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The 1 Percent’s Solution (NYT)
Paul Krugman argues that the embarrassing collapse of austerity’s intellectual justifications might not mean that austerity itself is over, since there isn’t a lot of deep thought involved in wealthy elites tapping policymakers on the shoulder and saying, “Hey, do this.”
Four ideas for fixing the long-term unemployment crisis (WaPo)
Brad Plumer writes that proposed solutions include job training, wage subsidies, direct hiring, and (in Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal’s case) full employment, but like America’s 4.7 million long-term unemployed, the current approach definitely isn’t working.
Why Kids Still Can’t Have It All (Prospect)
Monica Potts notes that working families are struggling as states cut back on child-care subsidies, and sequestration is adding to the pain with cuts to programs like Head Start. Soon even high-powered moms may not be able to afford a stylish leather tote for their kids.
Senate Democrats’ Shameful Cave on Flight Delays (TNR)
Noam Scheiber calls out Congress for predictably scrambling to fix one part of the sequester that has proven mildly irritating to business travelers when the best they can muster in response to, let’s say, a series of horrific shooting sprees is a resigned shrug.
Banks Continue to Scaremonger Over Nonexistent Down Payment Requirements (MoJo)
Kevin Drum writes that, contrary to banks’ claims that their hands are tied by new Dodd-Frank rules, they’re still allowed to issue any kind of loans they want. But if they wind up with a pile of garbage, they can’t just dump it all on someone else’s lawn and run away.
Big Banks’ Tall Tales (Project Syndicate)
Simon Johnson examines the two competing narratives that dominate the debate around financial reform: The first one, preferred by bankers, is that we’ve already had all the reform we need and all is well. The other story, about the ongoing threat of TBTF, is nonfiction.
Texas Explosion: Gov’t Shared Info for Anti-Terrorism, But Not Workplace Safety (In These Times)
Mike Elk notes that Americans are 270 times more likely to die in a workplace accident than from terrorism, but Homeland Security’s budget is 84 times the size of OSHA’s. Luckily, the phone call that could have prevented the fertilizer plant explosion is pretty cheap.
Congressman Finally Takes Action to Remove Needless Requirement Bankrupting the Postal Service (Think Progress)
Annie-Rose Strasser writes that Rep. Peter DeFazio has introduced a bill that would authorize the USPS to stop hitting itself and end the requirement that it pre-fund 75 years’ worth of retirement benefits so it can actually pay its employees to keep working instead.