September 29

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

Obama in Command: The Rolling Stone Interview (Rolling Stone)
The President holds forth on every topic under the sun, including his views on the Tea Party and his frustration with disenchanted liberals.

Dear White House: Here’s how to handle the left’s “whining” (WaPo)
If the Obama administration wants progressive voters to turn out this fall, Greg Sargent recommends engaging them instead of bashing them.

Your Government, Held Hostage (TNR)
The junior senator from South Carolina has single-handedly brought all legislation to a halt by denying unanimous consent. Can the Senate get any more ridiculous?

Stimulus Jobs Program’s End ‘Totally Unbelievable’ (HuffPo)
The Senate racks up another stunning failure by allowing a program that put hundreds of thousands of Americans back to work to expire this week.

Built to break (The Economist)
Ryan Avent suggests that it’s time to look beyond the individual shortcomings of our lawmakers and address the fundamental flaws in our legislative system.

Tea Party: Old Whine in New Bottles (MoJo)
Kevin Drum argues that the Tea Party is just the latest manifestation of the right-wing cranks who have hounded Democratic presidents since the days of FDR.

The Way Out of the Slump (NY Review of Books)
Paul Krugman and Robin Wells make the case for a kitchen-sink approach to boosting the recovery and urge central bankers to rouse themselves from their stupor.

A Convenient Truth: Gearing Up For Climate Change Could Supercharge The Job Market (HuffPo)
Dan Froomkin highlights the substantial upsides to a clean-energy economy.

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Income Gap Widens: Census Finds Record Gap Between Rich And Poor (AP)
The richest Americans now out-earn the poorest Americans by a 14.5-to-1 margin, with the top 20 percent bringing in almost half of all income.

Using multiple price indexes to measure changes in inequality is not a good idea (Interfluidity)
Steve Waldman explains that relative price changes may offer the rich cheaper substitutes for their consumption, but the poor always face limited options.

Theoretical Egalitarians (Slate)
Timothy Noah notes that Americans just can’t wrap their heads around the sheer magnitude of inequality in this country.

The Real Impact of Food Stamp Cuts (Washington Independent)
Annie Lowrey reports on one hunger advocate’s experience with living a week on SNAP benefits, and on how proposed cutbacks would affect the truly poor.

Shadow Banks Pose Major Threat to Financial Stability (Fiscal Times)
Mark Thoma warns that without regulation to prevent another run on shadow banks, we could be in for an encore of the 2008 financial collapse.

Rating Agencies, The Subprime Blame Game, and Fishy FCIC Testimony (Naked Capitalism)
Yves Smith attempts to fill in a few gaps in the story told by Clayton Holdings execs.

A Million Here, a Million There? (TAP)
Paul Waldman predicts that federal spending will keep going up no matter who’s in charge and suggests that everyone stop worrying so much about it.

Obama Passing Healthcare Reform Is Like FDR Bringing Booze Back (TNR)
Jonathan Bernstein pushes back on critics who claim that Obama should have emulated FDR by focusing solely on the economy and ignoring partisan priorities.

Saying No to ‘I Do,’ With the Economy in Mind (NYTimes)
Marriage rates have hit an all-time low due in part to job insecurity, but the economy may also be providing cover to a generation of commitment-phobes.