Daily Digest - April 25: You Are Receding (and There is Definitely Pain)

What you need to know to navigate today's most critical debates.

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Earth to Ben Bernanke (NYT)

Paul Krugman has questions for the Fed chairman: What happened to the Bernank who advocated a more aggressive response to economic downturns? Is he still in there? Are you his bearded mirror universe counterpart (my personal theory)?

Shaky economic prospects threaten both parties (WaPo)

Harold Meyerson notes that as long as voters continue to experience falling wages and diminished expectations, the presidency could be a poisoned chalice. Or our leaders could push for the fundamental change needed to fix the economy. Probably the former.

The Great Divergence: A Dialogue (WaMo)

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Mark Schmitt and the Kauffman Foundation's Brink Lindsey discuss Tim Noah's new book, The Great Divergence, and whether sharply rising inequality means that something's gone seriously wrong or so very, very right.

The Joys of Recession (TAP)

Robert Kuttner writes that the latest Social Security Trustees report is more pessimistic about the health of the program, but instead of curing the underlying economic problems that ail it, austerians would prefer to perform unnecessary amputations.

UK's slide into recession adds to government woes (Reuters)

The British economy is back in recession after an unexpected dip in GDP, as the Conservative government's plan to slash public spending and cut taxes for the rich has failed to ignite an economic boom. Let's try it here and show them how it's done!

Europe Struggles With Painful Deficit Cures (WSJ)

Faced with the fact that their austerity measures are a) not helping and b) making voters invite them to share the thrill of unemployment, European leaders are debating whether it might be a good idea to go ahead and stop hitting themselves.

Debt Collector is Faulted for Tough Tactics in Hospitals (NYT)

Jessica Silver-Greenberg reports that Accretive Health has adopted a sort of "pay or die" business model, stationing debt collectors in hospitals (even emergency rooms!). Their bedside manner is terrible, but then so is everything else about them.

CFPB to Take on Shadow Corporate Justice System (The Nation)

George Zornick writes that the CFPB is looking into how the financial sector uses arbitration clauses to ensure that instead of taking them to court, unhappy consumers just listen to the nice man the companies hire to decide they didn't do anything wrong.

What Kind of Girl Are You? (TAP)

E.J. Graff notes that the EEOC has ruled that under the 1964 Civil Rights Act, employers not only can't discriminate against women, but don't get to decide whether they count as women or whether they can change their sex without manager's approval.

Killing the Messenger: The Downsizing and Death of the Postal Service (HuffPo)

Dean Baker argues that while the Postal Service faces some real challenges, it could breathe a lot easier if Congress would kindly take the pillow off its face and ease the benefit pre-funding requirements that are driving it into debt.

With additional research by Elena Callahan.