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In State of the Union, Obama calls for new paths to the middle class (WaPo)
Zachary Goldfarb writes that the focus of President Obama's economic proposals in last night's speech was on addressing inequality of opportunity, so that everyone who works hard has the ability to climb the ladder instead of rappelling downward on a frayed rope.
In an Age of Spending Cuts, Making the Case for Government (NYT)
Richard Stevenson notes that Obama broke with conventional wisdom by suggesting the government has responsibilities other than shrinking itself, though he doesn't want to spend an extra dime. How about two nickels? Can we get 10 pennies on the bargaining table?
The Most Important Chart About the Deficit You'll Ever See (The Atlantic)
Matthew O'Brien argues that the people who actually care about bringing down the long-term deficit are the ones who want to make it bigger right now to create more jobs, since running out of money isn't nearly as big a concern as having no one making any.
Obama Urges Minimum Wage Increase and First-Ever Indexing (The Nation)
Josh Eidelson highlights one of the most ambitious policies advanced last night, Obama's proposal to raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour and tie it to the cost of living. It's welcome news to unions, who, according to the prepared text of the speech, do not exist.
The Complexities of Obama's Universal Pre-Kindergarten Plan (TNR)
Jonathan Cohn takes a closer look at last night's other big idea: making preschool available and affordable for all children, helping to develop their minds and implant the trigger words their liberal professors will one day use to indoctrinate them. Oh, I've said too much.
In Shovels, a Remedy for Jobs and Growth (NYT)
Eduardo Porter writes that failing to invest in our crumbling infrastructure is irresponsible and economically costly, even if merely whispering the word "stimulus" is enough to make some conservatives run and hide under their beds until the danger has passed.
The collateral damage of cutting postal service (WaPo)
Katrina vanden Heuvel argues that the USPS's current fiscal crisis is the result of the GOP once again "fixing" what wasn't broke by requiring it to prefund its retirement benefits. Can't have a vital public service operating in the black, so better tell it to bankrupt itself.
How to Include Domestic Workers in Immigration Reform (The Nation)
NND Editor Bryce Covert looks at a new report from IWPR that suggests ways to fully integrate domestic workers into immigration reform, since those who care for our homes and loved ones deserve as much recognition as people who are really good at calculus.
Fix the Debt and a Wall Street Sales Tax (HuffPo)
Dean Baker notes that for a bunch of guys who claim to be terribly concerned about America's fiscal health, it's odd that Fix the Debt doesn't support a financial transactions tax to help raise revenue and rein in speculation. Odd, and yet absolutely predictable.
Big Banks Are Told to Review Their Own Foreclosures (NYT)
Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Ben Protess report that after the failure of the independent foreclosure reviews, regulators have put banks in charge of distributing settlement money to homeowners. Well, there's no way this can end in a multi-part exposé.