What you need to know to navigate today's most critical debates.
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Markets and Morals (NYT)
Though markets make some things more efficient, Nicholas Kristof asks whether we're really comfortable letting the rich pay to upgrade their status in society to a premium membership. The poor could certainly make better use of the free tote bag.
How Political Clout Made Banks Too Big to Fail (Bloomberg)
Luigi Zingales looks at how the decades-long effort by policymakers to roll back banking regulations like Glass-Steagall allowed smaller financial institutions to combine into dangerously powerful behemoths, like a really sickly version of Voltron.
Wisconsin reaches for the last resort (WaPo)
E.J. Dionne writes that while next week's recall election for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker might seem like a radical step, it's a product of Walker's own efforts to ensure that this is the last election that his opponents ever get to have a say in.
It's Too Late for the Economy to Help Obama (MoJo)
Heather Parton argues that even if the recovery picks up soon, it probably won't change many voters' minds. They've already seen so many false "green shoots" that the Garden of Eden would have to spring up underfoot before they're convinced.
Job recovery is scant for Americans in prime working years (WaPo)
Peter Whoriskey notes that only 75.7 percent of workers age 25 to 54 have jobs -- a lower figure than we saw in 23 years before the recession. Even some former execs are turning to retail jobs at Crate & Barrel to avoid wearing an actual barrel.
More Americans Rely on Credit Cards for Basics Like Food and Gas (Time)
It's no wonder Barack Obama isn't getting more credit for the strength of the economy. According to a new report from Demos, 40 percent of low- and moderate-income families are too busy maxing out their own credit lines to pay for groceries.
Paying Rent on Minimum Wage (NYT)
A chart from the National Low Income Housing Coalition shows that it's perfectly affordable to rent a two-bedroom apartment in the U.S. while making minimum wage as long as you're prepared to work so much that you rarely get to see it.
Selling out public schools (Salon)
David Sirota explains why five school "reform" policies pushed by our benevolent corporate overlords would make the education system more segregated and unequal. Plus, what's with the new lesson plans about proper groveling technique?
On Campus, New Deals With Banks (NYT)
Despite efforts to curtail financial institutions' influence in colleges, Andrew Martin reports that they're still striking deals with cash-strapped campuses. The hope is that there's a sucker born every minute and they all matriculate in the fall.
Right-Wing Billionaires Behind Mitt Romney (Rolling Stone)
Tim Dickinson profiles the GOP nominee's wealthiest supporters and what they hope to get out of the deal. They enjoy classic jazz, long walks on the beach, and corrupting the democratic system of government by buying political influence.
With additional research by Danielle Bella Ellison.