What We’re Reading, 3/28/12
Every morning, we poll the staff and round up their favorite economic, financial and political reads of the day. On our collective radar today: debt deal #longreads, Gingrich staff cuts, and the true cost of fine dining.
"Obama vs. Boehner: Who Killed the Debt Deal?" By Matt Bai (The New York Times magazine). Bai’s much anticipated 9,700-word story might be the conclusive take on the so-called “grand bargain” that collapsed last summer. “If we understand what really went on last July, then we’ll have a better sense of how difficult it will be for the two parties to stave off the coming political calamity and why, too, the situation may not be quite as hopeless as it seems,” writes Bai.
"Gingrich Cuts Staff, Aims for Tampa," by Mike Allen and Ginger Gibson (Politico). Gingrich slashed his staff by a third this morning in what Politico calls an attempt to save his “flailing” campaign. Kiplinger’s Richard Sammon explained last week why Gingrich is still hanging in the race, despite his losses.
"Diane Sawyer Sits Down With Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke" (ABC World News). Sawyer grilled the Fed chairman on gas prices, the housing market and unemployment during last night’s World News. His response in a nutshell: “I think that our economy’s gonna recover and continue to grow and be a world leader. But we’ve got a lot of challenges, and there’s no covering up that fact.”
"Why More Americans Are Living Alone" (PBS NewsHour). While we’re talking transcripts, here’s another interesting segment that aired last night: Eric Klinenberg, a sociologist at New York University, breaks down “the biggest social change of the last 50 or 60 years” — more Americans live alone. It could have huge implications for urban planning and economies in the future.
"High-End Food, Low Wage Labor," by Laurie Woolever (Dissent magazine). Woolever dissects restaurant economics, where chefs and executives take home big paychecks — but most employees make about $274 a week. The story is paywalled on Dissentmagazine.org, but still available (where else!) on Woolever’s Tumblr.
"What Does the Health-Care Law Mean to Me?" By Wilson Andrews and Karen Yourish (The Washington Post). We aren’t reading this interactive, per se, but it explains the implications of health care reform better than many a story on the subject. “Answer a few questions and get a quick overview of how the health care law will impact you,” says Kip reporter Neema Roshania. “It’s pretty cool!”
What are you reading?
What We’re Reading, 3/22/12
Every morning, we poll the staff and round-up their favorite economic, financial and political reads of the day. In our inboxes and on our iPads this morning: Student debt, North Dakota boom times, and a new name for everyone’s favorite brand of macaroni and cheese.
"Too Big to Fail: Student Debt Hits a Trillion," by Rohit Chopra (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau). Chopra calls it “sobering,” but we’ll call it staggering: A blog post by the CFPB’s student loan ombudsman claims that U.S. student debt tops $1 trillion — 16% higher than an estimate released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York earlier this year.
"Mitt Romney’s Evangelical Problem," by Ryan Lizza (The New Yorker). Forget Romney’s Etch-a-Sketch drama — his real struggle is with evangelical voters, who have failed to embrace him in any contest thus far. This line from Lizza’s analysis is telling: “The single best predictor of whether Romney loses a state is the percentage of voters who describe themselves as evangelical.”
"How Far Would You Go for a Comeback?" By Ann Carrns (The New York Times). You may not have heard of Williston, North Dakota. But the town of 15,000, “ground zero in North Dakota’s petroleum explosion,” is attracting thousands of people who can’t find work elsewhere.
"The Nonprofit 1 Percent," by Steven Thrasher (The Village Voice). This week’s Voice cover story makes a surprising claim about salaries and excess at New York nonprofits: “In the nonprofit world, things don’t turn out to be so different than in places like Wall Street.”
"Kraft’s Top Lawyer Says Let’s Rename the Company ‘Mondelez,’" by Jim Edwards (Business Insider). Kraft’s apparently renaming its international division — with some interesting outcomes. “I don’t know what kind of weight Kraft’s name pulls in, say, Mexico or England, but you have to wonder at this decision,” jokes Kip reporter Susannah Snider. “At least they nixed ‘Tfark.’”
What We’re Reading, 3/20/2012
Good morning, Tumblr! Every day, we round up the favorite morning reads of the Kiplinger staff. On the list this sunny Tuesday: Budget proposals, Madoff’s prison letters, and what your hair has to do with the economy.
"The GOP Budget and America’s Future," by Paul Ryan (The Wall Street Journal). Budget Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan released the GOP budget proposal this morning to great fanfare. He also penned this hefty WSJ editorial, which lays out the Republicans’ “new Path to Prosperity.” The Washington Post sums it up here.
"U.S. War Game Sees Perils of Israeli Strike Against Iran," by Mark Mazzetti and Thom Shanker (The New York Times). We’re all following the Iran/Israel conflict, but no one more closely than Ken Bazinet, who covers politics for the Letter. “This spells out the perils of an uncertain strike against Iran’s nuclear sites and why the Pentagon isn’t sure an attack will work,” he says. “But there is still a belief that Israel could launch a strike in the next year.”
"The Secret Madoff Prison Letters," by Diana Henriques (Forbes). Madoff’s best-known biographer drops several pages of emails Madoff sent her from jail — his attempt, she says, to rewrite his history.
"Vatican Bank Image Hurt as JP Morgan Closes Account," by Philip Pullella and Lisa Jucca (Reuters). Staff writer Lisa Gerstner sent this link with a note: “Apparently the Holy See is too opaque for JP Morgan Chase, which shut down one of the Vatican’s bank accounts for lack of transparency.” We’ll leave further puns to you.
"Breaking Down the Mortgage Settlement: How Far Does $26 Billion Go?" By Cora Currier (ProPublica). ProPublica lays out the numbers from last week’s settlement over mortgage servicing abuses, with some interesting results. For instance: Only five percent of underwater mortgages will qualify for modification.
"How Do Racial Attitudes Affect Opinions About the Health Care Overhaul?" By Shankar Vedantam (Morning Edition). A new paper by Brown University researcher Michael Tessler suggests that attitudes toward race and health care policy are linked.
And to end on a light note, as we often do: Disney’s John Carter may rank among Hollywood’s biggest flops of all time, costing the studio some $200 million. In better news, beauty salon sales are up, which indicates a growing economy.
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