Daily Digest - October 16: The Debt Ceiling Fight Over Birth Control

Oct 16, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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House GOPers Pushing for Anti-Birth-Control Measure in Debt Ceiling Deal (MoJo)

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House GOPers Pushing for Anti-Birth-Control Measure in Debt Ceiling Deal (MoJo)

Tim Murphy reports that while the House proposal to end the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling already contains provisions that would never pass the Senate, that isn't enough for some Republicans. They want to see a conscience clause included in this deal.

  • Roosevelt Take: Roosevelt Institute Fellow Andrea Flynn writes about the GOP's last attempt to push anti-birth control measures in economic policy, during the lead up to the shutdown.

We're Approaching the Worst-Case Scenario for House GOP Hostage-Taking (The Atlantic Wire)

Philip Bump considers just how bad the Republicans' attempts to cast the shutdown as a kidnapping situation is getting. House Republicans are back to proposing the same ideas that were turned down before the shutdown, which even the Senate Republicans oppose.

Debt Talks in Disarray as House Balks (NYT)

Jonathan Weisman reports that House negotiations on the shutdown and debt ceiling fell apart on Tuesday night. Meanwhile, credit rating agencies are already concerned by Congress bringing the country to the brink again.

Wall Street Doubts Debt Deadline and Puts its Money on 1 November (The Guardian)

Based on Wall Street announcements on their Treasury bond holdings, Heidi Moore suggests that big business thinks the U.S. won't actually default on October 17. Whenever default day falls, it could cause huge damages to the social safety net.

Nightmare Scenario: What Happens If We Actually, Truly Default? (NY Mag)

Kevin Roose lays out an hour-by-hour schedule of how default day would work out, based on discussions with financiers and policy experts. They suggest that a debt ceiling increase would happen within the day - but the damage would last much longer.

North Carolina Suspends Welfare Program Thanks To The Shutdown (ThinkProgress)

Bryce Covert says that until today, all the states were covering federal funding for their Temporary Aid for Needy Families programs. North Carolina's announcement won't be the last if the shutdown continues, so families and children who rely on that program will be in trouble.

Fast-Food Wages Come With a $7 Billion Side of Public Assistance (Bloomberg Businessweek)

Susan Berfield looks at two studies on the amount of public assistance that fast food workers receive in order to make ends meet. McDonald's says it pays competitive wages, but more then half of fast food workers are enrolled in least one public assistance program.

New on Next New Deal

The Truth About the GOP's Phony Shutdown Offer

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow and Director of the Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative Jeff Madrick writes that until Republicans pull their threat of default, Democrats and the President can't take their offers seriously.

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Daily Digest - October 10: Finally, a Fed Chair Nominee

Oct 10, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Yellen, if Confirmed, Faces Daunting Task (AJAM)

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Yellen, if Confirmed, Faces Daunting Task (AJAM)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal considers the challenges facing Janet Yellen. We'll know that she's a success if she can balance the duel mandate of employment and inflation and work towards a better economy for Americans who haven't seen much recovery yet.

Janet Yellen: who is the woman set to lead Federal Reserve? (The Week)

In its profile of Janet Yellen, The Week quotes Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow and Director of the Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative Jeff Madrick, who points out the value of Yellen's focus on employment.

Twilight of the Economics Elites (Foreign Policy)

Daniel W. Drezner questions why Republicans are so insistent on ignoring the advice of economists. One reason, that the right has their own experts, pulls from Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal's piece on right-wing economists' opinions on the debt ceiling.

If Congress Only Reopens the Government Piece by Piece, it Could Take Until Next Spring (WaPo)

Brad Plumer points out another reason to avoid piecemeal funding bills: if the government is funded on a service-by-service basis, it will take more than 100 working days to finish. Whoever relies on that last service would have a long wait.

The 8 Most Plausible Ways a Debt-Ceiling Catastrophe Could Be Averted (NY Mag)

Dan Amira and Jonathan Chait rank the possible solutions to avoiding a default on October 17. They also include a prediction of the Senator Ted Cruz reaction to any given solution, ranging from "anger" to "epic, 47-hour speech on Senate floor."

Janet Yellen: The Most Powerful Woman in US History (Quartz)

Matt Phillips argues that the Federal Reserve Chair has more power then the Secretary of State, or the Speaker of the House. No one approves the Fed Chair's decisions, and major coalition building would be required to curtail the Fed's powers.

McCutcheon, the Next Victory for the 1 Percent (TAP)

Scott Lemieux is concerned after oral arguments for McCutcheon vs. FEC. He thinks that it's likely that the Supreme Court will strike down aggregate campaign contribution limits, and that doesn't seem good for American democracy.

Unpaid Intern Is Ruled Not an ‘Employee,’ Not Protected From Sexual Harassment (Bloomberg Businessweek)

Venessa Wong reports on a U.S. District Court decision that determined that unpaid interns are not protected by the New York City Human Rights Law. Sexual harassment charges require being an employee, and being paid in "experience" isn't enough.

 

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How Will Millennials Reform Government?

Oct 8, 2013

In the first installment of the Roosevelt Institute's new "What's the Deal?" series, Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network National Field Strategist Joelle Gamble explains how young people are creating change in their local communities through the Campus Network and are designing a more effective government.

Learn more about the Campus Network by visiting:

http://www.rooseveltcampusnetwork.org

Read about the Campus Network's vision for 21st century government:

http://www.rooseveltcampusnetwork.org/govbyandfor

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Daily Digest - October 8: Why Haven't Moderate Republicans Ended the Shutdown?

Oct 8, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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The Most Irresponsible Officials In Washington DC Are The 'Moderate' Republicans (Business Insider)

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The Most Irresponsible Officials In Washington DC Are The 'Moderate' Republicans (Business Insider)

Josh Barro says that the so-called moderate Republicans are the real problem right now, because even when they claim to be willing to commit to a clean continuing resolution to end the shutdown, they've voted with the party line.

The Debt-Ceiling Crisis to End All Debt-Ceiling Crises (TAP)

Paul Waldman suggests that it's time that President Obama demanded the elimination of the debt ceiling. Other modern democracies don't require their legislative bodies to approve a budget twice, first to spend the money and then to pay the bills.

The Boehner Bunglers (NYT)

Paul Krugman worries not only about Republican extremism but also about the party's incompetence. The shutdown is only the latest example of how the GOP insists that they are doing the right thing when they ignore the 2012 election results.

Their Real Goal: To Make Us All So Cynical About Government, We Give Up (Robert Reich)

Robert Reich argues that through the shutdown, the right is attempting to teach average Americans that politics isn't worth the energy. If fewer people are paying attention and fighting for progressive values, then business interests can win.

The 13 Reasons Washington is Failing (WaPo)

Ezra Klein's list has some less obvious reasons, like the elimination of earmarks. The argument against earmarks was that they created corruption, but now congressional leadership have nothing to use as a bargaining chip for tough votes.

Texas Food Banks Feel Shutdown Squeeze (MSNBC)

Ned Resnikoff looks at how Texans are faring in the shutdown. Nearly one fifth of Texans are food insecure, and between WIC, SNAP, and food banks the lack of federal funds is becoming a serious problem.

New on Next New Deal

What are Conservative Experts Saying About Breaking Through the Debt Ceiling?

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal worries that the more we discuss the debt ceiling, the more partisan this issue will become. Despite that, he asked conservative think tanks for their opinion on the possible consequences, to see what the right is hearing.

McCutcheon v. FEC Could Give Rich Donors Even Greater Power Over Our Elections

Jeff Raines, Chair of the Student Board of Advisors for the Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network, argues that campaign finance cases like McCutcheon v. FEC aren't about free speech. They're about how much influence the wealthiest Americans should have over politicians.

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Daily Digest - October 3: More Shutdown, Bigger Problems

Oct 3, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Republicans Split On Whether To Give Back Pay To Workers Furloughed In Government Shutdown (HuffPo)

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Republicans Split On Whether To Give Back Pay To Workers Furloughed In Government Shutdown (HuffPo)

Sabrina Siddiqui and Dave Jamieson report that while furloughed workers have always received backpay in the past, some Republicans say we might not be able to afford it. That the furloughed employees might not be able to afford rent is apparently irrelevant.

Here's How The Government Shutdown Gets Worse Over Time (Business Insider)

Josh Barro explains the timeline for how things will get worse through the month of October if the government remains shut down. The longer federal workers go without knowing when they will be paid, the more it will affect our economy.

What’s the Fight About? Republicans Struggle to Explain (MSNBC)

Suzy Khimm points out that while the GOP focused on Obamacare in the lead-up to shutdown, that's not what they're talking about today. They've shifted to broader fiscal issues, probably because starting a shutdown over a single law was a dead end.

Shutdown Coverage Fails Americans (AJAM)

Dan Froomkin thinks that by attempting to be fair and balanced in their coverage of the shutdown, journalists have failed in their duties. There's only one party responsible for the shutdown, and attempts at 'balance' conceal that truth.

Why Does the Debt Ceiling Matter? (Economist)

The Economist's daily explainer post tackles the debt ceiling, which doesn't actually involve taking on new debt. Raising the debt ceiling means giving the Treasury permission to let the deficit grow in accordance with other laws Congress has passed.

Why the Shutdown Is Leading to Debt Default; or, What Happens When You Take Hostages Without a Plan (NY Mag)

Jonathan Chait is convinced that Republicans plan to keep the shutdown going up to the debt ceiling deadline. The shutdown isn't giving them enough "hostages" to ensure a win in negotiation, because funding government is now a war.

New on Next New Deal

The Government Shutdown Could Be the Last Gasp of the Reagan-Friedman Agenda

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow and Director of the Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative Jeff Madrick suggests that the anti-government ideology of the 1970s and 80s is making another attempt to starve out government functions.

The Shutdown Shows the GOP Can't Accept Defeat in the War on Women

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Andrea Flynn argues that by tying their continuing resolution to anti-birth control measures before the shutdown, the GOP shows that they've already forgotten that they lost women in the presidential election by 36 points.

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The Shutdown Shows the GOP Can't Accept Defeat in the War on Women

Oct 2, 2013Andrea Flynn

When the GOP attempts to deny women access to contraception in the lead-up to a government shutdown, it’s hard to see how the party hopes to regain women’s support.

Yesterday the federal government shut down for the first time in two decades due, in part, to the GOP’s growing opposition to contraception. Republicans are intent on rolling back women's rights, and this time they are holding the federal government hostage in an attempt to advance their agenda.

When the GOP attempts to deny women access to contraception in the lead-up to a government shutdown, it’s hard to see how the party hopes to regain women’s support.

Yesterday the federal government shut down for the first time in two decades due, in part, to the GOP’s growing opposition to contraception. Republicans are intent on rolling back women's rights, and this time they are holding the federal government hostage in an attempt to advance their agenda.

With less than a day until the government would shut it doors, House Republicans put forth a spending bill that would enable employers, universities, and health insurance companies to deny coverage for contraception based on moral or religious beliefs. The bill would delay the “contraceptive mandate” – an Affordable Care Act provision that requires coverage of contraceptive and reproductive health services without co-pays – until January 2015. More broadly, the bill would delay the implementation of most ACA provisions for another year and would repeal a tax central to the law’s financing. Of course, delaying the law by a year is simply an attempt to overturn it altogether. Even Mitt Romney, who as Governor of Massachusetts implemented the very health overhaul on which the ACA is modeled, said a delay is the most strategic path to repeal.

The past few years have been an exercise in Republican tenacity as the party attempts to sink Obama's landmark domestic policy achievement. The fact that Obama won a second term in a decisive victory and that the U.S. Congress passed Obamacare into law and the U.S. Supreme Court deemed it constitutional is apparently meaningless.  

The GOP, hijacked by the right wing of its party, is redefining what it means to lose. Elizabeth Warren said it best on Sunday:

In a democracy, hostage tactics are the last resort for those who can’t win fights through elections, can’t win fights in Congress, can’t win fights for the presidency, and can’t win their fights in the courts. For this right wing minority, hostage-taking is all they have left: a last gasp for those who cannot cope with the realities of our democracy.

Since 2010, Republicans have voted 43 times to overturn the ACA. They have challenged the contraceptive mandate ad nauseam, have protested the employer mandate, and at the state level have refused to participate in the Medicaid expansion that would extend benefits to millions of uninsured, low-income individuals.

And President Obama, to the consternation of some on the left, has made concessions in hopes of advancing his overall agenda. Earlier this year, he compromised on the contraceptive mandate by enabling a broader group of self-defined faith-based organizations to qualify for a religious exemption, creating an accommodation where employees of those organizations can obtain full family planning coverage directly from insurance companies. He has responded to complaints from business lobbyists by agreeing to delay the employer mandate until 2015. (That provision requires employers with more than 50 full-time employees to offer affordable coverage for their workers, including children up to age 26.)

Republicans emphatically insist they are acting in the best interest of the American people. They aren’t. The ACA is good for women and for the entire nation. It has already expanded contraceptive coverage to millions of women, and within the next three years, approximately 13 million more uninsured women will be able to access affordable family planning and reproductive health services. The law will enable the majority of American women to access annual well-woman visits, screenings for cancer and STDs, maternal health care, emergency contraception, and pregnancy testing and counseling. Because of the ACA, individuals with pre-existing conditions will be able to get coverage and gender discrimination by insurance providers will be illegal. This law represents the most significant advancement in women’s reproductive health in nearly a century.

The unfolding debacle goes hand in hand with the reasons the GOP lost the women's vote in 2012 and is partly why they will not seize it back any time in the near future. Earlier this year, I wrote about the party’s self-reflective autopsy examining why and how Democrats carried the women’s vote by 36 points in the presidential election. They blamed their loss on a failed communications strategy but found little to be objectionable in the substance of their arguments. This week’s shutdown starkly illustrates the GOP’s inability to accept that the majority of Americans do not share their vision for the nation.

It’s becoming increasingly impossible for the GOP to argue that they care much at all about the women’s vote. Afterall, 69 percent of Republican women reported being opposed to a government shutdown, and 67 percent of registered voters believe that all workers should be allowed to access health care services regardless of their employer’s beliefs. And it turns out the only place contraception is controversial is in the halls of Congress; it is nearly universally accepted and used by Americans.

The GOP likes to say the "war on women" is a Democratic canard used to manipulate women at the voting booth. If only that were the case.

Andrea Flynn is a Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. She researches and writes about access to reproductive health care in the United States. You can follow her on Twitter @dreaflynn.

 

Pills and calendar banner image via Shutterstock.com

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Daily Digest - October 2: Partisanship Shouldn't Hurt the Party

Oct 2, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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What We Need to Fix Congress: More Partisanship (TNR)

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What We Need to Fix Congress: More Partisanship (TNR)

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Mark Schmitt argues that the Republican party is actually acting in a strongly non-partisan manner right now. A focus on individual power over party power created the divides within the GOP that are fueling the shutdown.

Just What Are the Republicans Thinking? (Atlantic Wire)

Philip Bump looks at four possible rationalizations that Republicans may have used when they cast votes leading to the shutdown. None of these frames quite hold up as logical under scrutiny, probably because there's nothing logical happening here.

House GOP Pushes Piecemeal Approach as Democrats Stand Firm (NYT)

Jonathan Weisman reports that the GOP plans to push piece-by-piece spending bills today, funding just a few non-essential programs. Maybe they think that voters will stop blaming Republicans for the shutdown if the National Zoo's panda cam comes back online.

Democrats Should Reject a "Clean" CR (Slate)

Matt Yglesias suggests that now that government has shutdown, the Democrats should insist on a continuing resolution that increases the debt ceiling, or abolishes it all together. We don't need to go through this again in just two weeks.

U.S. Shutdown Has Other Nations Confused and Concerned (BBC News)

Anthony Zurcher explains why the international community is just so confused by what's happening in the U.S. right now. Almost no other country has a system of governance that makes a shutdown possible - which might be a good idea.

Shutdown Will Cost U.S. Economy $300 Million a Day, IHS Says (Bloomberg)

Jeanna Smialek and Ian Katz explain an assortment of estimates on the cost of the shutdown. There are losses to GDP, furloughed workers cutting spending, and slowed consumer confidence - not to mention market fluctuations.

The Ethic of Marginal Value (Jacobin)

Peter Frase challenges the common idea that labor follows, and should follow, standard models of supply and demand. Labor is not just another good, because labor is people, which requires separating the right to a basic standard of living from the labor a person does.

New on Next New Deal

Challenging the 'New Normal' of Violence in the U.S.

Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network Senior Fellow for Equal Justice Erik Lampmann argues for our ability to change the culture of violence in the U.S. He thinks that the progressive movement can take this on, and in fact has already started a lot of work that can be seen as anti-violence.

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Daily Digest - October 1: Welcome to the Shutdown

Oct 1, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Shutdown: The Last-Minute Tactics That Failed (MSNBC)

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Shutdown: The Last-Minute Tactics That Failed (MSNBC)

Suzy Khimm and Benjy Sarlin discuss how Congress failed to move their negotiations forward last night. Boehner has finally proposed a conference, something that Senate Democrats have called for almost as often as the House votes to repeal Obamacare.

The U.S. Government Has Shut Down: Does That Mean the Tea Party Won? (Quartz)

Tim Fernholz suggests that there is a win for the right here: the clean continuing resolution that is being discussed would maintain spending at current austerity levels, obscuring arguments on whether the budget should include more stimulus spending.

48 Ways a Government Shutdown Will Screw You Over (MoJo)

Tim Murphy's list includes everyone from furloughed Federal staffers and people on food assistance to ponies and trees. This comprehensive list shows just how much the federal government does that most Americans aren't paying attention to until a shutdown.

Here is Every Previous Government Shutdown, Why They Happened and How They Ended (WaPo)

Dylan Matthews lays out the history of government shutdowns since modern congressional budgeting began. Highlights include the 1977 "Abortion Shutdown III: Dark of the Moon," the 1982 "Let Them Eat Shutdown," and the 1987 "I Think You're a Contra."

How a Debt-Ceiling Crisis Could Become a Financial Crisis (NYT)

Annie Lowrey says that if the U.S. government goes into default, it could cause another financial crisis. The Treasury would be causing the crisis this time, so all the failsafe tools it developed with the Fed might not work properly.

Fixing Exorbitant CEO Pay: All is Not Lost (Fortune)

Eleanor Bloxham argues that today there is a better chance to change CEO compensation practices then there has been in a decade. Dodd-Frank provisions on CEO pay are starting to take effect, and other proposals would make even greater changes.

New on Next New Deal

President Obama's Best Move is to Force a Government Shutdown

Yesterday, Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Bo Cutter proposed that forcing a shutdown would be the most politically expedient option for the President. Today, we get to see if his predictions regarding how the shutdown will play out come true.

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Daily Digest - September 26: Watch Out for Default

Sep 26, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Default Notes (NYT)

Paul Krugman is concerned by the seeming non-response from markets to the possibility of a government default in mid-October. Shouldn't big business be worrying about the possibility of another recession, cuts to Federal spending, and a plunging dollar?

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Default Notes (NYT)

Paul Krugman is concerned by the seeming non-response from markets to the possibility of a government default in mid-October. Shouldn't big business be worrying about the possibility of another recession, cuts to Federal spending, and a plunging dollar?

You Really Ought to Be More Terrified of the Debt Ceiling (The Atlantic)

Derek Thompson points out that while a shutdown would have predictable effects, we have no idea what will happen if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling. It's unclear if there's even a way for the government to prioritize payments in such a situation.

How One Stroke of the Pen Could Lift Wages for Millions (MSNBC)

Ned Resnikoff presents two possible executive orders that would raise the low wages of two million federally contracted workers. Many of these workers in DC are striking again, this time rallying outside the White House.

Thousands of Grocery Workers Vote on Strike Authorization (The Nation)

Allison Kilkenny reports on a United Food and Commercial Workers vote this week that could lead to strikes if contract negotiations with major grocery chains break down. The biggest concern is health insurance for part-time workers who are union members.

Some Public Companies are Divulging More Details About Their Political Contributions (WaPo)

Dina ElBoghdady reports that due to mounting pressure from shareholders and threats of lawsuits, some large publicly traded companies are starting to disclose more of their political donations. The SEC is deciding whether to step in and mandate such disclosures.

Insight: Wal-Mart 'Made in America' drive follows suppliers' lead (Reuters)

Jessica Wohl and James B. Kelleher argue that for all the stars-and-stripes PR, Walmart's decision to buy more American-made goods is all business. U.S. made products have lower shipping costs and no tariffs, which improves the mega-retailer's bottom line.

SEC Wins Big Fine From JPMorgan but Execs Skate Free (ProPublica)

Jesse Eisinger argues that even though JPMorgan is paying a large settlement for its wrongdoing in the London Whale case, the public still loses. Unless the Volcker Rule is written with serious disclosure requirements, executives will continue to be in the clear.

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Daily Digest - September 24: The Financial Reform Slowdown

Sep 24, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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How Washington Caved to Wall Street (TIME)

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How Washington Caved to Wall Street (TIME)

Roosevelt Institute Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz argues that Wall Street lobbyists have managed to essentially halt financial reform in the U.S. Banks and the administration are working side-by-side to convince Americans that the financial sector is working safely, but that's just not true.

Shutdown vs. Default: The Relative Impact (NYT)

Annie Lowrey compares the possible impending results of government inaction. There's already a plan in place for a shutdown, which would keep things orderly; with no plans for public default, the impact would be messier and far more expensive.

The Day after Shutdown (TAP)

Jonathan Bernstein explains how the bargaining table changes if we hit a government shutdown on September 30. He thinks that if it comes to that, the Democrats will come out on top - but the far right will maintain that they could have won if the GOP had just held out longer.

The House Republicans’ Dangerous New Constitutional Doctrine: Repealing Laws by De-Funding Them (Robert Reich)

Robert Reich points out the unconstitutionality of the current Republican strategy. The Affordable Care Act passed both houses of Congress and was signed into law; if the GOP wants to repeal it, they need to pass a repeal, not refuse to fund it.

How Walmart Got Government Support, Despite Union Pleas (Salon)

Josh Eidelson reports that unions used every connection they had to try to stop White House events promoting Walmart, to no avail. Hiring veterans doesn't make Walmart a good employer, and selling healthy food doesn't make it good for communities.

The Idiocy of Crowds (Reuters)

Felix Salmon argues that under new laws that allow for equity crowdfunding, which just went into effect, start-ups that failed to get investors in traditional ways will seek "dumb money" that doesn't know better. He sees a future full of lawsuits.

Does the Fed Have a Communication Problem, Or Do Markets Have a Listening Problem? (WaPo)

Neil Irwin suggests that monetary policy is communications, and today we get more information from the Fed then ever before. That view of the inner workings of the Fed means that markets are more aware of how difficult it is to make long-term plans.

New on Next New Deal

The Next Real Fight for Obamacare Will Be in 2014

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Richard Kirsch argues that leading up to the 2014 elections, Democrats must organize the beneficiaries of the Affordable Care Act to be its spokespeople. Those stories will sell Obamacare - and Democrats - to the voters.

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