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The World Has Its First Jesuit Pope. Will He Really Help the Poor? (MoJo)
Erik Kain writes that despite Pope Francis's unsurprising social conservatism, he does come from the wing of the Church that cares for the poor and opposes austerity -- though he has something in common with its proponents, who consider themselves infallible.
The new pope will be one of America's biggest employers (WaPo)
Brad Plumer notes that besides serving as a spiritual leader, the new pope is also a kind of CEO for a network of institutions that employ more than 1 million Americans. That puts it behind only Walmart, which offers customers a totally different type of savings.
Who Is Poor? (NYT)
Thomas Edsall explains the ongoing debate about how poverty can be measured most accurately, the policy solutions each approach entails, and the somewhat disturbing implications of treating the needs of human beings as an item in a budget spreadsheet.
We Shouldn't Blame Teen Mothers. We Should Blame Ourselves. (Forbes)
NND Editor Bryce Covert examines a new ad campaign in New York City that apparently aims to prevent teen pregnancy by being really nasty to potential teen mothers, since shame is so cheap and easily mass-produced compared to a real safety net for them.
Paul Ryan's cruelly radical vision (WaPo)
E.J. Dionne argues that while Ryan's budget may not be useful for the purpose of, you know, budgeting our country's finances, it does help to map the boundaries of our political debate so we can see who's wandering out there in "Here there be dragons" territory.
Republican deficit insincerity will save Social Security (Salon)
Alex Pareene writes that President Obama seems to be the only person in Washington who genuinely wants a Grand Bargain, while everyone else just wants to be seen as wanting one so they have an excuse to complain about what a big phony that Obama is.
Big Banks Have a Big Problem (NYT)
Simon Johnson notes that there's been a recent groundswell of support for breaking up the big banks and putting an end to "too big to fail," finally bringing key policymakers and influencers in line with where everyone else in the world was about five years ago.
Why Big Banks Are Right to Fear Elizabeth Warren (Businessweek)
Joshua Green writes that while Elizabeth Warren might just be a junior senator three months into her first term, lacking the power to pass any significant legislation, she's already demonstrating that you don't need a new law when a few humiliating Q&As will do.