Daily Digest - April 19: Austerity's Excel-lent Excuse

Apr 19, 2013Tim Price

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The Excel Depression (NYT)

Paul Krugman writes that Reinhart-Rogoff became the sacred text of the austerity movement, but they've been exposed as false prophets. Now policymakers will need to find some other thinly veiled excuse to keep doing what they were going to do anyway.

Let Cities Build Better Internet-Access Networks (Bloomberg)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Susan Crawford notes that Georgia voted down a bill that would have blocked cities from investing in access, and it could be a turning point in the effort to stop state legislators from acting as paid freelancers for AT&T and Time Warner.

The Debt We Shouldn't Pay (NYRB)

Robert Kuttner argues that debates over public debt have become a sideshow distracting from the privately held debt that actually triggered the Great Recession, as if someone shouted, "Hey, look over there!" and we all proceeded to stare at nothing for four years.

Did underwater mortgages kill the economy? (WaPo)

Housing may finally be bouncing back (though if you had a dime for every time someone's said that, you could buy a house), but Zachary Goldfarb highlights research that shows the biggest problem may have been household debt, not just falling home prices.

The Fed's Foreclosure-Relief Fail (Prospect)

David Dayen explores the strange odyssey of Debbie Marler, a woman who was kicked out of her home, foreclosed on twice more for good measure, asked to pay upkeep on the property she no longer lived in, and received a whopping $800 for her troubles.

This Is the Reality of Austerity: Greek Children Are Starving (The Atlantic)

When critics say austerity is taking food out of people's mouths, they're not speaking metaphorically. Derek Thompson flags a report of children going hungry and families burning furniture for warmth as Greece pays the price for being a member of the EU.

Kansas Passes Law to Drug-Test Welfare and Unemployment Recipients (Think Progress)

What's the matter with Kansas? If you believe Republican Governor Sam Brownback, it's that everyone's been getting high instead of working. Nicole Flatow notes that Kansas just became the ninth state to require drug tests for recipients of public benefits. 

Costly and Wrong: Background Checks for Social Services in North Carolina (Policy Shop)

Ilana Novick writes that North Carolina's legislature approved background checks for recipients of food stamps, but there's no such scrutiny for richer citizens who receive government grants. ("Are you now or have you ever been a member of a yacht club?")

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