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2013 Was the Year the Grand Bargain Died. Good Riddance. (TNR)
Mark Schmitt argues that striking a budget deal has received so much emphasis because it allows politicians to appear to be outside the usual partisan fights. But that’s really just magical thinking, and Congress still needs to figure out how to function.
The Fed Transformed (TAP)
Robert Kuttner looks back at the ways the Federal Reserve has changed under Ben Bernanke, and looks ahead to the challenges facing Janet Yellen. Her task, says Kuttner, is to transform the financial system into one that serves the economy rather than ruling it.
Sen. Reid Gets Agreement For Yellen Confirmation Vote in January (WSJ)
Siobhan Hughes reports that the Senate will hold the Yellen confirmation vote, among others, in the new year. Thanks to this new schedule, the senators will be spared from having to work into the weekend before Christmas – unlike many Americans.
This Chart Blows Up the Myth of the Welfare Queen (The Atlantic)
Jordan Weissmann looks at a chart from the Bureau of Labor Statistics comparing the yearly spending of families that use public assistance programs and families that don’t. Families receiving assistance have tight budgets, particularly in non-essential categories like entertainment.
The Adjunct’s Lament (In These Times)
Rebecca Burns sees adjunct professors as an example of how even so-called professionals can become part of the “precariat,” a class characterized by insecurity. She looks at the difficulties in organizing these groups of workers, particularly when they seek higher wages.
Seattle Mayor-Elect Announces Minimum Wage Task Force (KIRO 7)
Graham Johnson reports that Seattle is taking its first steps toward a $15-per-hour minimum wage. One council member-elect has put a time constraint on the task force’s work, stating that she’ll start collecting signatures for a ballot initiative if the increase isn’t passed quickly.
New on Next New Deal
Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Richard Kirsch writes about Health Care for America Now’s closing shop, praising their focus on movement-building and local engagement. This kind of grassroots organizing, says Richard, is key to achieving transformational progressive change.