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Either Way We're Going Over the Cliff (NYRB)
Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Jeff Madrick writes that even if we avoid full-fledged disaster, the compromises on the table will slow growth and prolong unemployment. But there are smarter approaches to the fiscal cliff than placing an air mattress at the bottom.
Boehner abandons plan to avoid 'fiscal cliff' (WaPo)
Looks like the Speaker dropped a big lump of coal in everyone's stocking. Lori Montgomery and Rosalind Helderman report that after failing to muster votes for his Plan B, John Boehner has closed up shop until after Christmas and told Democrats to figure it all out.
The humiliation of John Boehner (Salon)
Steve Kornacki argues that Plan B's failure casts doubt on the negotiations and Boehner's political future, as it's clear his party won't listen if he says something they don't like. Luckily, no one else wants to tell them "We have to compromise with the president," either.
Playing Taxes Hold 'Em (NYT)
Paul Krugman writes that the fiscal cliff negotiations have devolved into the world's most high-stakes celebrity poker game, and as in 2011, the only thing saving President Obama from his own poor poker skills is the Republicans' belief that they're playing Go Fish.
Let's Celebrate the Failure of the July 2011 Great Betrayal (NEP)
William K. Black offers a reminder that no matter what terminology we use, the fiscal cliff isn't a natural feature of our economy that policymakers have blindly stumbled toward. It's a hole they dug for themselves—and for us—with their last failed push for austerity.
The progressive Plan B for the fiscal cliff (WaPo)
Suzy Khimm notes that progressives already feel the president has given up too much ground, but if they can't pull him all the way back, they're hoping they can at least nudge him in the right direction on corporate taxes, entitlements, and discretionary spending.
Revealed: Why the Pundits Are Wrong About Big Money and the 2012 Elections (AlterNet)
Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Tom Ferguson, Paul Jorgensen and Jie Chen explain that while two presidential campaigns pointing cannons full of money at each other didn't have much visible impact, burying your opponent in cash was still effective in House races.
How the Right is Wrong About Happiness (HuffPo)
Jeffrey Sachs writes that an Arthur Brooks op-ed claiming generous social spending makes recipients unhappy doesn't jibe with the available data, and the super-wealthy CEOs floating on cloud nine didn't get up there without climbing on someone else's shoulders.
Today in Poverty: An Education Wish List (The Nation)
Greg Kaufmann and Elaine Weiss argue that while we're in the gift-giving mood, we shouldn't stop at showering our kids in the flashy toys and gadgets they've asked for this Christmas. We should invest in providing them with healthy lives and a quality education.
Everything You Need to Know About the Economy in 2012, in 34 Charts (The Atlantic)
It might be more relaxing to stare at the Yule Log, but if you want to keep your brain stimulated over the holiday break, pour a mug of hot chocolate and pore over these graphs selected by America's top econowonks, including Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal.