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Shared sacrifice – except for CEOs (Reuters)
Roosevelt Institute Fellow Matt Stoller writes that the fiscal cliff deal larded with corporate subsidies is just the latest manifestation of a lopsided tax system in which many companies owe their CEOs more than the IRS and the CEOs owe roughly whatever they want.
A tax deal only the ultra-rich could love (WaPo)
Harold Meyerson notes that despite the furor over raising the top tax rate on wages and salaries, the wealthiest Americans are only dimly aware of wages as the cut their household staff takes from their investment dividends, which are still taxed at a lower rate.
Tax Increases and Bull Markets (NYT)
Bruce Bartlett points out that while the GOP takes it as given that any tax increase will cause the invisible hand of the free market to ball up into a mighty fist and smite the unbelievers, historical evidence shows that raising taxes often leads to a stock market rally.
The payroll tax hike wiped out a year's worth of wage gains (WaPo)
Brad Plumer writes that after rising 2.4 percent in 2012, average weekly earnings are back at square one -- or worse -- thanks to the expiration of the payroll tax cut. And as tends to happen, Americans are planning to spend less of that money they no longer have.
Social Issues Are Economic Issues, Exhibit 1,463: Michigan's Dual Agenda Slams Low-Income Women (The Nation)
NND Editor Bryce Covert notes that the right-to-work law and abortion restrictions recently passed in Michigan may look like bad but unrelated policies, but based on how they'll affect women's wallets, it's possible to construct a Unified Theory of Awfulness.
TARP is Over, But the Bailouts Will Continue Until the Big Banks are Broken Up (Robert Reich)
With the Treasury Department preparing to sell off its final shares of banks and General Motors, the '08 bailouts are almost behind us. But Robert Reich warns that unless Wall Street is cut down to size, the injured giant we've propped up will fall back on top of us.
Foreclosure Review in New Settlement Leaves Homeowners in Banks' Hands (HuffPo)
Eleazar David Melendez and Ben Hallman note that regulators have answered complaints that the independent review process was flawed by letting the banks review their own foreclosure decisions. Early reports suggest they couldn't agree with themselves more.
Health Care and Profits, a Poor Mix (NYT)
Eduardo Porter argues that America's rising health costs, driven by the profit-maximizing private health care industry, should encourage us to reconsider whether relying on the private sector to provide so many of our public goods is the remedy or the sickness.
Avoiding a climate-change apocalypse (WaPo)
Katrina vanden Heuvel writes that 2012 exposed us to many different end-of-world scenarios, but Hurricane Sandy should be the one that sticks with us. Sadly, it's been a challenge to get the GOP to pay for the consequences of climate change, let alone prevent it.
After the Debt-Ceiling Breach: What Day 1 in Default America Might Look Like (The Atlantic)
Derek Thompson notes that while America could default on its debts just a few weeks from now, it's so unthinkable that it's hard to imagine the consequences. But even though it's scheduled to happen around Valentine's Day, they're likely to be pretty unlovely.