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The Dis-Uniting of America (Robert Reich)
Reich writes that while Americans still demonstrate their ability to come together and help one another when a sudden tragedy strikes, as it did in Boston, prolonged economic misery and soaring childhood poverty don’t seem to set off the same alarm bells for us.
Are the Good Jobs Gone? (NYT)
Thomas Edsall reviews the debate about whether government policy can bring back disappearing middle-class jobs and argues that while President Obama may not have a New Deal in him, he might at least be able get the wheels of progress unstuck from the mud.
Is the successor to manufacturing jobs… manufacturing? (WaPo)
Jim Tankersley notes that the Obama administration is launching a small pilot program to provide grants to communities that develop a strategy for creating a local manufacturing renaissance. Suggested program title: the We’ve Got Nothing, But Maybe You Do? Fund.
Republicans Accuse Labor Nominee of Fighting for Civil Rights (CAF)
Dave Johnson looks at the GOP’s effort to sink Thomas Perez’s nomination by exposing the dark secrets of his time with the Justice Department, like how he tried to avoid giving the Roberts Court an excuse to strike down civil rights laws with a Slumlords United case.
Why Republicans Suddenly Became Afraid of Their Own Budget Shadow (TPM)
Brian Beutler notes that Republicans spent four years demanding that Senate Democrats produce a budget, but now that they got what they asked for, they’re reluctant to move forward with the process until they’re sure they won’t have to accept anything in it.
Regulatory Rockstar (TNR)
Elizabeth Warren may be new to the Senate, but she’s not your typical back-bencher. Jeff Connaughton writes that by using her seat on the Senate Banking Committee to subject hapless regulators to ritual flaying, she may just scare them into doing their jobs.
Foreclosure Settlement Checks Bounce in Latest Setback for Troubled Program (HuffPo)
As if it weren’t embarrassing enough that the average payout for a wrongful foreclosure is roughly $20 and a coupon for half off your next purchase at Target, Ben Hallman notes that some of the first recipients weren’t even able to cash the checks they received.
Forever Blowing Bubbles (ProPublica)
Jesse Eisinger writes that despite the Fed’s efforts to jumpstart the economy with extraordinary monetary policy, those efforts don’t seem to be helping the average American as much as they’re encouraging speculators to drop some money on the roulette wheel.