June 14

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

Obama to Demand Vast Fund from BP for Victims’ Claims (WaPo)
In a speech from the Oval Office on Tuesday night, President Obama will announce that he plans to establish a multi-billion dollar fund and an independent mediator to cover damages and clean-up costs for the Gulf oil spill.

Why Section 716 is the Indispensable Reform (Baseline Scenario)
Jane D’Arista explains why spinning off prop desks is essential to shrinking the outsized derivatives market and ending the era of government-backed risk.

Europe embraces the cult of austerity — but at what cost? (Guardian)
In the wake of the Greek debt crisis, the G20’s sharp turn toward fiscal conservatism has left the European public and their allies in the U.S. with a bad case of whiplash.

Does Fiscal Austerity Reassure Markets? (NYTimes)
Deficit hawks claim that harsh fiscal retrenchment will soothe market fears, but as Paul Krugman demonstrates with a comparison of Spain and Ireland, repeating an argument often enough doesn’t make it true.

Get it Right! (TNR)
In an interview with E.J. Dionne, Lawrence Summers argues that deficit-wary Democrats must realize that getting Americans back to work is their top priority. Otherwise they would be Republicans.

A Tennessee Valley Authority for the Gulf Coast? (Washington Independent)
With employment stalled and Deepwater still gushing, the Obama administration may be considering a major public works project to help rebuild the battered Gulf.

Britain should back down over BP (FT)
BP is a major player in Britain’s stock market, but sticking up for the oil giant won’t stir any sympathy among Americans.

Shill, Baby, Shill (The Nation)
Chalk another one up for corporate advertising: We may all be skeptical of BP’s current PR campaign, but they pulled the wool over our eyes for years with little more than bright colors and a catchy beat.

Don’t Blame the Dream of Homeownership (HuffPo)
Robert Kuttner argues that it’s time to stop blaming the subprime crisis on innocent homeowners and start blaming the financial sharks who perverted government programs that had been working effectively since the days of FDR.

Obama Presses for Aid to Cities and States (NYTimes)
Without more aid to states, hundreds of thousands of teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other public employees will be laid off this year, which could create both an economic downturn and a generation of illiterate arsonists.

Left-Right Defense Wonk Coalition Looks to Cut $960 Billion from Bloated Pentagon Budget (Washington Independent)
A panel of experts has determined that the Pentagon could save almost a trillion dollars if it stopped spending money on tools it doesn’t need and missions it shouldn’t undertake. That sounds much too logical for Congress to go along with it.

Growth and the Right (NYTimes)
A new study shows that economic stagnation breeds support for extreme right-wing groups and nationalist parties, but voters move quickly back to the left when times are good. In other words, Scott Brown may want to keep his pick-up idling.