How’s looming Armageddon on your side of the world?

• Other moments of note from the Twitter townhall included the part where Obama acknowledged that his economic team misjudged the depth of the recession until four months after he came into office. As Atrios said, this doesn’t square with the pivot to deficit reduction months after that, or the “green shoots” campaign right around that time. They were far too quick to take credit for a job they knew was inadequate. And of course now, the President is slipping into a kind of economic fatalism that concludes unemployment is structural and there’s not much we can do.

• House Democrats are at least talking tough on the debt limit at this point, saying they’ll vote no on an all-cuts deal, and won’t help out John Boehner with the vote unless revenues are included. This new tone includes Steny Hoyer, by the way.

• Debbie Wasserman Schultz got in trouble for comparing voter suppression laws in the states to Jim Crow laws. Let’s see if Bill Clinton fields the same criticism. There’s no doubt that the GOP game plan is to make it harder for traditional Democratic constituencies to vote, pure and simple. Whether this takes the form of a technical poll tax or intimidation or not, the analogy seems apt to me.

• The other thing I noticed in the Twitter townhall was that Obama isn’t moving yet on the Bush tax cuts for people making under $250,000 a year. “What we’ve said is let’s make permanent the Bush tax cuts for low and moderate income folks — people in — for the 98 percent of people who, frankly, have not seen their wages go up or their incomes go up over the last decade. They don’t have a lot of room; they’re already struggling to meet the rising cost of health care and education and gas prices and food prices.” Increasing their wages through tightening the labor market would help with that. And I maintain that a member of the working poor would have a better time of it paying a bit more on taxes but having their Medicaid and food stamps intact.

• While the debt limit talks are ongoing, House Republicans are working their way through appropriations bills, and the priorities are clear: less for transportation and infrastructure, and more for defense (yes, a net increase in the defense budget). Republicans don’t care about the deficit, they just want to cut liberal social programs.

• The Business Roundtable could care less about deficit reduction, too. They’re in it for the tax loopholes.

• It’s worth taking seriously the implications of ignoring the debt limit. It would create the mother of all hissy fits, a Constitutional crisis, and, according to Rep. Tim Scott, impeachment proceedings. The question is whether this is preferable to a default event, if that’s what it comes down to at the end.

• The other thing individual Republican lawmakers want is individual stimulus they can tout.

• Another group of investors step up to challenge the Bank of America MBS settlement. Yves Smith has a great summary of the first challenge, and why this matters for fixing the housing market humanely.

• The CEO of the embattled foreclosure document processing company LPS resigned due to health reasons today.

• This is a very good policy shift by the President, moving to sign condolence letters for active duty military personnel who commit suicide while serving. Mental health is a cause of death on the battlefield; it’s nice to see that acknowledged.

Excellent piece in the New York Times showing that immigration from Mexico has slowed dramatically, and not just because of the recession, but because quality of life in Mexico has improved enough for people to stay. That’s good news for Mexicans generally, and it should drive our immigration policy decisions.

• Brad DeLong is on an apology tour, stopping this time at Bloomberg, on the liquidity trap.

• Whatever happened to repeal and replace?

• Big trade victory, as the WTO finds that China illegally restricted exports of raw materials to increase prices. They do that with currency too, you know, only in reverse.

• This phone hacking scandal in the UK, at one of Rupert Murdoch’s publications, broke wide open today. Apparently it’s standard practice at his news outlets to hack into a missing girl’s phone and delete voicemails, then telling the parents the girl must be alive because she cleared out her phone.

“Bolt your doors,” says the mayor of Alta, Texas, after he laid off the entire police force to save money. Welcome to the new normal.

• Kind of a misleading story on public employee pay in the LA Times, which boldly claims that “1,400 workers made over $200,000 a year!” only to reveal that close to 80% of them are physicians and medical professionals at the jails, making at or below market rates in harsh conditions.

• Would like to see Nate Silver parse this poll on the deficit and stimulus. But yes, the effects of leaving the stimulus playing field for 18 months has cemented a belief in the public that only cutting the deficit can save us now.

• What, you didn’t know that the Afghan Parliament is trying to impeach Hamid Karzai?

• Libyan rebels are actually getting closer to Tripoli. With whose weapons?

• France has banned hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

• The CFTC has the goods on day trading and other rampant speculation in the oil markets. So why aren’t they cracking down on it?

Surgically implanted bombs becomes the latest scare story to justify whatever liberty deprivations.

• I will be sitting in my house with the lights off on July 16-17, when they close the 405 Freeway for repairs. Not moving an inch.

David Dayen

David Dayen

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