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Obama's Pick for Treasury Is Said to Be His Chief of Staff (NYT)
Jackie Calmes reports that by tapping Jacob Lew to replace Tim Geithner at Treasury, President Obama continues to build his second-term team using the (white, male) members of his first-term team. Some of them have splurged on new tie clips to celebrate.
Jack Lew to Treasury: A Caterpillar Emerges from His Cocoon (New Yorker)
John Cassidy expects Lew to be an easy confirmation who will face opposition from the left as a Rubinite with Wall Street ties, but also thinks he should be given the benefit of the doubt since all we really know about him is that he has trouble writing his name.
The Obama Coalition vs. Corporate America (NYT)
Thomas Edsall notes that big business, which has been the power behind the throne in D.C. for decades, has a demographic problem: the young, diverse coalition of Obama voters doesn't care for it, and Republicans are tired of having it chained to their ankles.
The Banks Win Again (Prospect)
Robert Kuttner compares last February's major bank settlement, which was so weak the president had to apologize for it by appointing Eric Schneiderman to a task force that didn't really exist, to this year's model, which doesn't even come with a consolation prize.
The Latest Myth About the Government's Mishandling of the Housing Market (ProPublica)
Jesse Eisinger writes that the FHA's minor problems have been overblown by the same critics who treat GSEs and low-income borrowers as the culprits behind the financial crisis. Damn you, poor people. Always trying to pull one over on those unsuspecting banks.
U.S. Consumer Watchdog to Issue Mortgage Rules (NYT)
Edward Wyatt writes that the CFPB will announce rules for "qualified" loans (i.e., the kind that aren't designed to bleed people dry and doom their withered husks to foreclosure) that banks can offer if they'd like to stop being sued for abusing their borrowers all the time.
A White House Meeting With Low-Income Americans (The Nation)
Greg Kaufmann argues that if the president is really open to hearing good ideas from all sides, he could start by canceling his next lunch with Lloyd Blankfein and clearing time on his calendar for the people who will be most deeply affected by the budget negotiations.
A Reminder Why Protecting Social Security Is So Important (On the Economy)
Jared Bernstein writes that with private defined-benefit pension plans going the way of print journalism and cassette players, it's all the more important for the government to absorb the risks of retirement rather than handing workers a gold watch and wishing them luck.
Women Don't Like Libertarianism Because They Don't Like Libertarianism (Forbes)
Joining the debate about why there aren't more libertarian women, NND Editor Bryce Covert argues that it's not because all the cool kids prefer moochers. It's because women are best positioned to recognize that some of libertarianism's basic precepts are nonsense.
A.I.G. Says It Will Not Join Lawsuit Against Government (NYT)
Michael de la Merced and Ben Protess report that AIG's board has opted not to join former CEO Maurice Greenberg's quixotic lawsuit against the government, but if you stocked up on torches and pitchforks, you should be able to return them for at least store credit.