Daily Digest – August 3: Olympic Feats of Misdirection

By Tim Price |

Click here to receive the Daily Digest via e-mail.

Debt, Depression, DeMarco (NYT)

Paul Krugman writes that Edward DeMarco’s refusal to implement the Obama administration’s HAMP plan is another example of Republicans’ commitment to the reverse-Rooseveltian economic policy of “try nothing” and “bold, persistent exasperation.”

Nine takeaways on Romney’s tax plan (WaPo)

Ezra Klein argues that Mitt Romney’s clever plan to win over voters by refusing to tell them what he actually plans to do has hit a major stumbling block now that independent analysts are finding that what he plans to do is mathematically impossible.

Romney’s “Recovery Plan” Could Bring On Another Recession (New Yorker)

John Cassidy notes that Romney’s recovery plan would bring austerity to America’s shores, but he’d have us believe it will succeed here despite failing everywhere else it’s been tried. Maybe economists have failed to model the power of positive thinking.

Americans Want to Live in a Much More Equal Country (They Just Don’t Realize It) (The Atlantic)

Dan Ariely shows that Americans of all stripes vastly underestimate U.S. inequality but would prefer a more equal distribution of wealth than exists in the real world or their imaginations. Sorry, Republicans; you’re just a bunch of self-loathing hippies.

Special interests win in Senate panel’s attempt at tax reform (WaPo)

Lori Montgomery reports that in an attempt to end superfluous tax breaks, the Senate couldn’t resist preserving a few (or 55) of the bare essentials, like credits for electric bikes and Samoan StarKist. Pork-barrel spending, meet tuna can tax breaks.

Under Pressure, Biggest Banks Rely on 3 Myths (NYT)

Simon Johnson notes that in the midst of a cruel summer, banks are trying to take the heat off by claiming the costs of regulation outweigh the benefits and that their critics are the kind of wild-eyed populists who are always getting appointed to the Fed or FDIC.

No Big Boy Pants for Banks That Whine Over Rules (Bloomberg)

Susan Antilla writes that banks are attempting to slow the rule-making process to a halt by urging officials to consider whether the flutter of their regulatory butterfly wings could lead to an economic tornado. They’d prefer to skip straight to the tornado.

How the Poor, the Middle Class and the Rich Spend Their Money (NPR)

Jacob Goldstein and Lam Vo chart Americans’ spending habits and find that everyone spends a lot on staples like housing and clothing, but while the rich save for college or retirement, the poor are busy making sure they don’t starve in the dark.

Dissecting the Deficit (CBPP)

A CBPP analysis shows that the biggest drivers of the deficit are the Bush tax cuts, the wars in the Middle East, and the economic downturn. So obviously the fiscally responsible party is the one that started all of these and plans to continue them.

Romney’s Olympic tax myth (Salon)

Alex Seitz-Wald notes the latest GOP attack on Obama: he wants to tax our Olympians up to $9,000 for their medals and prize money when they return home! How could he do that to poor Gabby Douglas? Luckily, the story is completely made up.

With additional research by Danielle Bella Ellison.