May 27

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

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The Economy Is Wavering. Does Washington Notice? (NYTimes)
David Leonhardt notes that despite rising jobless claims and weak economic growth, policymakers are confident about the recovery. Are we really turning a corner, or have they just left the turn signal on? Plus, Leonhardt cites Roosevelt’s Georgia Levenson Keohane on elite colleges.

Obama, GOP unveil competing plans for job growth (WaPo)
Republicans claim they can boost jobs by cutting the corporate income tax, while the Obama administration wants to do it by… cutting workplace and environmental regulations? Wait, wasn’t there supposed to be a Democratic plan, too?

Fed Gave Banks Crisis Gains on Secretive Loans Low as 0.01% (Bloomberg)
The Fed’s $80 billion ST OMO facility may have started out as a rescue attempt, but Michael Greenberger says it ultimately became a way to hand out free money to banks. Naturally, Congress never even heard about it.

Financial Lobbying and the Housing Crisis (NYTimes)
A new study by IMF economists finds a strong positive connection between the amount lenders spent lobbying Congress and the bailouts they received. Sort of a “you scratch my back, I’ll give you $700 billion” arrangement.

The New-Economy Movement (The Nation)
Gar Alperovitz reports on the rising number of activists and business leaders seeking a socially and environmentally conscious path toward economic growth.

To Save the Euro, Germany Has to Quit the Eurozone (Naked Capitalism)
Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Marshall Auerback argues that Germany’s resistance to reform and embrace of austerity is keeping weaker eurozone members from getting their fiscal houses in order.

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Still French, Not Male (Slate)
Annie Lowrey thinks Christine Lagarde’s a shoo-in for the IMF’s top job based on identity politics, but her actual political skills don’t hurt, either. ND20 Editor Lynn Parramore would like to see a stronger break from tradition.

The Problem With Christine Lagarde (Baseline Scenario)
Lagarde is touted as a leader who can guide the eurozone through this crisis, but Simon Johnson warns that a staunch opponent of debt restructuring is the last person Europe needs at the helm.

Senate Republicans To Block Obama Recess Appointments (TPM)
Though Congress will be in recess next week, the GOP is going to pretend to keep working in order to keep Elizabeth Warren out of a job.

Medicare and Mediscares (NYTimes)
Paul Ryan claims that his Medicare privatization plan is unpopular because of Democrats’ lies and distortions. Paul Krugman argues that voters understand the plan just fine, which is why they hate it.

The GOP’s Real Budget Hatchet Man (MoJo)
While Ryan gets the media attention for going after the big-ticket items, Appropriations chairman Hal Rogers is quietly whittling away at programs like food stamps that have a much less visible constituency.

Improper Military Foreclosures: U.S. Settles With Two Firms (HuffPo)
Saxon and Bank of America have agreed to a $22 million settlement after illegally throwing 170 service members and their families out of their homes. Now for everyone else.

Misconceptions and Realities About Who Pays Taxes (CBPP)
Sorry, Randians: the “parasite” population has been wildly overestimated.