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The Dwindling Deficit (NYT)
Paul Krugman argues that in the medium term, there is no deficit crisis to speak of, and in the long term, the future is just too unpredictable for us to solve our problems by having 2040's budget debates today, unless Marty McFly makes a run for Congress.
Republicans: Okay, Maybe We Can't Shoot the Hostage, But Maybe We Can Slap Him Around or Something (New York)
Jonathan Chait notes that as House Republicans gather for a retreat to talk debt ceiling strategy, they seem to be caught between their realization that threats to force the U.S. to default are a bad idea and their overwhelming desire to give the president agita.
Congressional Progressives: Abolish the Debt Ceiling (The Nation)
Anna Simonton writes that the members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus are introducing a bill to eliminate the debt ceiling. But then how would Congress decide how much the government can spend? Just vote on it? Oh, they already do that? ...Oh.
Markets to Washington: You know nothing of our work. (WaPo)
Even though the Beltway consensus seems to be that the markets demand immediate deficit reduction and that the government's incompetence will drive interest rates higher, Neil Irwin notes that there are some prominent dissenters, such as actual investors.
The Legacy of Timothy Geithner (NYT)
Simon Johnson writes that Geithner's support for keeping too-big-to-fail banks super-sized casts a deep shadow over his legacy, which will forever be that of the guy who somehow made the GOP look like champions of Main Street in comparison.
Obama's Second Act (HuffPo)
Robert Borosage argues that President Obama must seize his second term as an opportunity to develop a new vision of shared prosperity, which would if nothing else help to keep him too busy to get involved in anything Fox News can add a "-gate" after.
Can These New Federal Rules Rein in Foreclosure-Frenzied Banks? (MoJo)
Erika Eichelberger looks at the CFPB's new rules for loan servicers, which include burdensome requirements like "make sure borrowers know what the hell they're agreeing to" or "don't foreclose on people while telling them how to avoid foreclosure."
JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon Offers Illusion of Transparency (Bloomberg)
Jonathan Weil notes that the official report on the London Whale debacle omits a few key details, like who was involved and why they were allowed so much leeway, due to the restrictions posed by UK law and by total disinterest in answering those questions.
JPMorgan's Board Uses a Pay Cut as a Message (NYT)
Jessica Silver-Greenberg writes that the board of JPMorgan intends to show the world who's boss by cutting Jamie Dimon's compensation to a mere $11.5 million for 2012. If he doesn't shape up, he might even lose his weekend pass to the unicorn stables.
Elected by 32 Donors, for 32 Donors (Prospect)
A new report from Demos and U.S. PIRG finds that the top 32 donors in the 2012 election cycle matched all donations made by the 3.7 million small donors who were silly enough to think $200 was actually a useful contribution without a few zeroes tacked on.