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Fussbudget: How Paul Ryan captured the G.O.P. (New Yorker)
Ryan Lizza profiles the young Wisconsite on the House Budget Committee who became the de facto leader of the Republican Party by convincing them they had to lay out their own vision, no matter how scary it looks when you actually write it all down.
The Republicans' Medicaid Cruelty (NYRB)
Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Jeff Madrick argues that Republican governors' rejection of a Medicaid expansion in states where low-income Americans are most in need shows that America has developed a mean streak to go with its stars and stripes.
As 'fiscal cliff' looms, debate over pre-Election Day layoff notices heats up (WaPo)
While budget negotiations remain stalled, President Obama and congressional Republicans are already arguing over who's most responsible for tens of thousands of potential layoffs by government contractors. Guys, there's no need to fight. You all win.
Will Women Get Pushed Off the Fiscal Cliff? (The Nation)
NND Editor Bryce Covert notes that although defense cuts have received the most attention, automatic cuts to programs like Head Start and family assistance mean that women may face the steepest dive from the looming peaks of Mt. Sequestration.
The CEO Plan to Steal Your Social Security and Medicare (HuffPo)
Do you ever get tired of living in a democracy and wish there was a cabal of wealthy business executives devising a plan to slash the social safety net no matter what kind of policy voters endorse in this election? If so, Dean Baker has some good news for you.
Municipal bankruptcy: The lessons of California (LA Times)
Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellows Tom Ferguson and Rob Johnson write that California is hardly the only state facing a fiscal crunch, but it is the most thoroughly rigged for disaster, and banks were more than happy to light the fuse by toying with muni bonds.
An Intriguing Idea to Encourage Bank Lending (WSJ)
Alan Blinder looks at the Bank of England's new plan to encourage lending by lowering banks' funding costs and how, with a few Fed-specific tweaks, it could be the biggest thing to cross the pond since... hmm, let's say The Office, before it got stupid.
It's D-Day for the Post Office (NYT)
Joe Nocera notes that the Postal Service is set to default tomorrow on a scheduled payment of $5.5 billion to pre-fund benefits for future retirees, a problem entirely of Congress's own making despite legislators' "stop hitting yourself!" approach to solving it.
Those Guys? Never Seen 'Em Before. (TNR)
Alec MacGillis unravels the narrative thread that says Republicans are the party of the little guy (who just so happens to have a really huge bank account) while Democrats are simultaneously champions of socialism and proponents of crony capitalism.
America Has the World's Luckiest Billionaires (MoJo)
Josh Harkinson presents a series of charts that illustrate why, despite their griping, America's uber-rich get the sweetest deal of any country where they're highly concentrated, plus the added convenience of not having to hide in Singapore to shelter their money.
With additional research by Danielle Bella Ellison.