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In State of the Union, Obama to return to jobs and the economy (WaPo)
Scott Wilson reports that the president's speech on Tuesday night will address the elephant in the room along with the several hundred smaller elephants who will sit in stony silence as he proposes measures to create jobs and stimulate economic growth.
On the sequester, the only way to win is not to play (WaPo)
Jamelle Bouie notes that the Democrats' party line is that the sequester should be replaced with a smaller, more balanced package of spending cuts and tax increases, but the best answer is to release the hostages, not to agree to rough them up a little less.
Is the Fever Breaking? (TNR)
Jonathan Cohn writes that cracks are forming in the GOP's united front of opposition as they have second thoughts about slashing defense spending and turning down Medicaid funds. Though in some cases, it might be more accurate to call them "first thoughts."
Quietly Killing a Consumer Watchdog (NYT)
An editorial argues that the changes to the CFPB that Republicans are demanding before they'll allow Richard Cordray's nomination to go through are just another excuse for them to water down financial reform like they're tending bar at the worst dive in town.
Good news! The economy probably didn't shrink last quarter, after all (WaPo)
Brad Plumer notes that the Commerce Department's report that the U.S. trade deficit fell 21 percent in December suggests the economy is doing better than projected, which is to say it may be crawling forward on all fours rather than lying face-down in a ditch.
By Gender and by Age, an Unequal Recovery (NYT)
Floyd Norris writes that women, especially middle-aged women, have experienced a much weaker recovery than men, actually losing ground in their share of jobs for the first time in decades. If the so-called "End of Men" is upon us, we're really going out with a bang.
Liberal Arts Majors Didn't Kill the Economy (The Atlantic)
Matthew O'Brien argues that there's no correlation between higher unemployment among college grads and the number of college students who are studying liberal arts, dad. So take pride in that English degree and don't give up hope for a close-reading boom.
A Growing Trend: Young, Liberal and Open to Big Government (NYT)
Sheryl Gay Stolberg visits Montana and profiles the young voters and activists who have been shaped by the Great Recession and the sheer diversity of their peers. For progressives wondering how to win the argument about government, the answer may be: wait.
Rings of Unemployment (NYT)
Catherine Rampell highlights research showing that four out of five Americans were either laid off themselves or have friends and relatives who were laid off during the last few years. The other one out of five don't have very many friends, for obvious reasons.
This Week in Poverty: Revealing the Real TANF (The Nation)
Greg Kaufmann argues that the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program can only be counted as a bipartisan success if the goal was to minimize the amount of assistance those needy families get rather than the amount of assistance that they need.