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For Obama, a Victory That Also Holds Risks (NYT)
David Leonhardt notes that while President Obama got most of what he wanted in the fiscal cliff deal, he also gave up most of his leverage on the debt ceiling and other future showdowns. The question is, has he won in a way that leaves him nothing to do but lose?
Biggest fiscal cliff lessons (Salon)
Joan Walsh has four takeaways from the fiscal farce: the wealthy lost less than working stiffs, no one really cares about the deficit, Social Security and Medicare still aren't safe, and Nancy Pelosi runs the House (she's just letting someone else hold her gavel).
Spare the Stimulus, Spoil the Recovery (Prospect)
Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal argues that the U.S. is already halfway through its very own lost decade, and the effects of phased-in austerity on the fragile but improving housing market will determine whether we get a real recovery or go for the back five.
U.S. now on pace for European levels of austerity in 2013 (WaPo)
Brad Plumer writes that even with the deal in place, Congress is set to enact $336 billion worth of spending cuts and tax increases, putting the U.S. ahead of countries like Britain and Spain in the "how far we can push people before they set stuff on fire?" sweepstakes.
FEMA Says Flood Insurance Program Will Be Broke By Next Week Without New Aid Bill (HuffPo)
John Rudolf notes that while FEMA is running out of money to help Sandy victims, House Republicans are dragging their feet on a relief package. It's even earned them a public tongue-lashing from Chris Christie, usually reserved for teachers and random passersby.
Should Social Security Cuts Be on the Table?: No Need to Cut the Little That Recipients Get (NYT)
Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Jeff Madrick argues that despite the deficit hawks' sleight of hand, Social Security isn't facing any sort of crisis, and there are much better ways to fix its finances than by downgrading its current benefits from inadequate to insulting.
The Poor Still Can't Breathe Easy Post-Fiscal Cliff (The Nation)
NND Editor Bryce Covert writes that while the poor got off easier than many feared in the fiscal cliff deal, they still took some painful blows, and the looming debt ceiling battle is the part where the defeated slasher villain stands back up and grabs his machete.
'Cliff' Deal is a Decent Start for Low-Income Americans (The Nation)
At the risk of interrupting some quality despair, Greg Kaufmann argues that progressives should instead accentuate the positives of the current deal: extensions of the EITC, child tax credit, and unemployment benefits, and no cuts to food stamps or entitlements.
Let's be straight on 'investing in our middle class' (EPI)
Lawrence Mishel writes that by attempting to spin the fiscal cliff deal as an investment in the middle class while bragging about how much it has shrunk the government, the White House is trying to have its cake, eat it too, and claim it's actually a revolutionary diet.
Time to play offense for the social safety net (MSNBC)
Ned Resnikoff makes the case that instead of constantly trying to defend the safety net from cuts, progressives should push to make it bigger and better and adopt the GOP's strategy of beating their heads against the politically impossible until it becomes a reality.