February 23: Volcker Overruled
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The Volcker Rule, Made Bloated and Weak (NYT)
Jesse Eisinger writes that lobbyists are trying to make the Volcker Rule implode under the weight of its own complexity, but as Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellows Joseph Stiglitz and Rob Johnson point out, if banks demand simplicity, regulators could remind them to be careful what they wish for.
If Liberals Want to Help the Poor, They Should Focus on the Middle Class (TNR)
Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Mark Schmitt argues that devoting attention to the struggles of the middle class isn’t a distraction from the plight of those who are worse off; it’s the only way to build a safety net big enough to catch all of them.
Winners and Losers From a Tax Proposal (NYT)
Binyamin Appelbaum notes that the president’s plan offsets manufacturing subsidies by raising taxes on other types of businesses ranging from oil companies to whiskey distillers — or at least making them put a little more effort into their tax evasion.
Corporations Don’t Need a Tax Cut, So Why Is Obama Proposing One? (Robert Reich)
Robert Reich suggests that closing the loopholes and keeping the corporate tax rate intact makes more sense than Obama’s plan, and having an actual strategy to stop the GOP from cutting taxes and keeping the loopholes would be even better.
‘A narrative of … life under a Romney presidency’ (WaPo)
Ezra Klein writes that if Mitt Romney’s new proposal for deep cuts to taxes and domestic spending is supposed to tell a story about what life would be like during his administration, it’s less of an inspiring narrative and more of a spooky campfire tale.
Too Big to Jail (Project Syndicate)
Simon Johnson argues that the robo-signing settlement is totally inadequate and totally in keeping with the Obama administration’s approach to the banking industry, which they treat like a bomb that could go off if they breathe too hard around it.
Responding to Critics, S.E.C. Defends ‘No Wrongdoing’ Settlements (NYT)
SEC chairwoman Mary Schapiro claims her agency’s approach to punishing financial crimes by making firms promise to go forth and sin no more is an effective deterrent, even if they have to be reminded of their promise another six or seven times.
The Buying of the President 2012: Meet the Super PAC Mega-Donors (The Nation)
Ari Berman profiles the small group of donors who are spending millions to help their prized pony win the Republican nomination. But that doesn’t mean they all support the system — just think of this as a long, expensive ad for campaign finance reform.
Why Should Anti-Choice and Anti-Gay Groups Have More Right to Boycott and Picket Than Unions? (In These Times)
Josh Eidelson notes that while secondary boycotts are illegal for unions, they’ve become one of the right’s favorite protest tactics because they’re so effective. If only that kind of power could be harnessed for good instead of nonsense.
Some Greeks Might Have to Pay for Their Jobs (Atlantic Wire)
Under Greek austerity measures, 64,000 government employees will be asked to go without pay or accept a “negative salary,” meaning they get to pay for the privilege of not being laid off. And who’d want to give up a plum position like that?
With additional research by Roosevelt Institute intern Elena Callahan.