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A Budget Focus on Inequality (NYT)
Annie Lowrey writes that President Obama's latest budget reflects his oft-stated desire to protect and expand the middle class with measures like raising the minimum wage and funding universal preschool, i.e. the parts that aren't pre-chewed for Republicans.
Will Voters Forgive Obama for Cutting Social Security? (The Nation)
William Greider expects that Social Security will make it through the budget negotiations intact, if only because there's an election coming, but that's no guarantee that the Democratic Party's reputation won't be left in tatters once the GOP brings out the knives.
Fiscal frauds (WaPo)
In case anyone thought Chained CPI would win Obama some brownie points with the GOP, Greg Sargent notes that while Boehner, Cantor, and McConnell have all backed the idea, the NRCC is adding it to the evidence file labeled "History's Greatest Monster."
Stiglitz Says More Fiscal Stimulus Needed in U.S. (Bloomberg)
Appearing on "Bloomberg Surveillance," Roosevelt Institute Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz reiterates that what the economy needs now is more government spending, not less, though what we're getting lately is just austerity with the serial numbers scraped off.
Rand Paul's Revisionist History (Washington Monthly)
Ed Kilgore notes that in a speech to Howard University, Rand Paul claimed that African Americans left the GOP because they were lured by the siren song of the New Deal, when they should have just waited for the invisible hand to anoint them as equals.
Where Did All the Workers Go? (The Atlantic)
Derek Thompson looks at why labor force participation has fallen to just 63 percent and posits that the rest went to school, retired, saw their factories shuttered, or decided the job market's so miserable that they'd rather spend some quality time with Netflix.
'Obama phones' subsidy program draws new scrutiny on the Hill (WaPo)
Karen Tumulty examines the pseudo-controversy over "Obama phones," a.k.a. Lifeline, a federal program started under Ronald Reagan that offers phone service subsidies to low-income Americans. Probably so they can call in to the secret strategy meetings.
Bitcoin, Explained (MoJo)
Adam Serwer and Dana Liebelson offer a beginner's guide to the wonderful world of Bitcoin, a virtual, central bank-free alternative currency that's been rapidly fluctuating in value all week. Tl;dr version: the Internet's doing something weird again. Look away.