March 19th: Reform on the Rocks

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

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Why 2012 May Mark the End of an Era of Political Anger (TNR)
Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Mark Schmitt points out that if reelected, Obama has a chance to model FDR by using the calmness of second terms to create legislation that really tackles inequality.

Barriers to Change, From Wall St. and Geneva (NYT)
Gretchen Morgensen writes that financial institutions are still lobbying hard against change, and they have yet another trick up their sleeve: getting an agreement from the W.T.O to work in their favor.

Hurray for Health Reform (NYT)
Paul Krugman argues that the Affordable Care Act is effective and powerful legislation that cuts costs and provides health care for all people. So if you hear the buzzing of death panels and high costs, those are called (f)lies.

Goldman Op-Ed Shows Need for Volcker Rule, Democrats Say (Bloomberg)
For Democratic Senators, Greg Smith’s recent op-ed shows just how much institutions like Goldman Sachs need the Volcker Rule. Otherwise they’ll have their cake, eat it, and eat yours too.

Buy a copy of The Unfinished Revolution: Voices from the Global Fight for Women’s Rights, featuring a chapter by Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Ellen Chesler.

If You Took the Greed Out of Wall Street, All You’d Have Left Is Pavement: Why Greg Smith’s Critique is Way Too Narrow (Robert Reich)
Robert Reich explains that Goldman’s brand of greediness is nothing new on Wall Street and that our government gave them the green light to cheat when it let financial institutions strip away regulations in the 1970s.

The Argument That Could Upend Wall Street Reform (WaPo)
Suzy Khimm writes that a Republican’s concern about the Commodity Future Trading Commission’s cost-benefit analysis could strengthen the financial industry’s push for deregulation. Republican doesn’t trust government; dog bites man.

That Wishful Thinking About Tax Rates (NYT)
Christina D. Romer argues against the Republican proposed tax policy that slashes benefits for millions of Americans and provides no evidence that continuing to lower rates, especially for the rich, works.

This Week in Poverty: Me, Mom and Reagan (The Nation)
Greg Kaufman shares from a new report that 40 percent of single mothers are in poverty and, thanks to Reagan, only one in ten receive cash welfare assistance. But social programs grow back after you cut them, right?

Senate Bill Could Roll Back Consumers’ Health Insurance Savings (ProPublica)
Lena Groeger reports that a new Senate bill backed by health insurance companies would severely cut the amount of rebates customers would be owed as part of the new healthcare law of 2010. Apparently fairness doesn’t generate enough profit.