Daily digest – The pessimists’ delight
What you need to know to navigate today’s most critical debates.
Signs Point to Economy’s Rise, but Experts See a False Dawn (NYT) Annie Lowrey reports that several recent indicators have exceeded expectations, but analysts predict the one-two punch of the euro crisis and the rolling crisis that is the U.S. Congress will drag us down in 2012.
Housing Slump Was Deeper (WSJ) The National Association of Realtors estimates that there were 2.9 million fewer homes sold between 2007 and 2010 than originally reported, but on the bright side, home sales rose last month. Assuming they figured out how to count this time.
Nobody Could Have Predicted (NYT) Paul Krugman notes that while the president’s defenders claim he got the biggest stimulus he could through Congress, his own defense is that no one knew the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression would turn out to be such a big deal.
Paul Krugman vs. the White House: Stimulus edition (WaPo) Ezra Klein takes issue with Krugman’s point, arguing that the initial stimulus couldn’t have been much larger as a practical matter and that the crisis was so bad that even pessimists like Krugman had trouble recognizing the glass’s profound half-emptiness.
Unions Win More Freedom to Organize in Workplace (WSJ) By a vote of two to one, the NLRB adopted new rules that will hinder employers’ traditional approach to union elections, which is to immediately issue gratuitous legal challenges like it’s Florida in 2000 and they just spotted a dimpled chad.
“We Own Wall Street” (Slate) Eliot Spitzer writes that in order to change the way Wall Street does business, protesters must stop leaving firms to their own devices and start exercising their own power as stakeholders to increase transparency and take money out of politics.
A Central Bank Doing What It Should (NYT) After stomping its feet for weeks and insisting that it won’t bail out struggling sovereign governments, no way, no how, the ECB is all, “Oh, the banks? Sure, we’ll lend to the banks. Here, have some free money.” At least it’s a start.
Cutting Pell Grants Is Unnecessary and Unwise (CBPP) Kelsey Merrick argues that in a weak economy with skyrocketing education costs, Congress really shouldn’t be trying to make it harder for poor kids to pay for college. Unfortunately, that’s currently the centerpiece of U.S. policy on college aid.
At Wal-Mart a Microcosm of U.S. Inequalities (Bloomberg) Jeffrey Goldberg notes that Alice Walton’s new art museum seems designed to keep out the riff-raff, the riff-raff in this case being the legions of underpaid workers who serve as the foundation of her family’s multi-billion dollar fortune.
Pity the Elf Slaves of Online Shipping (MoJo) The miracle of modern technology allows us to beat the rush and buy all our gifts with just the click of a button, plus the back-breaking work of warehouse temps who can be fired for taking a bathroom break or asking a question. Happy holidays!
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