If you’ve been mostly ignoring the news this summer because you’ve been chilling on a boat or relaxing in a treehouse or just decided that you know what life is too short do anything but just take one day at a time and try to get up at a reasonable hour and eat some fruit everyday and drink a glass of water and say hi to your neighbors and maybe smile at a baby every now and then and who has time to really worry about the Larger Problems of the Country and World at Large Anyway, well: Heidi N. Moore has a good little synopsis of Where We’re At and also how ridiculous it is that all anyone can talk about is Syria when there is Domestic Chaos Afoot. (“It would be a treat to see White House aides lobbying as aggressively – and on as many talk shows – for a better food stamp bill, an end to the debt-ceiling drama, or a solution to the senseless sequestration cuts, as it is on what is clearly a useless boondoggle in Syria.”)
Marcela Valdes examines “financial terror” in young adult lit, citing examples like the Hunger Games and Divergent as examples of books that depict financial insecurity as true horror. (“In recent years, realistic YA depictions of poverty and economic disparity have also turned much darker. The kinds of truly desperate characters that Little Women kept on the margins now often take center stage.”)
Heidi N. Moore has a delicious translation of Speaker Boehner’s letter to Pres. Obama about THE FISCAL CLIFF, and you should definitely read it. (“We’ve been pretty clear that we don’t want to raise taxes on people making more than $250,000 a year – but if we absolutely have to, then we insist on cutting government spending on programs like social security and Medicare.”)
If this sarcasm piques your interest in the cliff and now you’re like, oh maybe I should read about that I guess, MAY I SUGGEST this thread in which Heidi and her Guardian pal Dominic Rushe answer reader questions about the fiscal cliff. Their responses are extremely readable and understandable.
FOR EXAMPLE, Heidi answered the question, “Why is it called a cliff?” super simply (TO SCARE YOU), and then explained the whole mess in four short paragraphs.
“There’s no good reason that it’s called a cliff! The phrase was invented by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke in February and everyone stuck with it.
jelvision: “Do you see a closing of the gap or will it only get wider?”
robert reich: We’re coming close to a tipping point where, if income and wealth become any more concentrated at the top, the economy can’t function (the middle class and poor don’t have enough purchasing power) and our democracy can’t function (so much money corrupts it from the top that the majority of Americans give up on it). So we have no choice, realistically, but to reform the system — unless we want revolution.
Learn economics the fun and intuitive way with Josh Freedman at McSweeney’s: “Susan, we need to talk. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. About us. I really like you, but ever since we met in that econ class in college I knew there was something missing from how I felt: quantitative reasoning. We can say we love each other all we want, but I just can’t trust it without the data. And after performing an in-depth cost-benefit analysis of our relationship, I just don’t think this is working out.”