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Why We Should Go Over the Fiscal Cliff (Time)
Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Mark Schmitt argues that despite the scary connotations of calling something the "fiscal cliff," we shouldn't be afraid to take the plunge, since we're not exactly standing high atop the peaks of rational fiscal policy right now.
Grand bargain is the wrong solution (WaPo)
Katrina vanden Heuvel writes that voters expressed their policy preferences at the ballot box last Tuesday, and when they backed a government that would challenge powerful interests, they didn't think that would include the best interests of the American people.
Progressives get ready to push the president (Salon)
Alex Seitz-Wald notes that progressives who worked to reelect Barack Obama by a surprisingly decisive margin last week are now preparing to go all out to defeat him if he offers up Social Security and Medicare as a sacrifice to the Beltway gods of Seriousness.
The End of the Pledge: How Democrats Can Finally Beat Grover Norquist (The Atlantic)
Republicans treat Grover Norquist's pledge to never raise taxes under any circumstances as their very own Green Lantern oath, but Derek Thompson thinks they might view a Romney-esque deduction cap as a forgivable, eating-meat-on-Fridays kind of sin.
The economy (probably) can't survive a short dive into austerity crisis (WaPo)
Neil Irwin warns that while the full effects of the fiscal cliff take some time to kick in, it also presents short-term risks if the markets panic. That could throw a bucket of cold water on negotiators, but if we lapse into recession, voters might switch to tar and feathers.
University of Hard Knocks (Prospect)
Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal writes that despite a few good job reports, recent college graduates are still at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to finding jobs that will put them on a career path -- unless "barista" is their one true calling in life.
Alleging a New Wave of Retaliation, Walmart Warehouse Workers Will Strike a Day Early (The Nation)
Josh Eidelson checks in with the Walmart employees who are launching another round of strikes today to secure better working conditions. Walmart insists it's all just a publicity stunt, which must be why it's firing supporters and holding propaganda meetings.
On the New Shopping List: Milk, Bread, Eggs and a Mortgage (NYT)
Stephanie Clifford and Jessica Silver-Greenberg report that big-box stores like Walmart and Home Depot are branching out into financial products for consumers turned away by banks. But will their debt collectors be taught to greet everyone with a smile?
This Week in Poverty: Janitors in the Queen City (The Nation)
Greg Kaufmann writes that Cincinnati is home to several Fortune 1000 companies and lots and lots of underpaid workers, including the city's janitors, who have decided there's only so much garbage even they can put up with in their contract negotiations.
Charity's Role in America, and Its Limits (NYT)
Eduardo Porter writes that despite the impressive generosity on display in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, we need to ask ourselves whether we can afford tax breaks for someone to get his name on a wall at Harvard when the poor are struggling to get by.