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The Sequester and the Tea Party Plot (Robert Reich)
Reich writes that the sequester is a product of the grander plans of radical Tea Party-ing conservatives who seek to breed fear, anger, and hate in order to win converts to their cause — which also happens to have been the Emperor’s strategy in Star Wars.
We’re headed for the sequester — but it won’t even do much to reduce the deficit. (WaPo)
Jamelle Bouie notes that some are trying to find a silver lining to sequestration, arguing that these may not be the cuts we want, but at least they’re cuts, which help shrink the deficit! Except when they slow the economy and shrink revenue instead. Oh well.
Ben Bernanke, Hippie (NYT)
Paul Krugman argues that opposition to austerity is now treated with the same kind of incredulity and suspicion as opposition to the Iraq War once was, but in his congressional testimony this week, the Fed chairman reeked with the patchouli oil of dissent.
Will a Government Shutdown Threat Determine the Winner of the Sequestration Fight? (TPM)
What’s better than sequestration? How about sequestration plus the expiration of the continuing resolution that funds the government, resulting in another knock-down, drag-out budgetary battle? Can we work the debt ceiling in here and go for the hat trick?
So much for ‘economic uncertainty’ (Maddow Blog)
Steve Benen notes that while the GOP used to blast President Obama for creating “economic uncertainty” by passing laws and stuff, they’ve dropped that line since they took back the House and started tying the economy to the railroad tracks on the regular.
Everything You Need to Know About the Italian Election Threatening the World Economy (The Atlantic)
Matthew O’Brien looks at the political turmoil in Italy, where an amateur comedian (Berlusconi) and a former professional comic (Grillo) hold the balance of power, sowing doubts that the country will continue to destroy itself so the ECB will agree to save it.
How the recession turned middle-class jobs into low-wage jobs (WaPo)
Brad Plumer highlights a recent San Francisco Fed presentation on NELP data showing that mid-wage jobs made up 60 percent of losses during the recession but only 27 percent of gains during the recovery, and not because the rest are living like kings.
The Six-Month Recovery (TNR)
Timothy Noah notes that new data suggest median income stagnated last May after a brief growth spurt beginning in fall 2011, meaning the average American experienced half a year of half a recovery. At least we’ll always have the memories to cherish.