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By Tim Price, originally posted on Next New Deal

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That Terrible Trillion (NYT)

Paul Krugman notes that fiscal conservatives often emphasize our $1 trillion deficit, as if the number alone should make liberals recoil like vampires at high noon, but their arguments are shakier when you take a closer look at the numbers that add up to that number.

In Funds We Trust? (New Yorker)

James Surowiecki argues that the downside to making Social Security and Medicare self-sufficient through payroll taxes is that trust fund shortfalls enable the GOP to pretend they're defusing entitlements that are rigged to explode instead of demolishing pillars of society.

A Strange Time for a Deficit Deal (Slate)

Matthew Yglesias writes that President Obama should make cuts if he can get something better in return, but trading the Medicare age for more deficit reduction is like telling a car dealer that the number of tires is negotiable if he throws in a few extra air fresheners.

This Week in Poverty: Kristof's Swing and Miss (The Nation)

Last week, Nicholas Kristof oddly chose to argue that Supplementary Security Income reinforces poverty while admitting he didn't have the expertise to make that argument. This week, Greg Kaufmann provides the facts in case he wants to look them up next time.

Forecast is Sunnier, but Washington Casts a Big Shadow (NYT)

Catherine Rampell reports that economists see some underlying strengths, like a housing rebound and looser credit markets, that could leave the economy much healthier this time next year. Unless, you know, Congress decides to destroy it for some bizarre reason.

Over 'fiscal cliff,' fiscal pain to accelerate (WaPo)

Let's say fiscal cliff negotiators pull a classic "U.S. Congress" and fail to reach a timely deal. Zachary Goldfarb walks us through exactly how everything will be made terrible, beginning with declining take-home pay and ending with Treasury dipping into the petty cash.

For Women Executives, Still Lonely at the Top (Prospect)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal writes that after years of stagnation in corporate board seats held by women, we should consider a quota system like the one enacted in Norway. They might just have something of value to add, like a conscience. Or a pulse.

We'll All Miss Unions When They're Gone (TNR)

Michael Kazin recalls some of unions' greatest hits, like how they raised wages for everyone, or how they ended arbitrary firing practices, or how they generally failed to recognize the divine right of their employers. Too bad those may soon be considered golden oldies.

A New Job Description for Treasury Secretary (NYT)

Just as George W. Bush declared himself a "war president," Tim Geithner was evidently chosen to be a financial meltdown Treasury Secretary. Teresa Tritch argues his replacement should remember the client is the people, not the places where they keep their money.

The Man Who Occupied the Fed: How Charles Evans Saved the Recovery (The Atlantic)

Matthew O'Brien notes that just a year ago, Chicago Fed president Charles Evans seemed to be a lone voice crying out in the wilderness for more action on unemployment. Now, it appears as though he's made it back to civilization and organized a rescue party.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Economics on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 03:14 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  book (7+ / 0-)

    Reading the article at TNR, We'll All Miss Unions When They're Gone, by Michael Kazin, led me to a book by him, out about a year, called American Dreamers: How the Left Changed a Nation.

    Here is an excerpt at Rolling Stone magazine and a

    review at The New York Times.

  •  Raising the Medicare age costs money instead of (4+ / 0-)

    saves money. The absurd thing is that Republicans don't care what the numbers say. They want something for the same reason a 2 year old wants to play in the street: Because you told him not to.

    Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

    by tekno2600 on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 11:38:48 AM PST

    •  One of many economic myths in their playbook. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Just like: Tax cuts for the wealthy do not generate jobs, facts say so. Social Security is not responsible for the deficit, facts say so. Destroying unions is not good for employment, facts say so. The only truth they bow to is ruining the middle class helps corporations and the 1 percent.

      Nice collection of articles, I can see I have a day's reading ahead of me.

      stay together / learn the flowers / go light - Gary Snyder

      by Mother Mags on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 11:52:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Austerity = Death. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "Let's see what fresh fuckwittery these dolts can contrive to torment themselves with this time." -- Iain Banks, The Hydrogen Sonata

    by Rikon Snow on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 11:39:20 AM PST

  •  Excellent digest! More like this! And no deal.... (5+ / 0-)


    Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

    by divineorder on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 11:39:20 AM PST

  •  Republicans are getting who they wanted for State (0+ / 0-)

    Will they get who they want for Treasury too? We need someone who isn't a subsidiary of Wall Street, but R's will almost certainly label any such person a "socialist." The White House gave in on Susan Rice. Would they be willing to fight for a populist treasury secretary (were such a pick even imaginable)? The NYTimes article got me thinking about this...

    "Today is who you are" - my wife

    by I Lurked For Years on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 12:22:51 PM PST

  •  Per household (0+ / 0-)

    1,000,000,000,000.00 = approx $8,770.00 per US household.

    Bush tax cuts through 2010 = approx $21,000.00 in lost revenue per US household

    Lost Revenue (Examiner) offshore = 280,000,000,000.00 div by 117,000,000 = $2,400.00 in lost revenue PER YEAR per US household.

    Chinese investment in Bonds during Iraq conflict boosted the econ 1,400,000,000,000 div by 117,000,000 = $11,970.00 per  US household- or .. subsidized the war- caused Bush to say shop more- what he really meant was buy Chinese.

    First major oil contract in Iraq towards end of war: Chinese Petroleum Corp (China Wire)

    and developing Ramallah (sp?) field with BP.

    And Mitt's proposed 2.1 trillion increase in defense spending?

    Just keep throwing around those trillions- we don't know how to cancel zeros and divide-- and we just love it.

  •  1 trillion is a huge number (0+ / 0-)

    It really is. Don't discount the fear of it. Even in perspective.

    It's not a familiar number in our cultural lexicon yet. Billion is understandable. A billion dollars doesn't seem like that much--even though THAT is a huge number, too.

    Feelings and reality mixing it up have strong reactions in most normal people. I refuse to judge any Americans for actually being afraid at the mention of those numbers.

    What we need to do is EDUCATE them about that perspective. That a trillion dollars is a small fraction of our entire worth. And getting people to realize how many DOLLARS ARE IN OUR MONETARY SYSTEM, after several generations' worth of creation of those dollars. Those dollars literally are created by the Federal Reserve system. And they keep getting created, more and more of them. In a fiat money system, they are literally just numbers in our computers.

    They're also the fruit of our labor--millions of Americans' labor, a LOT of good, productive labor--and they are backed by the FUTURE labors' fruit, the potential of our labor. And not much else.

    When we all relax and realize that's all they are, and that THAT'S OKAY, the system works just fine.

    "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

    by DaddyO on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 11:42:40 PM PST

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