July 28

What you need to know to navigate today’s most critical debates.

Why you should care about Basel III (WaPo)
Doug Elliott explains why the capital requirements set by the meeting of international bank regulators could be just as important as the Dodd-Frank bill.

More Americans Are Financially Insecure Now Than in the Past 25 Years (Rockefeller Foundation)
A newly created Economic Security Index finds that one in five Americans are at risk for major financial loss. Download the report for a closer look at the alarming data.

Government Debt and Economic Growth: Overreaching Claims of Debt “Threshold” Suffer from Theoretical and Empirical Flaws (EPI)
John Irons and Josh Bivens offer a critique of Reinhart and Rogoff’s study of “Growth in a Time of Debt” and the deficit hawkishness it has encouraged.

Fear Factor: What’s Keeping the President From Picking the Best Person to Protect Consumers? (HuffPo)
Arianna Huffington concludes that despite the overwhelming praise Warren receives from progressives, some Democrats are still afraid to upset the banking industry.

Elizabeth Warren and Her Discontents (HuffPo)
Richard Eskow observes that Megan McMardle’s recent anti-Warren hit piece makes her look more intellectually sloppy and unserious than Warren could ever hope to be.

The Great Interchange Fee Scam (MoJo)
Kevin Drum notes how credit card use redistributes wealth from the poor to the rich and suggests that’s why hidden fees get hidden in the first place.

Bush Tax Cuts: Where Was the Growth? (Think Progress)
Matt Yglesias argues that, contrary to some conservative claims, economic performance during the Bush years was nothing to brag about.

Bankers’ Pay (NYTimes)
New guidelines for executive pay don’t go far enough to rein in reckless bets and ensure that taxpayers will never again have to foot the bill for exorbitant bonuses.

HAMP Report Revised After Analysts Question New Metric (HuffPo)
The Treasury Department was caught cheating on its homework, having artificially lowered the re-default rate for HAMP homeowners by excluding those who were kicked from the program.

Catfood Commission’s Social Security “Expert” Alice Rivlin Makes A Huge Blunder (FDL)
Before the members of the deficit commission advocate for major changes to Social Security, they should probably brush up on how the program actually works.

The Case for $320,000 Kindergarten Teachers (NYTimes)
New research indicates that the quality of one’s early education may have a significant effect on one’s earnings as an adult, providing more evidence that great teachers are a smart investment.

Congress clears war funding (Politico)
Lawmakers approved tens of billions in new spending on the Afghanistan war, but Democrats split on the lack of domestic stimulus measures.

B.P. to cut U.S. tax bill by $10 billion because of losses in gulf spill (WaPo)
In its latest attempt to shift the cost of cleaning up its own mess, B.P. plans to claim a tax credit for the financial hit it has taken this year.

Want the Good News First? (NYTimes)
The oil spill finally appears to be under control, but the Senate is still blocking reforms needed to ensure the long-term health of our coastline.

Lacking Votes, Dems Press Ahead With DISCLOSE Act (Washington Independent)
New campaign finance regulations designed to counteract the Citizens United ruling will likely face a Republican filibuster, but Democrats see it as a no-lose issue for them come November.

Senate Reform on Mad Men Time (A plain blog about politics)
In between all the smoking and drinking, Democratic lawmakers got a lot done in the ’60s — but not without procedural wrangling, electoral setbacks, and persistence.