Heidi Shierholz: Five-year anniversary check-in: still nearly nine million jobs down: This morning’s jobs report was status quo. The labor market added 155,000 jobs in December, right in line with the 153,000 average of the first 11 months of the year, and the unemployment rate, at 7.8 percent, was unchanged from the revised November unemployment rate. The problem, of course, is that a status quo report in today’s labor market represents an ongoing jobs crisis. The jobs deficit – the number of jobs lost since the recession officially began five years ago plus the number of jobs we should have added just to keep up with the normal growth in the potential labor force – remains nearly nine million. At December’s growth rate the labor market will not fill in that gap until the end of 2021.
Brian Powell: The Oklahoman's New Year Prayer For Cooler Temps Ignores Climate Change: "The Oklahoman's wish reeks of irony; the paper has regularly denied the existence of global warming while pushing for energy policies that would benefit the paper's billionaire owner, oil and gas tycoon Philip Anschutz, and continue us on the path of further warming. Unsurprisingly, the paper's complaint about the extreme weather was devoid of deeper context…"
Paul Krugman: Debt in a Time of Zero: "[W]hy does the Federal government have to borrow at all? Why can’t it just print money to pay its bills? After all, haven’t people like me been saying that this isn’t actually inflationary? Now, it turns out that there really is a problem…. [P]rinting money isn’t at all inflationary under current conditions…. But eventually these conditions will end. At that point, to prevent a sharp rise in inflation the Fed will want to pull back much of the monetary base it created in response to the crisis, which means selling off the Federal debt it bought…"
Josh Marshall: Remains the Same: "Everything that happened over the last few days leaves us exactly where we were, which is that everything now comes down to a fight over the debt-ceiling — and now without the cudgel of the automatic end of the Bush tax cuts…. Just a short while ago I had a Dem point me to some tweets from former Bush administration spokesman Tony Fratto saying basically that pushing the country into default just isn’t a legit negotiating position. Well, if only Tony Fratto were running the House GOP. When it comes to budgetary hostage taking and threatening the country’s full faith and credit (which is a constitutional imperative, it’s worth noting) I don’t believe we’re nearing or will likely ever hit Peak Crazy. All that means this looks like a chaotic and destructive couple months ahead of us."
Kevin Drum: Crime Is at its Lowest Level in 50 Years. A Simple Molecule May Be the Reason Why: "I've written several posts recently about the idea that America's great crime epidemic, which started in the 60s and peaked in the early 90s, was caused in large part by lead emissions from automobiles…. The long version of the story is on the cover of the current issue of Mother Jones, and today it's available online for the first time."
Frances Coppola: When governments become banks
Nouriel Roubini: US has been let down by its leadership: "A deal that extends unsustainable tax cuts for 98% of Americans is no victory"