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The Lansing-Beijing connection (WaPo)
Harold Meyerson argues that Michigan Republicans share more in common with China's Communist Party than they might think: despite a growing gap between profits and wages, they both view unions as a threat to their political regime. Also, they wear a lot of gray.
Yank the Chain: Washington's Terrible New Social Security Fix (TNR)
Timothy Noah writes that a popular proposal to change the formula used to calculate increases in Social Security would amount to a benefit cut for seniors, for whom the rising cost of cheese doesn't carry quite the same weight as the rising cost of heart surgery.
When government does things better than private enterprise (LA Times)
Michael Hiltzik argues that government is the best answer when it's the cheapest answer, and Social Security and Medicare will remain the most affordable way to meet their recipients' needs unless entitlement reform includes a quest for the Fountain of Youth.
Loopholes to Some, Lifelines to Others (NYT)
Eduardo Porter notes that many tax credits and deductions are meant to subsidize things that Republicans wouldn't directly support, so their proposal to raise revenue by closing loopholes is really a generous offer to cut spending and then cut spending again.
Beyond the 'fiscal cliff,' America's kids need more -- not less -- government spending (CS Monitor)
Lane Kenworthy makes the case that we need universal childcare and pre-K to reduce the growing opportunity gap faced by low-income children. Unfortunately, it's hard for them to pull themselves up by their bootstraps when they're still wearing Velcro sneakers.
Obama Administration Essentially Admits That Some Banks Are Too Big to Jail (HuffPo)
Mark Gongloff writes that the decision to let HSBC off with just $1.9 billion in fines for fear of systemic risks sends a clear message to big banks involved in money laundering: if you're going to commit a crime, for God's sake, make sure you commit a lot of it.
Five things to look for out of the Fed today (WaPo)
Get hype, Bernanketeers! The FOMC will announce the results of its latest meeting today, followed by a press conference with the Fed chairman. Neil Irwin has the rundown on what to expect: more bond purchases. Yeah, that's pretty much it. Go about your business.
Walmart Workers Model 'Minority Unionism' (The Nation)
Josh Eidelson notes that while U.S. law only recognizes unions that can show majority support, Walmart strikers have demonstrated the advantage of being numerous enough to have a voice but spread out enough that it's difficult for corporate to play Whack-a-Mole.
The Billionaires' Long Game (Prospect)
Robert Reich writes that although the GOP's losses in 2012 suggest that the billionaires who supported them were flushing money down the toilet, sooner or later they'll spend enough to clog the pipes, and then the glorious overflow will wash away their enemies.
Deconstructing Dodd-Frank (NYT)
Just how complicated is Dodd-Frank? Complicated enough that even the infographic explaining the lobbying, rulemaking, and implementation involved is a little difficult to follow. But at least the gray and beige pallet helps bring out the excitement in the process.