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Organizing McDonalds and Walmart, and Why Austerity Economics Hurts Low-Wage Workers the Most (Robert Reich)
Reich writes that high unemployment makes unionizing to fight rising inequality more difficult, and focusing on deficit reduction over job creation only compounds the problem. It’s nothing personal, though — that would require Congress to think of workers at all.
Poor Women and Children Faced With Fiscal Cliff Threat (NYT)
NND Editor Bryce Covert notes that “cutting nondefense discretionary spending” roughly translates to English as “leaving poor women and their hungry, uneducated children to huddle together for warmth in the dark.” It sounds a lot better in the original wonk-ese.
This Week in Poverty: A Wake-Up Call on Housing and Homelessness (The Nation)
Greg Kaufmann writes that while policymakers meet behind closed doors to debate what should be on or off the table in a fiscal cliff deal, Americans who depend on federal housing assistance are left to wonder how long they’ll have a home to put a table in.
A New, Tougher Obama? (Prospect)
Robert Kuttner is pleased to see that President Obama is keeping renewal of the Bush tax cuts and cuts to entitlement programs off the grown-ups’ table to make room for some good ideas, even if Republicans have opted to sit at the kids’ table in response.
The Big Budget Mumble (NYT)
Paul Krugman argues that Republicans are mad at Obama for offering a deal that describes what he wants instead of describing what they want so they don’t have to. And while they’re at it, why does Santa always have to ask? Isn’t he supposed to be magic?
The Best Idea for the Debt Ceiling? Abolish It Forever (The Atlantic)
Derek Thompson writes that opposition to raising the debt ceiling used to be empty congressional theater until the House GOP forgot it was just pretend. Luckily, Tim Geithner’s proposal would return Congress to its comfort zone of complaint without consequence.
Fiscal Cliff Fictions: Let’s All Agree to Pretend the GOP Isn’t Full of It (Time)
Michael Grunwald argues that when Republicans spend one day claiming President Obama is gutting Medicare and the next complaining that he refuses to cut entitlements, a responsible press should feel compelled to do more than write both things down.
Can Wall Street Tame Elizabeth Warren? (NY Mag)
Kevin Roose writes that many bankers consider the election of Elizabeth Warren a capital-p Problem, but they’re hoping that once she settles into her new post in the Senate she’ll realize that it’s not really a place where someone goes to “accomplish” stuff.
As Companies Seek Tax Deals, Governments Pay High Price (NYT)
Louise Story reports that state and local governments are giving up over $80 billion a year in business incentives, though they don’t really keep track of how much they’re spending or whether it creates any jobs. The companies seem happy; isn’t that what counts?
2012’s Least Horrible Super PACs (MoJo)
Andy Kroll highlights three anti-Super PAC Super PACs that used the current campaign finance system to try to accomplish something more worthwhile and progressive than helping a couple of cranky, eccentric billionaires purchase a vanity president.