Daily Digest - December 10: The Mad Science of Austerity

Dec 10, 2012Tim Price

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It's Official: Austerity Economics Doesn't Work (New Yorker)

John Cassidy writes that Britain's Conservatives have experimented with austerity using the citizens of the UK as their lab rats, and the result has been economic disaster. All due respect to the scientific method, we don't need the GOP to try to reproduce their results.

Robots and Robber Barons (NYT)

How is it that corporate profits continue to reach new heights while workers' wages sink? Paul Krugman argues that it's due to the ongoing struggle between capital and labor and robots, as seen in Karl Marx's unpublished science fiction epic, Das Droid.

The Rooseveltian Precedent for Exploiting the Platinum Coin Loophole (Slate)

Paying off the national debt by minting trillion-dollar platinum coins sounds bizarre, but Matt Yglesias thinks it's similar to FDR's decision to end the gold standard: figure out what needs to be done, then find a legal precedent that looks right if you squint a bit.

In Obama's Plan to Tax Rich, $250,000 Figure May Mislead (NYT)

Catherine Rampell and Binyamin Appelbaum note that out of an abundance of caution and a desire to not create any new Fox News celebrities, the design of the president's tax plan will keep many families making $300,000 or more from paying higher taxes.

Keep Internet Free From Public and Private Meddling (Bloomberg)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Susan Crawford writes that UN members are considering online "tollgates" to monitor and charge for different types of online content. Health records may be outside your price range, but you can get a good deal on a My Little Pony Tumblr.

Five myths about the unemployed (WaPo)

Rick McGahey and Teresa Ghilarducci tackle some common misconceptions about the millions of Americans who are unemployed, like the idea that they're laughing it up at us poor working stiffs while lighting their cigars with their unemployment benefits.

This Week in Poverty: When Even Santa Can't Get a Job (The Nation)

Greg Kaufmann writes that 2 million Americans will lose their unemployment benefits by the end of the year unless Congress renews them. Some think they're entitled to more than six months of benefits just because they spent decades paying into the system.

The Mystery of Housing's Jobless Recovery (The Atlantic)

Matthew O'Brien notes that housing is up, but construction jobs aren't. But that's not because there's a new trend of haunted houses being built by the spirits that inhabit them; it's because construction workers are finally getting enough work to put in longer hours.

GOP, Koch Brothers Sneak Attack Guts Labor Rights in Michigan (The Nation)

John Nichols reports that Michigan Republicans pulled the lamest of lame duck maneuvers by passing a "right-to-work" bill, which their right-wing allies are calling a victory for workplace freedom. And in fact, union and non-union labor will now be about $1,500 freer.

Home Is Where the Union Is (Prospect)

E. Tammy Kim looks at a new report on the miserable conditions faced by home-care workers and the national and state-level movements pushing for reform and recognition of the fact that if we want these workers to care for us, we'd better start caring for them.

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