Welcome to Wonkbook, Wonkblog’s morning policy news primer by Puneet Kollipara (@pkollipara). To subscribe by e-mail, click here. Send comments, criticism or ideas to Wonkbook at Washpost dot com. To read more by the Wonkblog team, click here. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
Wonkbook’s Number of the Day: $245,340. That's how much a middle-income family can expect to pay to raise a child born in 2013, up 1.8 percent from the previous year.
Wonkbook’s Chart of the Day: The nation's public schools this fall will for the first time be majority-minority.
Wonkbook's Top 4 Stories: (1) The Fed goes to Jackson Hole; (2) U.S. action for the present Ferguson and future ones; (3) new twist in Obama's immigration-action push; and (4) fossil-fuel export developments.
1. Top story: What the Fed will be talking about this week in Jackson Hole
One area of concern: part-time work. "Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has a stubborn warning light blinking on her labor market dashboard: A group of Americans larger than Washington state's population can find only part-time work....Those 7.5 million part-time workers who want full-time jobs are inflating the broad measure of underemployment she watches to gauge job market health. Involuntary part-time workers have gained by 325,000 from February's five-year low. With employment and inflation nearing Fed goals, Yellen has consistently cautioned some labor market measures still show enough slack to warrant keeping interest rates low." Jeff Kearns and Jeanna Smialek in Bloomberg.
Don't expect major policy announcements. "Few predict anything so momentous as the speech by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke two years ago that paved the way for an unprecedented $85 billion per month stimulus plan. But policymakers will discuss at length their thinking around the labor markets of major economies at the Aug. 21-23 meeting, perhaps dropping clues about the path for monetary policy in the months ahead....Further policy hints might also come in the form of minutes from the Fed and BoE's last monetary policy meetings, due to be published on Wednesday." Andy Bruce in Reuters.
Charts: When packing for Jackson Hole, don't forget these other economic indicators. Kathleen Madigan in The Wall Street Journal.
More jobs are open, but they're filling slowly. "The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that employers reported in June that they had 4.5 million available jobs that they were unable to fill. That is the highest number since 2007, and more than twice as high as the figure in October 2009....That figure was contained in the monthly Jolts report — Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. Until recently, the survey tended to get relatively little attention....But since Janet L. Yellen, the chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, began to cite them in her assessment of the economy, they have received more attention in the hope that they may provide a hint of when the Fed will begin to raise interest rates.." Floyd Norris in The New York Times.
Meanwhile, better-paying jobs finally stage comeback. "Hiring has picked up steam in areas such as construction, manufacturing and professional services in recent months — sectors with a median hourly wage of at least $20. Nearly 40 percent of the jobs created over the past six months have been in high-wage industries, compared with just a quarter during the last half of 2013, according to an analysis by the National Employment Law Project for The Washington Post. Meanwhile, growth in many low-paying jobs has leveled off or even declined....Many economists, including...Yellen, have pointed to an increase in earnings as one of the key missing pieces of the recovery." Ylan Q. Mui in The Washington Post.
Primary source: An unbalanced recovery: Real wage and job growth trends. National Employment Law Project.
Chicago Fed paper: Slack hurts wage growth. "The U.S. labor market still has plenty of unused capacity or 'slack,' and that hurts workers at the bottom of the income ladder the most, according to a paper released Friday by two economists from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. They say labor market conditions have 'yet to revert fully to prerecessionary levels.' If job market conditions prevalent in 2005 through 2007, before the recession started, had been restored by this summer, the authors estimate, then average real wage growth, adjusted for inflation, would have been 0.5 percentage point to 1 percentage point higher." Pedro Nicolaci da Costa in The Wall Street Journal.
Timing of first rate hike? Fed officials can be patient. "Fed forecasts show most officials expect to start raising rates next year. Many market participants see mid-2015 as the starting point. The Fed's move is especially important because many of the world's other central banks follow its lead. If Ms. Yellen waits, other central banks will have an incentive to wait, too. Top Fed officials believe they can be patient before starting to raise short-term rates. Among the reasons why: Whether they look at financial markets or the broader economy, the actual prices people pay for Treasury bonds, workers' wages or the costs of day-to-day consumer goods aren't signaling an economy near overheating." Jon Hilsenrath in The Wall Street Journal.
The Fed's thinking on inflation. "Overall, inflation has been rising in recent months, a fact acknowledged by the Fed at its July policy meeting. The U.S. central bank, which had repeatedly warned that price pressures were too low, said the likelihood of inflation running persistently below its 2 percent target had diminished somewhat. Firming inflation and a tightening labor market have led some economists to anticipate an early interest rate increase from the Fed. The central bank, however, has shown no sign of being in a hurry to lift its benchmark lending rate from near zero, where it has been since December 2008." Lucia Mutikani in Reuters.
Labor market shows signs of strength in most states. "Payrolls climbed in 36 U.S. states in July, showing labor-market strength was broad-based. Texas led the nation with a 46,600 increase in payrolls, followed by California with 27,700 more jobs, figures from the Labor Department showed today in Washington. The jobless rate increased in 30 states. Improvement in the labor market could boost household spending, helping economic growth into the second half of the year. The data also support the Federal Reserve’s plan to keep scaling back its unprecedented stimulus program, and come before policy makers meet in Jackson Hole, Wyoming." Jeanna Smialek in Bloomberg.
Chart: Mississippi now has the highest unemployment rate in the U.S. Matthew Yglesias in Vox.
Who's to blame for the skills gap? Employers, not workers, study says. "Ever since the the recession, job openings have far outpaced the number of people being hired. A common refrain from employers is that workers lack proper training and education for the available jobs — in other words, that a 'skills gap' is to blame. But the fault rest with employers, not workers, says a new working paper from Peter Cappelli, the director of the Center for Human Resources at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School." Josh Zumbrun in The Wall Street Journal.
Long read: Seeking new start, finding steep cost: Workforce Investment Act leaves many jobless, in debt. Timothy Williams in The New York Times.
Other economic/financial reads:
Lawmakers slam Fed's crisis-lending proposal. Emily Stephenson in Reuters.
A minimum wage hike makes the Nebraska ballot, after qualifying in South Dakota and Alaska, too. Niraj Chokshi in The Washington Post.
Banks fight back against CFPB complaint database. Rob Garver in The Fiscal Times.
Homebuilder confidence hits seven-month high. Vince Golle in Bloomberg.
PETHOKOUKIS: Is the recovery almost over — already? "But what could go wrong? Well, a lot. Wall Street certainly has worries aplenty. The advance of the militant group ISIS in Iraq and Syria threatens important oil exports, which could jack up global oil prices. The eurozone economy isn't growing at all and risks a triple-dip recession with knock-on effects here. Then there's the Fed. It's winding down its "quantitative easing" bond-buying program and is expected to begin raising interest rates at some point next year. Now, none of those things is necessarily an existential threat to the recovery. But with slow-growth expansions — of whatever age — you just never know what's going to screw them up. They're just really fragile." James Pethokoukis in The Week.
WEISSMANN: Global income inequality may not be falling after all. "The claim that the world’s income distribution is flattening out a little bit is usually based on the work of Branko Milanovic, an economist at the City University of New York....But in his latest paper...Milanovic doesn’t say the income divide is shrinking around the world. He says we can’t really tell. Why not? In the United States and much of Europe, economists have extremely detailed tax data at their disposal, which gives us a pretty precise picture....But most countries...rely on national surveys....There’s evidence that surveys tend to miss the richest households, making inequality look less severe than it really is." Jordan Weissmann in Slate.
McARDLE: FDA's mad medicine. "A court in Alabama has ruled that Pfizer Inc. can be sued over harmful side effects caused by generic versions of its drugs....It turns out that generic manufacturers are not allowed to put warning labels on drugs unless those warnings are also in the warning label for the original brand-name drug....Then I read further. And it turns out that the FDA has proposed a new rule that would allow generic-drug manufacturers to add labeling to their products independently. And guess who’s blocking it? The generic drug manufacturers, of course. They’ve got a pretty sweet deal right now: They get the profits, while the folks who actually did all that expensive research to develop the drug bear a lot of the liability." Megan McArdle in Bloomberg View.
FRAKT: Medicare Advantage expensive but may be worth it. "Medicare Advantage plans...underperform traditional Medicare in one respect: They cost 6 percent more. But they outperform traditional Medicare in another way: They offer higher quality....It raises a difficult question: Is the extra quality worth the extra cost?...A decade ago when quality appeared poor, the answer was easy: No. Today one must think harder and weigh costs against program benefits, including its higher quality. The research base is still too thin to provide an objective answer. Mr. Newhouse and Mr. McGuire hedge but lean favorably toward Medicare Advantage, saying cuts in its 'plan payments may be shortsighted.'" Austin Frakt in The New York Times.
Baby interlude: Watch how this baby reacts to hearing a lion roar for the first time.
2. What the government could do to help the Ferguson situation
Another night of violence. "Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. will travel to this battle-scarred St. Louis suburb to oversee the investigation of the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager at the hands of a white police officer....Holder’s visit was announced as National Guard troops arrived in Ferguson to back up local and state police. On Ferguson’s main street, Monday evening began with peaceful protests. But the night soon turned tense, as a line of police officers, many in gas masks, faced off against hundreds of demonstrators. People threw bottles at officers. Shots were fired. Police launched smoke bombs and flares. And demonstrators threw them back." Emily Wax-Thibodeaux, Krissah Thompson and David A. Fahrenthold in The Washington Post.
Timeline: What's happened so far in Ferguson. The Wall Street Journal.
Charts: How Ferguson happened. Philip Bump in The Washington Post.
@WesleyLowery: Scott Olsen's work in Ferguson has been breathtaking. Journalism is not a crime http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/liveblog-live/liveblog/live-updates-chaos-in-ferguson/#6b00f903-65f3-44df-bb34-547000e459c1 pic.twitter.com/rM3hvZP3tt
Congress mulls dialing back Pentagon transfer of military weapons to police. "Holder said that when police and citizens need to restore calm, 'I am deeply concerned that the deployment of military equipment and vehicles sends a conflicting message.' Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said police responses like that in Ferguson have 'become the problem instead of the solution.' Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., said he will introduce legislation to curb the trend of police militarization. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said his committee will review the program to determine if the Defense Department's surplus equipment is being used as intended." Tami Abdollah and Eric Tucker in the Associated Press.
@mattdpearce: The St. Louis County police union doesn't sound so excited about this "demilitarization" thing. https://twitter.com/Tom_Winter/status/501444929747681280
Explainer: What was THAT? A guide to the military gear being used against civilians in Ferguson. Amanda Taub in Vox.
Quotable: "I think it’s probably useful for us to review how the funding has gone, how local law enforcement has used grant dollars to make sure that what they’re purchasing is stuff that they actually need, because there is a big difference between our military and our local law enforcement and we don’t want those lines blurred." — President Obama. Zeke J. Miller in Time Magazine.
Congress has dragged its feet on cracking down on excessive gear for local police forces. "House lawmakers overwhelmingly voted in June to block legislation by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) that would have stopped...the so-called '1033 program,' launched in 1997....The effects of the program have been on full display in Ferguson....While lawmakers have decried the excessive police response in Ferguson, a number of members told The Huffington Post they don’t expect Congress to do much to rein in the Pentagon program. That's not so much because of intense lobbying from the defense industry, they said, but more because local police forces say they benefit from the free gear." Jennifer Bendery, Ryan Grim and Zach Carter in The Huffington Post.
Charts: Florida, Alabama and Texas are among the most enthusiastic recipients of surplus military gear. Christopher Ingraham in The Washington Post.
Campaign donations from defense industry may well have influenced past vote. "According to data compiled by Maplight, the lawmakers 'voting to continue funding the 1033 Program have received, on average, 73 percent more money from the defense industry than representatives voting to defund it.'...The report also found that of the 59 lawmakers who received more than $100,000 from defense contractors in the last two years, only four voted for Grayson’s legislation. Though thought of as a political force primarily in federal policymaking, the defense industry also spends on state politics, which influences law enforcement procurement decisions." David Sirota in International Business Times.
More calls for police to wear body cameras. What happens when they do wear them? "What happens when police wear cameras isn't simply that tamper-proof recording devices provide an objective record of an encounter...but a modification of the psychology of everyone involved....One problem with the cameras, however, has been cost. Fortunately, fierce competition between the two most prominent vendors of the devices...has driven the price of individual cameras down to between $300 and $400. Unfortunately, one place where expenses can mount is in the storage and management of the data they generate." Christopher Mims in The Wall Street Journal.
The lessons from San Diego, where public can't see body-camera footage. "Even if the officer who shot Brown was wearing a body camera, the footage wouldn't necessarily clear up any of the questions the public — or even the victims and their families — have about how things unfolded, at least not right away. And maybe not ever....Officers wearing the cameras were present during at least two shootings earlier this year. Yet we're still not any closer to knowing what happened in those chaotic moments....That's because the department claims the footage, which is captured by devices financed by city taxpayers and worn by officers on the public payroll, aren't public records." Sara Libby in The Atlantic CityLab.
ICYMI: Feds broadly reviewing police tactics. Kevin Johnson in USA Today.
National Guard's mixed track record. "The National Guard is the next-to-last resort before the Army (82nd Airborne Division, Detroit, '67) and Marines (1st Division, L.A., '92) for quelling a civil disturbance. Usually the Guard makes the situation better; sometimes (Newark, '67) it arguably makes it worse. And, in many cases, the Guard's imposition of order eventually proved to be a hollow accomplishment. It couldn't stop the flight of white residents and businesspeople from Detroit and Newark after 1967; after the 1965 riots, most whites left South-Central Los Angeles; after the 1992 ones, many blacks did, too. Many buildings that burned down still haven't been rebuilt." Yamiche Alcindor, Larry Copeland and Rick Hampson in USA Today.
Should Obama go to Ferguson? "There’s a good reason presidents usually don’t swoop in to the scene of a local catastrophe like the one that has emerged in Ferguson....The presence of the commander in chief would greatly complicate the logistical and security difficulties....But in Ferguson, it’s now become clear that those security problems are being exacerbated by the police....Things are so far gone in Ferguson that only Obama himself can reassure the broader public and instill confidence that Brown’s case will be handled as it should be. All the more so, given his impressive track record of speaking to the country about race." Joshua Green in Bloomberg Businessweek.
Obama chooses words carefully. "White House officials argued that in a nation polarized on racial issues — and deeply split about the president — strong language from Obama...would risk worsening the problem rather than making it better....As a result, Obama has not offered another 'Trayvon Martin moment' of empathy with a young black man who some people believe was the victim of racial prejudice. Instead, in a brief news conference at the White House on Monday, Obama offered carefully balanced statements about the need to ensure the rights of peaceful protest, but also to combat criminal behavior." Christi Parsons and Kathleen Hennessey in the Los Angeles Times.
@WesleyLowery: Since Obama last addressed Ferguson 1. highway patrol took over 2. Officer name/robbery info released 3. Curfew 4. MO national guard
Protests are getting attention from U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon. "U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on U.S. authorities on Monday to ensure the protection of the rights of protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, where there have been demonstrations and rioting over the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black teen." Reuters.
In a first, Amnesty International dispatches protest observers, helpers to Ferguson. "Amnesty International routinely sends research teams to report on potential human rights abuses during and after crisis situations in the United States, such as the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. And the group provides ongoing organizational support to certain communities in the U.S....But this is the first time the organization has sent delegates to support and observe a community in the middle of a crisis." Abby Ohlheiser in The Washington Post.
Charts: Stark racial divisions in reactions to Ferguson shooting. "Blacks and whites have sharply different reactions to the police shooting of an unarmed teen in Ferguson, Mo., and the protests and violence that followed. Blacks are about twice as likely as whites to say that the shooting of Michael Brown “raises important issues about race that need to be discussed.” Wide racial differences also are evident in opinions about of whether local police went too far in the aftermath of Brown’s death, and in confidence in the investigations into the shooting." Pew Research Center.
Other legal reads:
With no textbooks on how to cover riots, reporters in Ferguson learning as they go. Paul Farhi in The Washington Post.
Ferguson fuels a kill-switch debate. Kate Tummarello in The Hill.
As arrest records rise, Americans find the effects can last a lifetime. Gary Fields and John R. Emshwiller in The Wall Street Journal.
Long read: Gun-control groups galvanized, but progress slow. Justine McDaniel, Allison Griner and Natalie Krebs in News21.
COATES: Reparations for Ferguson. "Black people are not above calling the police — but often we do so fully understanding that we are introducing an element that is unaccountable to us. We introduce the police into our communities, the way you might introduce a predator into the food chain. This is not the singular, special fault of the police. The police are but the tip of the sword wielded by American society itself. Something bigger than Stand Your Ground, the drug war, mass incarceration or any other policy is haunting us. And as long we cower from it, the events of this week are as certain as math. The question is not 'if,' but 'when.'" Ta-Nehisi Coates in The Atlantic.
VINIK: Cincinnati's 2001 race riots reveal solutions for Ferguson. "It’s that goodwill, says former Cincinnati Police Chief Thomas Streicher, that helped Cincinnati recover from its 2001 riots. The same cooperation is needed in Ferguson to defuse the situation and rebuild trust between the community and the police. 'They have to engage the entire community and make them a part of this resolution process with every effort from this point forward,' Streicher told Cincinnati’s CBS affiliate. 'If they don't do that they will fail.'" Danny Vinik in The New Republic.
RODDEN: Is segregation the problem? "According to this narrative...African Americans of North St. Louis County can take over the local government and police force only when the last remaining whites die or move to St. Charles County and the cycle of disinvestment is complete....This narrative is wrong in several crucial respects. For starters, while St. Louis is indeed among the most segregated metropolitan regions in the United States, Ferguson and some of its North County neighbors are among the most racially integrated municipalities in Missouri and well beyond." Jonathan Rodden in The Washington Post.
FRIEDERSDORF: Video killed trust in police officers. "If anyone thought in 1991 that such brutality was a vestige of the past, or something that could only happen among racist cops in the South, the Rodney King tape disabused them of that notion, kicking off an era of cheap, increasingly ubiquitous recording equipment that was bound to capture more police misbehavior. Of course young people growing up with YouTube will trust police officers less. The many videos of brutality don't lie — and they confirm that, sometimes, cops do lie. Even more often, they hold their tongues. It wasn't a run-in with the law that killed my trust in police officers — video did." Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic.
BERSHIDSKY: Militarized police don't calm things down. "Police officers around the world are becoming convinced they are fighting a war on something or other....This mindset contrasts with the public's unchanged perception of what the police should be doing....Ukraine provides one recent example. On Nov. 30, the Berkut riot police beat up a few hundred students who had camped on the main square of the capital, Kiev, to call for closer ties between Ukraine and Europe....Hundreds of thousands took to the streets the following day, setting off a chain of events that led to...the current crisis on Europe's eastern borders. That reaction helps to explain why the heavily armed police in Ferguson, Missouri...were unsuccessful." Leonid Bershidsky in Bloomberg View.
Animals interlude: 13 cat videos that justify the existence of the Internet.
3. Getting down to business on immigration executive actions
Obama taking immigration-action ideas from big business. "Obama was initially expected to focus only on slowing deportations of potentially millions of undocumented immigrants and altering federal enforcement policies. Now top aides are talking with leaders in big companies like Cisco, Intel and Accenture, hoping to add more changes that would get them on board....The outreach is an effort to broaden the political support for Obama’s decision to go it alone on immigration — another sign that suggests the White House fears a backlash in November, particularly among independent voters in battleground Senate races where Republicans are seizing on the issue." Anna Palmer and Carrie Budoff Brown in Politico.
Business seeks several changes to interpretation of laws. "One proposal would have the administration exclude dependents from the numerical cap on employment-based green cards, which is now 140,000 a year. The change could, in effect, double the number of green cards available....A second proposal would 'recapture' unused employment green cards from previous years, which could produce more than 200,000 new green cards....One farm lobbyist said the agricultural industry isn't pushing for aggressive administrative action, fearing that doing so would anger Republicans and poison the chance of more-lasting congressional action." Laura Meckler in The Wall Street Journal.
Meanwhile, on the border, militias complicate situation. "The presence of armed militia members working on their own in a region known for human smuggling, drug smuggling and illegal immigration has added one more variable to an already complex and tense situation. Although the Aug. 6 incident in Mission resulted in no harm, it's not hard to imagine deadlier outcomes throughout the Rio Grande Valley, a wide area patrolled by more than 3,000 border agents, as well as hundreds of state troopers, game wardens, deputies and local police officers. Gov. Rick Perry is also sending as many as 1,000 National Guard troops." Christopher Sherman in the Associated Press.
Feds struggle to cope with medical-screening 'breakdown.' "The federal government is so overwhelmed by the current tide of migrants crossing the border it can’t provide basic medical screening to all of the children before transporting them — often by air — to longer-term holding facilities across the country....Inside the government, officials are sounding alarms, fearing that they and their teams who come in contact with the sick children face potential exposure to infectious diseases from chicken pox to influenza, including rare cases of H1N1, more commonly called swine flu." Jim Avila, Josh Margolin and Serena Marshall in ABC News.
Long read: Behind the White House maneuvering on migrants. David Rogers in Politico.
Other immigration reads:
Returned migrants face bleak future. Rachel Roubein in National Journal.
Border agency’s former watchdog says officials impeded his efforts. Andrew Becker in The Washington Post.
Immigration crisis at border afflicts heartland harvest. Ali Watkins in McClatchy Newspapers.
Yet another ALS Ice Bucket Challenge interlude: Lady Gaga. Need I say more?
4. The latest on fossil-fuel exports
New EIA studies will help shape the debate over crude exports. "The U.S. Energy Information Administration is on track next month to issue two highly anticipated reports...including an analysis of how the price of oil around the globe affects gasoline costs inside the United States. Another study on the horizon, EIA Director Adam Sieminski said Monday, is a report on the costs of building equipment to process crude....Policymakers worry that potential exports could affect U.S. gasoline prices. While the coming EIA analysis won’t directly answer that question, it 'will do a more thorough job' of quantifying the relationship between domestic gasoline prices and the cost of crude." Jennifer A. Dlouhy in the Houston Chronicle.
Oregon agency stings coal industry as it nixes key export permit. "An Oregon agency dealt a blow to the coal industry Monday night, denying a necessary permit for a proposed export terminal and boosting environmentalists' hopes of scuttling U.S. coal exports from the West Coast. The Oregon Department of State Lands denied Ambre Energy's permit, saying it would hurt fisheries used by native tribes." Zack Colman in the Washington Examiner.
How the ruling hurts coal exports. "It could shatter the coal industry's hopes of exporting from the West Coast and tapping Asian markets. Two other proposals have been filed in Washington state, but the bar for environmental review is higher there than in Oregon....The coal industry, which is flagging in the United States as electric generators turn to cheap natural gas and proposed carbon emissions rules threaten its long-term viability, has sought to export its product to Asia and Europe. The Paris-based International Energy Agency expects European coal demand to eventually subside, but sees growth in Asia. However, U.S. exports to Asia from anywhere but the West Coast are unlikely to be competitive." Zack Colman in the Washington Examiner.
Energy Department stepping out of the way on natural gas exports. So why isn't industry happy? "The oil and natural gas industries want applicants who send natural gas to nations without a U.S. free trade agreement to get top billing by the Obama administration. Ostensibly, the Energy Department is doing just that under a policy it finalized Friday, in which it is eliminating its 'conditional' approvals....But the oil and gas industry contends the move won't ease uncertainty, and could potentially stymie investment." Zack Colman in the Washington Examiner.
Other energy/environmental reads:
Obama's green dilemma: Punish China, imperil solar. David J. Lynch and Robert Schmidt in Bloomberg.
Profile: Republicans' lukewarm climate warrior. Christopher Flavelle in Bloomberg View.
Robin Williams interlude: Watch this musical tribute to the late actor-comedian.
What is the National Guard to do when the police already resemble them? Emily Badger.
One way to boost organ donations: Just keep asking. Jason Millman.
Name That Data winners. Christopher Ingraham.
The rapid demographic shift of American public schools. Emily Badger.
5 charts that show why it costs nearly a quarter-million dollars to raise a kid today. Niraj Chokshi.
How America fell out of love with canned tuna. Roberto A. Ferdman.
Data for 4.5 million patients stolen from hospital group. Cynthia Koons and Michael Riley in Bloomberg.
Long read: A Medicare scam that just kept rolling. David A. Fahrenthold in The Washington Post.
Talking car plans advance as U.S. says lives can be saved. Jeff Plungis in Bloomberg.
West's historic drought stokes fears of water crisis. Joby Warrick in The Washington Post.
Pervasive Medicare fraud proves hard to stop. Reed Abelson and Eric Lichtblau in The New York Times.
Rick Perry may luck out. Jeffrey Toobin in The New Yorker.
Treasury officials prepare options for inversions. Damian Paletta in The Wall Street Journal.
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Wonkbook is produced with help from Michelle Williams and Ryan McCarthy.