Daily Digest - May 23: Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word
What you need to know to navigate today's most critical debates.
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Why Obama Should Be Attacking Casino Capitalism (Robert Reich)
Reich argues that Obama should identify JPMorgan and Bain as symptoms of the same problem: a malignant strain of capitalism based on gambling with other people's money. And in its current state, the Volcker Rule is quack medicine.
Welcoming Wall Street's Anger (Salon)
Andrew Leonard notes that Obama's reluctance to pick a fight with the banks in an election year seems misguided considering FDR's success in not only welcoming their hatred but promising that they'd hate his second term even more.
Private Equity Ain't No Reform Movement (TNR)
Timothy Noah writes that the problem with private equity firms isn't that they intentionally bankrupt companies they buy. It's that no matter what happens, those at the top are playing a game that consists of pushing the big "I win" button.
Over 99% of Federal Reserve Bank Enforcement Actions Are Resolved Without Admission of Guilt (Naked Capitalism)
Roosevelt Institute Fellow Matt Stoller notes that based on results from the last decade, bank regulation means never having to say you're sorry. But all the new regulations in the world can't stop wrongdoing if no one will admit there is any.
Mortgage and Securitization Fraud: Where Is the Task Force? (HuffPo)
Dean Baker argues that any serious investigation of mortgage fraud needs to start from the bottom and work its way up to the top bank executives who authorized and orchestrated lawbreaking. It also just needs to... you know... start.
The Modest Worth of Big Banks (NYT)
Eduardo Porter points out that despite the banks' dire warnings that more regulation would interfere with God's work, they don't do much to grow the pie for everyone else. Most of the time we're lucky if they don't trip and smash it in our faces.
Obama spending binge never happened (MarketWatch)
Rex Nutting notes that government spending has grown more slowly during the current administration than it has since Eisenhower, putting progressives in the awkward position of defending Obama for being a huge disappointment.
The GOP's fear-mongering on defense (WaPo)
Katrina vanden Heuvel writes that while Republicans warn that automatic defense cuts they once agreed to could lead to our fiery annihilation, their proposed cuts to aid for working families are far more likely to make Americans' lives unlivable.
New Rules for Prepaid Debit Cards (NYT)
Ben Protess and Jessica Silver-Greenberg report that the CFPB plans to regulate high fees and beef up disclosure requirements on increasingly popular prepaid debit cards so that the vulnerable people flocking to them aren't pre-screwed.
The 'Julia' Backlash: Because Americans Like to Pretend They Don't Need Government (The Nation)
Emily Douglas argues that criticism of "The Life of Julia" isn't (just) about conservatives' weird gender hang-ups. Americans aren't used to acknowledging all the government support that allows them to imagine they're rugged individualists.