May 31

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

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House sets vote on debt, to focus on budget talks with White House (WaPo)
House Republicans are meeting with President Obama tomorrow, so they’ve decided to vote against raising the debt ceiling tonight, just in case he tries to sway them with a rational argument.

Against Learned Helplessness (NYTimes)
Paul Krugman argues that there’s plenty policymakers in America and Europe could be doing to combat unemployment if they weren’t so busy trying to convince themselves that they couldn’t. For example: Bring back the WPA.

More jobs available, but at lower wages (LA Times)
Even as payrolls expand, employees are getting squeezed by stagnant pay and rising prices. But with 9% unemployment, anything above $0 a month starts looking good.

Chart of the Day: The Death of Small Businesses (MoJo)
Small businesses, like many parts of the economy, have been in freefall since George W. Bush took office. Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal recently analyzed how the recession affected entrepreneurs — and the plot of Bridesmaids.

The Ideas in This Plan Are Terrible — and Such Small Portions! (TAP)
Jamelle Bouie reviews the official House GOP jobs plan, which amounts to 10 pages and about as many hard numbers. Spoiler: Unemployment is the Democrats’ fault.

Why Obama Should Fight Hard for Elizabeth Warren (Bloomberg)
Jonathan Alter notes that if Democrats think Republicans have overreached on Medicare, they should see what happens when consumers hear they’re fighting the appointment of someone whose only job is to look out for them.

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The Case for Higher Taxes (NYTimes)
Uwe Reinhardt explains that repealing the Bush tax cuts would go a long way toward closing the budget gap that policymakers are oh-so-worried about.

Cantor: Disaster relief must be offset (The Hill)
Rep. Eric “Ice Cold” Cantor still insists that sending aid to Joplin, Missouri without draining money from some other part of the economy would be irresponsible.

Obama’s Mental Bookkeeping (LRB)
Was passing the Patriot Act wrong because it violates fundamental rights, or was the problem just that the guy in charge didn’t have a (D) next to his name?

Greece set for severe bail-out conditions (FT)
If Greece wants more assistance from the EU, it may have to hand over control of its taxes and assets and adopt more austerity measures to sweeten the deal.

Democrats Hitch a Ride on Auto-Industry Rebound (WSJ)
The Obama administration’s auto industry bailout has proven to be a very inconvenient success for the opponents of government intervention.

WikiLeaks accused Bradley Manning ’should never have been sent to Iraq’ (Guardian)
A new investigation finds that Manning showed signs of mental instability long before he was subjected to prolonged isolation at Quantico. Sadly, as Lynn Parramore has noted, he wouldn’t be the first.