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Cliff Notes on the Three Real Perils Ahead (Robert Reich)
Reich argues that the fiscal cliff is more like a big pit Congress has dug for itself, but lawmakers are also marching blindly toward disaster on child poverty, rising health care costs, and climate change. Are the elephants and the donkeys really lemmings at heart?
The GOP's bizarre 'doomsday plan' (WaPo)
Ezra Klein notes that Republicans have a fall-back plan for the fiscal cliff: cut a deal on taxes, then trigger an immediate debt ceiling battle and a potential global financial crisis. As a pitch to voters, "If we're going down, we're taking all of you with us!" could use work.
Everything You Need to Know About the Fiscal Cliff Plans, in Charts (The Atlantic)
Matthew O'Brien matches up Simpson-Bowles with the Obama administration's deficit-cutting plan and the GOP's proposal in pie chart form, illustrating that the first two recipes are heavy on revenue while the Republican pie contains a delicious filling of mysteries.
IMF: Budget cuts hurt growth a lot. But tax increases barely matter. (WaPo)
Howard Schneider highlights a new IMF study that predicts cutting $1 in spending under current economic conditions would cost the U.S. $1.80 in economic output while higher taxes would hardly make a dent. So, Obama's ACORN infiltrators got to them too, did they?
The Importance of Elizabeth Warren (Prospect)
Robert Kuttner argues that Elizabeth Warren's appointment to the Senate Banking Committee is a huge victory for progressives, and if anything, her deep background on these issues makes her almost overqualified, like Bill Gates applying for a job at an IT center.
The conservative learning curve (WaPo)
E.J. Dionne notes that in the wake of the shocking-to-them election results, GOP wunderkinds Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio seem to realize they must at least sound as if they care about poor people, and even George W. Bush is serving as an unlikely voice of reason.
Hurricane Sandy Victims Say Mortgage Companies Dismiss Pleas for Loan Help (HuffPo)
Ben Hallman reports that some New York and New Jersey residents affected by Hurricane Sandy are struggling to get lenders to offer forbearance on their mortgage payments, even though they've been converted from homeowners to muddy wreckage owners.
Cory Booker's food stamp challenge: Stunt or learning experience? (MSNBC)
Ned Resnikoff asks the experts whether the Newark mayor's decision to live on food stamps for a week will impart any valuable lessons or if it's just a way to grab headlines until he finds another burning building to run into. The answer? A resounding "Ehhh, maybe?"
The Decadence of Procreation (NY Mag)
Ann Friedman argues that given the high costs of raising a child and all the sacrifices that entails in the U.S., conservatives like Ross Douthat shouldn't be blaming women for being too selfish to have babies but asking why so many are priced out of the market.
America's 'actually existing' worker-owned capitalism (Guardian)
Moira Herbst notes that while some employers in the U.S. might regard their employees as those annoying people who are always hanging around begging for money, companies that give their workers a real stake in the business have had great success.