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Compiled with the help of Roosevelt Institute intern Elena Callahan.
Obama to Draw an Economic Line in State of the Union (NYT)
The president hopes to use his third State of the Union to boost his chances of a fourth by arguing that the government can help build an economy where everyone gets a fair shot. Prediction: John Boehner will make a frowny face at those parts.
The great divide in U.S. politics (Toronto Star)
So it's come to this. Even Canadians can no longer be polite about the polarization that's resulted from the rise of Norquist Republicans and, as Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow David Woolner notes, their nostalgia for the bad old days of the 1920s.
Obama Vs. Romney: Who Will Blue-Collar Americans Hate Less? (WaPo)
Could we have another George Wallace on our hands? With an Obama/Romney showdown looking like a tense day at the yacht club, Harold Meyerson sees an opening for a third party candidate to win support from white working class voters.
Newt Gingrich exploits politics of class and culture (WaPo)
EJ Dionne suggests Gingrich may fit the Wallace mold himself, attracting the disgruntled GOP base by rolling everything from Romney's work history to the proliferation of food stamps into a coded attack on sneering, permissive elites.
Is Our Economy Healing? (NYT)
Paul Krugman writes that while the U.S. economy may be on the verge of a virtuous circle as the housing market begins to recover, the inflation and deficit hawks still get to see how their fantasy policy would play out by watching Europe's self-destruction.
Private Inequity (New Yorker)
James Surowiecki notes that private equity firms had a good thing going until the GOP primaries dragged them into the mud, but the real problem isn't the money they make from layoffs -- it's the fortunes they reap from gaming the tax code.
Blacks Face Bias in Bankruptcy, Study Suggests (NYT)
A new study finds that black debtors who turn to bankruptcy lawyers for their expert opinion are instead prone to receiving their creepy sub(?)conscious racism, which guides them toward more expensive and restrictive Chapter 13 filings.
More Lockouts as Companies Battle Unions (NYT)
Though lockouts don't garner much attention unless they affect the athletes who tell us what shoes to wear or which high-fructose corn syrup to drink, they're an increasingly popular way for employers to declare that it's their way or the highway.
More Elderly Find They Can't Afford Not to Work (WSJ)
Retirement? Americans age 75 and older can remember when that was still a thing, but instead of enjoying their golden years, many find that the economic downturn and rising cost of living are forcing them to keep working forever just to scrape by.
This Week in Poverty: An American Commitment to Children? (The Nation)
Greg Kaufmann suggests that if there were a real commitment to equal opportunity in the U.S., policymakers might embrace some concrete solutions for helping the 16.4 million kids living in poverty instead of vaguely agreeing that it's all Very Sad.