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How Paul Ryan Would Decimate the New Deal (The Nation)
Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal and NND Editor Bryce Covert explain that by block granting Medicaid, voucherizing Medicare, and privatizing Social Security, Ryan's Path to Prosperity would leave the poor in the Ditch of Don't Give a Damn.
U.S. Income Gap Rose, Sign of Uneven Recovery (NYT)
Sabrina Tavernise reports on the new Census Bureau data that shows middle class earnings fell while the top 5 percent made large gains in 2011. But good news for those on the bottom: things aren't really getting worse; they're just stuck there forever.
Obamacare Is Working (MoJo)
Stephanie Mencimer notes one silver lining from the Census data: four million more people gained health coverage, including many young people who were able to stay on their parents' plan. Yet more reason for older Americans to wish they were 25 again.
Where Have All the Good Jobs Gone? (TNR)
Timothy Noah highlights an EPI report that shows jobs with good pay and benefits have disappeared over the last 30 years while workers have become more productive. So when you roll in at 9:30 and watch cat videos all day, you're just balancing the scales.
Moving Down (Prospect)
Monica Potts notes that Pew research shows Americans becoming more comfortable with admitting they're lower-middle or lower-class and that the American Dream of working hard and living the good life is one that they're starting to wake up from.
The new politics of nostalgia (WaPo)
E.J. Dionne argues that both left and right want to return to the 1950s, but our political debate takes a salad bar approach to that nostalgia: progressives want to load up on the strong unions and shared prosperity, but they're on a no-repression diet.
Moody's in a Mood (Robert Reich)
Reich notes that credit ratings agencies are now threatening us for cutting the deficit too quickly instead of going too slow, and while Goldilocks might have been less picky about her meals and lodging, he argues that they have a point this time around.
Three ways that Democrats would avoid the sequester (WaPo)
Suzy Khimm explains that when Republicans complain that Democrats don't have any plans to avoid steep budget cuts come January, what they mean is that they don't have any plans that Republicans like because they would, you know, raise more money.
Financial Crisis Cost U.S. $12.8 Trillion or More (HuffPo)
Mark Gongloff flags a new Better Markets report that estimates the crisis cost us $12.8 trillion in lost economic growth. That doesn't even account for the price of government intervention and human suffering, the latter of which the banks provided gratis.
Foreclosure Fail: Study Pins Blame on Big Banks (ProPublica)
Paul Kiel looks at a new report that shows about 800,000 homeowners who qualified for modifications were pushed into foreclosure over the last few years by avoidable problems like an overly complex screening process or servicers not caring even a little bit.