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Is Wal-Mart the enemy? (Salon)
Roosevelt Institute Fellow Matt Stoller reports back from the Walmart protests and argues that while the company has no defense, it also has little to worry about as long as even the workers demanding more money think of its stores as a great place to spend it.
When Domestic Workers Suffer, Our Economy Suffers (The Nation)
NND Editor Bryce Covert highlights a new survey on labor conditions among domestic workers that shows, much like the Walmart protests, that if our economic future lies in these service sector jobs, we should probably try to make them less of a living nightmare.
10 Ways to Avoid the Fiscal Cliff (MoJo)
Josh Harkinson looks at 10 liberal-friendly steps, like ending the capital gains tax break, that Congress could take to raise enough revenue to avoid automatic cuts, assuming the goal here were actually reducing the deficit rather than destroying liberalism forever.
Bungee-Jumping Over the Fiscal Cliff (Robert Reich)
Reich writes that while the “My2K” fiscal cliff fear-mongering campaign could be an effective strategy if the Obama administration were a PR firm working for the GOP, it’s a misguided approach for a president whose best chance of victory lies in taking the plunge.
It’s Not a Fiscal Cliff, It’s an Austerity Crisis (Bloomberg)
Ezra Klein argues that terminology continues to be a problem, because referring to this mess as some sort of vague fiscal issue helps make it sound less self-evidently bizarre to claim that the best way to prevent too much deficit reduction is with deficit reduction.
CBO: Extending unemployment benefits could save 300,000 jobs next year (WaPo)
Brad Plumer notes a new CBO report that shows renewing emergency and extended jobless benefits would cost $30 billion but serve as a very effective form of stimulus, since those benefits are money that people use to buy things, and not, say, coupons for hugs.
Now Touring, the Debt Duo, Simpson-Bowles (NYT)
Jackie Calmes reports that Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, the Hope and Crosby of deficit cranks, are each collecting $40,000 per appearance as they tour the country to complain about wasteful spending. Irony was found dead at the scene; foul play is suspected.
Democrats could use their own Grover Norquist (WaPo)
E.J. Dionne argues that Democrats should stop treating America’s third most famous Grover like an unstoppable bogeyman and instead try to learn a few lessons about establishing some kind of coherent baseline for progressive ideology within their own party.
New Financial Overseer Looks for Advice in All the Wrong Places (ProPublica)
Jesse Eisinger writes that the newly created Office of Financial Research is getting off on the wrong foot with the announcement of its 30-member advisory committee, though after a thorough search, it has successfully located exactly one critic of the financial system.
Bad Connections (NYT)
David Cay Johnston argues that the FCC needs to restore a healthy competition between telecoms instead of loosening the reins so Verizon and AT&T are free to provide the unparalleled high costs, slow speed, and limited coverage their customers have come to expect.