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Thursday, April 19, 2012

What We’re Reading, 4/19/12

Every morning, we poll the staff and round up their favorite economic, financial and political reads of the day. What we’re discussing in the break room today: campaign debts, the ethics of Target, and the post-cubicle office.

"The Business of Ending a Presidential Campaign," by Julie Bykowicz (Businessweek). Santorum ended his campaign with $1 million in debt. Hillary Clinton still owes nearly half a million dollars on her presidential run. While candidates may fade from the public spotlight, their expenses live on long after someone else has won.

"Closing the Gender Gap," by Margaret Talbot (New Yorker). "What do women want? Didn’t Mel Gibson answer that?" Jokes magazine writer Susannah Snider (who, your friendly curator is pleased to announce, recently made the jump from mag reporter). Jokes and congratulations aside, ladies tend to lean Democratic — and the Romney campaign is struggling to determine how to reach them. 

"The Inequality Obsession, by Holman Jenkins (Wall Street Journal). Nary a day goes by when we don’t see a headline about the 1% and 99% — heck, we post a lot of them on this Tumblr. Jenkins claims it’s reached the level of cultural obsession. “I never thought about it that way,” said’s social media guru, Amanda Lilly. “I also love the part where he asks why we’re so concerned with ‘getting even’ with the 1%, rather than improving everyone’s opportunities.”

"Mitt Romney, American Parasite," by Pete Kotz (VIllage Voice). Kotz’s colorful long read on Romney’s work at Bain Capital unearths, in his words, “everything you hate about capitalism.” (In related news, Nate Silver thinks Romney’s poor favorability ratings don’t really matter in the long run.)

"Are All Mega-Chains the Same?" By David Sirota (Salon). When Sirota asks if all chains are the same, he’s not talking about quality — we all know Trader Joe’s has better hummus than Wal-Mart. Rather, he’s curious about their effects on labor unions, small business and the local economy, the issues of so-called “ethical consumers.” 

"Insurance-Coverage Gaps for 48 Million Americans in 2011," by Louise Radnofsky (Wall Street Journal). A new study finds that one in four working-age adults suffered a gap in health insurance coverage last year. “This cuts right to the heart of universal health care,” says magazine reporter John Miley. “There are such huge numbers of people who go uninsured. The study began a year ago — it makes you wonder what things look like today.”

"Talks With Instagram Suggest a $104 Billion Valuation for Facebook," by Evelyn Rusli (New York Times). A million dollars isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? $104 billion. 

And in other news: Some companies are killing cubicles to save cash, Justin Peters wonders why there aren’t more beards in politics, office drinking didn’t end in the Mad Men days, and a group in D.C. is trying to give workaholics a break — by organizing events like pie-throwing parties. (“I really like this, minus the pie in the face,” says mag writer Susannah Snider. “I prefer cake.”)

What are you reading?