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Looking for Mister Goodpain (NYT)
Paul Krugman writes that austerians continue to scour the globe for evidence that austerity has actually worked somewhere, only to encounter disappointment and heartbreak at every turn. But for now, heaven is a place on earth, and that place is Latvia, apparently.
Americans shocked to learn that there isn't actually a Social Security crisis (Salon)
Alex Pareene notes that despite the elite consensus that Social Security cuts must be a good idea because they're so unpopular, a new opinion survey shows that the key to resolving the "crisis" in most people's minds is telling them what's really going on.
Report: Nearly Half of Americans Have No Safety Net to Keep Them Out of Poverty (AlterNet)
Lauren Kelley highlights a study that finds almost 44 percent of Americans lack adequate savings to keep them afloat for more than three months and a third have no savings at all. Have they double-checked their offshore tax havens? Sometimes it just slips your mind.
The Idiocy of Sequestration (Slate)
Matthew Yglesias provides an explainer on the sequester, a $1.2 trillion package of painful, unnecessary, and ultimately pointless spending cuts that exists because the two parties could only work together on something when neither of them wanted it to happen.
The Wrong Kind of Immigration Spending (Prospect)
Paul Waldman notes that while immigration tapered off in the wake of the Great Recession, the Obama administration ramped up deportations and sank $18 billion into enforcement in 2012. All we're missing is a sphinx to pose riddles to travelers at the border.
Jacob Lew, Mary Jo White and Dunbar's Number (NYT)
Simon Johnson writes that what worries reformers about Obama's picks for Treasury and the SEC isn't their policy record but their Wall Street-heavy circle of friends, like when you start dating someone and then notice that they follow Nickelback on Twitter.
Libor Lies Revealed in Rigging of $300 Trillion Benchmark (Bloomberg)
Liam Vaughan and Gavin Finch explore how derivatives traders orchestrated the biggest financial fraud of all time while regulators somehow managed to convince themselves that the honor system was more than adequate with 15-figure sums on the line.
Doubt Is Cast on Firms Hired to Help Banks (NYT)
Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Ben Protess report that critics are asking whether regulators have leaned too heavily on consulting firms who are being paid by the banks they're supposed to review. But "Good job with all those crimes!" is still technically a review.
Could New Orleans Be the Labor Movement's Next Frontier? (The Nation)
Roosevelt Institute | Pipeline Fellow Nona Willis Aronowitz argues that the influx of young people into New Orleans' hospitality industry could create a critical mass for unionization, but it depends on whether they identify as current bartender or future novelist.
Labor of Love: The enforced happiness of Pret A Manger (TNR)
Timothy Noah looks at the growing trend toward "emotional labor," which demands that employees not only show up on time and do their jobs well but convince you that their greatest dream in life is to be behind that counter making you a $10 sandwich.