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The Real Battle Over Inequality Is Happening in the Heartland (Robert Reich)
Robert Reich argues that when we treat the political debate like a twist-filled soap opera about Barack Obama, John Boehner, and the fiscal cliff that drives them apart, we're missing a more important story about how the war on unions is crushing the middle class.
This Is Not Wisconsin. It's Worse. (Prospect)
Rich Yeselson writes that Michigan's right-to-work law stings worse than other labor losses because the union-busters have planted their flag in the home of the once-mighty UAW. Now there's little to keep them from churning out similar bills on the assembly line.
What do 'right-to-work' laws do to a state's economy? (WaPo)
Brad Plumer runs through the research, which suggests that right-to-work laws provide little obvious economic benefit but are very effective if the goal is to weaken unions and depress workers' wages. And since that definitely is the goal, they're working perfectly.
To Save His Second Term, Obama Must Go Over the Fiscal Cliff (TNR)
Noam Scheiber argues that President Obama can't afford to cut a deal with a Republican Party in which Ann Coulter represents the moderate perspective unless he wants them to believe that "pass these cuts or we'll shoot this dog" is an effective bargaining strategy.
Washington Doesn't Have a Spending Problem. It Has a Healthcare Problem. Period. (MoJo)
Kevin Drum notes that total federal spending has declined over the last few decades while Medicare costs have risen due to our third-world health care system. For best results, read "runaway government spending" as "spending on stuff Rush told us we don't like."
Dear Conservatives: Your Opposition to Family Planning Comes with a Huge Price Tag (The Nation)
NND Editor Bryce Covert writes that efforts to slash state support for family planning are backfiring as more low-income women give birth and wind up relying on state assistance. They were so busy defending the unborn, they just plain forgot about helping the born.
Job truthers' latest myth: Government doing all the hiring (Salon)
Alex Seitz-Wald notes that conservatives' latest justification for dismissing gains in the job market is that it's all due to government hiring (which doesn't count, because reasons). But there are some flaws with this theory, like how it is literally the opposite of the truth.
'Underemployed': The TV Show That Nails How the Recession Changed Sex (The Atlantic)
Roosevelt Institute Fellow Nona Willis Aronowitz looks at the MTV series' portrayal of how the economy drains the romance from sex and turns it into yet another complication to deal with while you're doing an unpaid internship and sleeping on your friend's couch.
Mortgage Crisis Presents a New Reckoning to Banks (NYT)
Jessica Silver-Greenberg reports that banks are facing a new wave of lawsuits that carry a potentially massive price tag, but like any good money-managing institution, their approach is to dodge their creditors and try not to think about how much it could cost.
Big Money Still Had Destructive Role in 2012 Elections (Bloomberg)
Albert Hunt writes that while all that Super PAC spending progressives feared wasn't able to buy the White House or the Senate, it was more than enough to shape primaries and legislation and buy Anna Wintour a four-year trip back to the U.K. (specifically, its embassy).