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The Great Debt Delusion: How Math Keeps Proving Austerity Wrong (The Atlantic)
When will deficit hawks learn to Konczal-proof their research? First there was the Alesina-Ardagna paper. Roosevelt Fellows Mike Konczal and Arjun Jayadev poked holes in that one. Then Reinhart-Rogoff became the new holy grail. See how well that worked out?
How influential was the Rogoff-Reinhart study warning that high debt kills growth? (Quartz)
Tim Fernholz notes that Reinhart-Rogoff was the little Excel error that could. Cited by everyone from Paul Ryan to Tim Geithner, it’s shaped the economic debate in the U.S. and Europe. With a result that useful, who has time to worry about “data” or “methods”?
How the IMF became the friend who wants us to work less and drink more (WaPo)
Neil Irwin writes that while the International Monetary Fund has traditionally played the heavy when it comes to advocating “tough” fiscal measures, policy’s gone so far off the rails that it’s been forced to step in and suggest countries ease up on the self-flagellation.
At Least the Big Banks Are Kickin’ It… (On the Economy)
Jared Bernstein notes that banks like Goldman Sachs are adjusting well to increased regulation, as their multibillion-dollar quarterly profits would attest. But Main Street’s not getting totally left behind: weekly earnings for middle-wage workers jumped 0.1 percent!
Big Corporations Won’t Be Sweating the IRS This Year (MoJo)
Stephanie Mencimer writes that although corporations have faced increased public scrutiny for their tax-dodging, cutbacks at the IRS mean there will be 18 percent less effort devoted to auditing them. Time to get those creative juices flowing, accounting teams.
Taking the ‘service’ out of the service sector (WaPo)
Harold Meyerson writes that the experience of companies like J.C. Penney, Wal-Mart, and McDonalds, which have tried to boost profits by cutting staff and holding down wages, suggests that miserable workers don’t leave customers whistling a happy tune.
How student debt is holding back the housing market (Think Progress)
Bryce Covert writes that college grads who might have once dreamed of setting out and buying their own homes have been forced to scale back their ambitions to perhaps buying their own futons, decreasing demand for construction of single-family homes.
The Hell of American Day Care (TNR)
Jonathan Cohn looks at the state of America’s formal child care system, such as it is: unsafe, unregulated, unavailable or prohibitively expensive to many, but also the only option many working parents have until policymakers notice that it’s no longer 1953.