Young news readers (from Cornell Univ. Lib., 1920)

Had some things to take care of this afternoon, so here’s an early roundup.

• Alison Frankel says investors shouldn’t worry that they’ll get shut out of the decision-making process in principal reductions mandated by the foreclosure fraud settlement. I’ve heard the same thing from AG offices. I suspect that at least some of the “consent” is implied, and investors won’t know they’ve granted it until further down the road. Again, it would be nice if we had a TERM SHEET five days after the announcement of the settlement so we could be sure.

• Florida homeowners aren’t thrilled by the settlement.

• Considering that Fannie and Freddie represent 2/3 of the housing market, whether the Administration gets its way on write-downs of GSE-backed loans will have a lot more to do with whether or not their housing policy is successful.

• Everyone’s talking about this NYT story about how critics of the safety net depend on it themselves. This connects to additional research showing that the non-working poor get a tiny sliver of overall safety net benefits (which calls into question whether we should call it a safety net at all, or something more appropriate.

• Brad Plumer breaks down winners and losers in the Obama FY2013 budget. Education did well; the EPA and community development grants did not. 42% of the health care savings, out of $360 billion in total cuts, come from Medicaid drug rebates.

• We’ve seen the hype on “green shoots” at least twice since the Great Recession. Trust but verify.

• As Washington signs marriage equality into law, the New Jersey State Senate passes their own marriage equality bill. Downsides: everyone expects anti-equality advocates to get a repeal of the Washington legislation on the ballot for November, which would block implementation. And New Jersey Governor Chris Christie already said he would veto his state’s bill.

Rick Santorum takes the lead in Michigan and is neck-and-neck nationally with Mitt Romney, as the National Review calls on Newt Gingrich to step aside and drop out to give Santorum more of a chance. Crazy Republican world, in’t it?

• The first-time homebuyers tax credit was terrible public policy.

• One side effect of the GOP caving on the payroll tax cut and introducing an extension without offsets – it could take us closer to the nightmare scenario of hitting the debt limit before the 2012 elections.

• Ayman al-Zawahiri, the new leader of Al Qaeda, called for the overthrow of the Syrian government, a new wrinkle into the uprising that could give Bashar al-Assad an opening to accuse his opponents of being terrorists.

Heartbreaking stuff from the BBC about American tent cities. You heard about this in 2008, but not much anymore. [cont’d]

• The SEC is getting around to investigating private equity firms and their business practices.

• The new American way of war continues with an expected expansion of the euphemistically named “special operations.”

• With an imminent amendment vote scheduled in the Senate on Keystone XL, progressive groups have organized and so far delivered over 300,000 signatures in opposition to the tar sands pipeline.

• Nobody has cut more jobs in the Great Recession than the federal government.

• A US envoy will meet with North Korean negotiators in Beijing next week, for the first round of talks during the reign of Kim Jong-un.

• The Obama campaign believes that Arizona is in play in the Presidential election.

• The Daily Caller’s expose of Media Matters isn’t really worth much comment, so I’ll just say that the DC did a nice job of proving that Media Matters is fulfilling its intended purpose.

• Apple still doing damage control over its Chinese factories.

• Tucked into the budget is a money-saving measure – literally – to make pennies and nickels out of cheaper materials.

Disgusting of Sony to immediately raise the online prices of Whitney Houston albums after reports surfaced of her death.

David Dayen

David Dayen