recovery lookalike is largely the result of banks and hedge funds buying up properties and converting them into rentals for eventual resale. They must have gotten tips on some great real estate they helped kick the old owners out of.

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Daily Digest - February 14: How Rubio Got It All Wrong

Feb 13, 2013Tim Price

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No, Marco Rubio, government did not cause the housing crisis (WaPo)

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No, Marco Rubio, government did not cause the housing crisis (WaPo)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal argues that Marco Rubio's State of the Union response had problems that even a bigger bottle of Poland Spring couldn't have fixed, like how it blamed the housing bubble on the government extending credit to poor people.

Yes, President Obama: Working Families Desperately Need Access to Preschool -- And Childcare (Forbes)

NND Editor Bryce Covert notes that while the president's surprising call for universal pre-K is great news for children who will benefit from early education, it would also help working parents whose office culture frowns on carrying their kids around in a papoose.

Details Emerge on Obama's Call to Extend Preschool (NYT)

Motoko Rich reports that the president's plan would expand the Head Start program and provide federal matching dollars to states to create more public preschool slots, though critics argue the money could be wasted. Hmm, better give it to a rich adult instead.

The Economics Behind Obama's Unapologetically Liberal Second-Term Agenda (The Atlantic)

Heather Boushey writes that President Obama's proposals for investing in the middle class might sound like blatant pandering to progressives, but the upside is that the research shows that the things progressives want are also just smart things to do.

Obama embraces the audacity of freedom (WaPo)

E.J. Dionne writes that the Obama who spoke on Tuesday night seems more confident in challenging conservative ideology now that he's been reelected, but he's obviously still interested in building a majority consensus, not seizing the means of production.

Raise the Minimum Wage! (TNR)

Timothy Noah is pleased to hear the words "minimum wage" escape President Obama's lips for the first time since 2008, but less enthused about the "$9 an hour" part. As long as we're raising the floor on wages, why not do the same for our ambitions?

Growth isn't enough to help the middle class (WaPo)

Jim Tankersley writes that proposals from both parties are grounded in the idea that economic growth will lead to broadly shared prosperity, but the last few recoveries haven't brought many good jobs with them. Maybe it's time for us to get that growth checked.

Small Businesses Still Struggle, and That's Impeding a Recovery (NYT)

Catherine Rampell writes that small businesses continue to struggle with weak sales and limited access to credit, although they're increasingly likely to complain about new taxes and regulations the White House would be surprised to learn it has passed.

Bushonomics Is Back (Slate)

Matthew Yglesias argues that Rubio, like Bobby Jindal, is trying to reposition the GOP to deemphasize Paul Ryan's relentless austerity and embrace the legacy of their prodigal president, George W. Bush, who just wanted to cut taxes and paint his feelings.

Valentine's Day and the Economics of Love (Bloomberg)

Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers write that survey data shows that money does seem to buy a little more love for those who have it, but there's plenty to go around even in relatively impoverished parts of the world. And lucky for us, it's a renewable resource.

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Daily Digest - February 13: Opportunity's Knocking. It Wants Back In.

Feb 13, 2013Tim Price

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In State of the Union, Obama calls for new paths to the middle class (WaPo)

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In State of the Union, Obama calls for new paths to the middle class (WaPo)

Zachary Goldfarb writes that the focus of President Obama's economic proposals in last night's speech was on addressing inequality of opportunity, so that everyone who works hard has the ability to climb the ladder instead of rappelling downward on a frayed rope.

In an Age of Spending Cuts, Making the Case for Government (NYT)

Richard Stevenson notes that Obama broke with conventional wisdom by suggesting the government has responsibilities other than shrinking itself, though he doesn't want to spend an extra dime. How about two nickels? Can we get 10 pennies on the bargaining table?

The Most Important Chart About the Deficit You'll Ever See (The Atlantic)

Matthew O'Brien argues that the people who actually care about bringing down the long-term deficit are the ones who want to make it bigger right now to create more jobs, since running out of money isn't nearly as big a concern as having no one making any.

Obama Urges Minimum Wage Increase and First-Ever Indexing (The Nation)

Josh Eidelson highlights one of the most ambitious policies advanced last night, Obama's proposal to raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour and tie it to the cost of living. It's welcome news to unions, who, according to the prepared text of the speech, do not exist.

The Complexities of Obama's Universal Pre-Kindergarten Plan (TNR)

Jonathan Cohn takes a closer look at last night's other big idea: making preschool available and affordable for all children, helping to develop their minds and implant the trigger words their liberal professors will one day use to indoctrinate them. Oh, I've said too much.

In Shovels, a Remedy for Jobs and Growth (NYT)

Eduardo Porter writes that failing to invest in our crumbling infrastructure is irresponsible and economically costly, even if merely whispering the word "stimulus" is enough to make some conservatives run and hide under their beds until the danger has passed.

The collateral damage of cutting postal service (WaPo)

Katrina vanden Heuvel argues that the USPS's current fiscal crisis is the result of the GOP once again "fixing" what wasn't broke by requiring it to prefund its retirement benefits. Can't have a vital public service operating in the black, so better tell it to bankrupt itself.

How to Include Domestic Workers in Immigration Reform (The Nation)

NND Editor Bryce Covert looks at a new report from IWPR that suggests ways to fully integrate domestic workers into immigration reform, since those who care for our homes and loved ones deserve as much recognition as people who are really good at calculus.

Fix the Debt and a Wall Street Sales Tax (HuffPo)

Dean Baker notes that for a bunch of guys who claim to be terribly concerned about America's fiscal health, it's odd that Fix the Debt doesn't support a financial transactions tax to help raise revenue and rein in speculation. Odd, and yet absolutely predictable.

Big Banks Are Told to Review Their Own Foreclosures (NYT)

Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Ben Protess report that after the failure of the independent foreclosure reviews, regulators have put banks in charge of distributing settlement money to homeowners. Well, there's no way this can end in a multi-part exposé.

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Daily Digest - February 12: The Return of Investment

Feb 11, 2013Tim Price

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For Obama, State of the Union Means State of the People (Fiscal Times)

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For Obama, State of the Union Means State of the People (Fiscal Times)

Mark Thoma notes that while Eric Cantor says the GOP should be "talking about helping folks," President Obama is the one who's actually going to be laying out a plan to do that tonight, and the Republican response is unlikely to be "Yeah, what he said!"

Why We Need an Investment Budget (Robert Reich)

Reich argues that federal budget-makers should treat public investments differently than current spending, since the short-term cost of rebuilding a bridge is outweighed by the value of not having to caulk our cars or ford the river like we're playing Oregon Trail.

Is Congress really going to miss its free lunch on infrastructure? (WaPo)

Neil Irwin writes that we may be nearing the end of a window in which private construction is dormant and investors are practically paying the government to build, but the current Republican leadership only seems to know how to knock over the other kids' blocks.

A Bad Idea Returns: The Balanced-Budget Amendment (New Yorker)

John Cassidy writes that Republicans are once again lining up behind a constitutional amendment that would require the federal government to balance its budget every year, which might be a little less popular if it were called the Annual Recession Amendment.

Austerity's Unintended Consequences (Prospect)

Yannis Palaiologos notes that austerity seems to have stabilized the Eurozone for the moment, but there's economic turmoil and political upheaval ahead as leaders try to put the crisis behind them and get back to the business of comically corrupt government.

Increasing Social Security Benefits: An Idea Whose Time Has Come (Our Future)

Richard Eskow argues that with retirement security becoming an oxymoron as private benefit plans and investments fail to pay off, it's time to beef up the one program proven to work for everyone, not carve it up on the butcher's block of bipartisan compromise.

Regulation Not Holding Back Hiring (WSJ)

Michael Derby highlights new research from the San Francisco Federal Reserve that finds businesses are reluctant to hire because of lack of demand, not phantom government regulations. The Job Creators have spoken; let no mere mortal contradict them.

SEC Revolving Door Fuels Wall Street's Too Big To Fail Problem (HuffPo)

Zach Carter flags a report from the Project on Government Oversight that argues the steady migration of SEC officials into top corporate jobs is weaking enforcement and encouraging special treatment, kind of like if the mafia had recruiters at FBI headquarters.

The Government Whiffs, Again, on Mortgage Servicer Abuse (Washington Monthly)

David Dayen notes that the CFPB's new mortgage rules are a serious step toward preventing future abuses by loan originators, but it's the middlemen you really need to watch out for, and they're still getting paid in proportion to the human misery they create.

The Underpopulation Bomb (NYT)

Nancy Folbre writes that fearmongering about declining fertility rates and the graying of the population has become popular, but for all the concern about how having fewer babies will hurt the economy, there's little talk about incentivizing more baby production.

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Daily Digest - February 11: Speaking of Jobs

Feb 11, 2013Tim Price

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In State of the Union, Obama to return to jobs and the economy (WaPo)

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In State of the Union, Obama to return to jobs and the economy (WaPo)

Scott Wilson reports that the president's speech on Tuesday night will address the elephant in the room along with the several hundred smaller elephants who will sit in stony silence as he proposes measures to create jobs and stimulate economic growth.

On the sequester, the only way to win is not to play (WaPo)

Jamelle Bouie notes that the Democrats' party line is that the sequester should be replaced with a smaller, more balanced package of spending cuts and tax increases, but the best answer is to release the hostages, not to agree to rough them up a little less.

Is the Fever Breaking? (TNR)

Jonathan Cohn writes that cracks are forming in the GOP's united front of opposition as they have second thoughts about slashing defense spending and turning down Medicaid funds. Though in some cases, it might be more accurate to call them "first thoughts."

Quietly Killing a Consumer Watchdog (NYT)

An editorial argues that the changes to the CFPB that Republicans are demanding before they'll allow Richard Cordray's nomination to go through are just another excuse for them to water down financial reform like they're tending bar at the worst dive in town.

Good news! The economy probably didn't shrink last quarter, after all (WaPo)

Brad Plumer notes that the Commerce Department's report that the U.S. trade deficit fell 21 percent in December suggests the economy is doing better than projected, which is to say it may be crawling forward on all fours rather than lying face-down in a ditch.

By Gender and by Age, an Unequal Recovery (NYT)

Floyd Norris writes that women, especially middle-aged women, have experienced a much weaker recovery than men, actually losing ground in their share of jobs for the first time in decades. If the so-called "End of Men" is upon us, we're really going out with a bang.

Liberal Arts Majors Didn't Kill the Economy (The Atlantic)

Matthew O'Brien argues that there's no correlation between higher unemployment among college grads and the number of college students who are studying liberal arts, dad. So take pride in that English degree and don't give up hope for a close-reading boom.

A Growing Trend: Young, Liberal and Open to Big Government (NYT)

Sheryl Gay Stolberg visits Montana and profiles the young voters and activists who have been shaped by the Great Recession and the sheer diversity of their peers. For progressives wondering how to win the argument about government, the answer may be: wait.

Rings of Unemployment (NYT)

Catherine Rampell highlights research showing that four out of five Americans were either laid off themselves or have friends and relatives who were laid off during the last few years. The other one out of five don't have very many friends, for obvious reasons.

This Week in Poverty: Revealing the Real TANF (The Nation)

Greg Kaufmann argues that the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program can only be counted as a bipartisan success if the goal was to minimize the amount of assistance those needy families get rather than the amount of assistance that they need.

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