Wonkbook: The Fed just might raise rates sooner than expected

August 21

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(Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh/EPA)

Wonkbook’s Number of the Day: $53,891. That's the U.S. median household income in June, up 3.8 percent from three years ago but still not quite back to 2009 levels.

Wonkbook’s Chart of the Day: How much is $100 really worth in several metropolitan areas?

Wonkbook's Top 4 Stories: (1) Fed torn on raising rates; (2) focus back on police in Ferguson; (3) the complex drop in teen births; (4) Uber rides in to Washington.

1. Top story: When the Fed might begin to raise rates

Rates could rise faster than expected. "Here's the Federal Reserve's last meeting, in one sentence: Everything is going according to plan, and it might be doing so faster than expected. That's because unemployment has fallen further than the Fed thought it would, and inflation has slowly risen from its too-low level towards its two percent target. But it's not clear how far and how fast this will continue. So the plan remains the same — for now. The Fed will finish tapering in October, wait a 'considerable time', start raising rates, and then shrink its balance sheet. The question, of course, is how long a 'considerable time' will be — or if it will even be considerable at all. It's possible...that it might not be as long as we think if the labor market keeps improving like it has been." Matt O'Brien in The Washington Post.

Primary source: The Fed minutes, July 29-30.

Background reading: Labor markets will dominate the Fed's discussion in Jackson Hole this weekend.

Inflation hawks make case for quicker retreat. "A majority of policy makers, led by the chairwoman, Janet L. Yellen, favors a slow retreat....They note that millions of people still cannot find jobs, while inflation remains relatively weak. At the July meeting, however, a number of officials described a growing risk that the Fed’s control of inflation is being loosened by its focus on job creation. They note that the economy has improved more quickly than expected in recent months. The remaining damage caused by the Great Recession, in this view, can no longer be repaired by keeping interest rates low through the Fed’s primary policy tool. Officials, in other words, disagree about the proximity of the finish line." Binyamin Appelbaum in The New York Times.

The picture for raising rates becomes clearer. "In a slight shift from...the Fed's June policy meeting, the minutes said 'most' Fed officials supported re-investing the maturing securities in the central bank's vast portfolio until sometime after its first rate hike....The latest minutes also showed officials had largely agreed on a framework for eventually raising rates...the overnight federal funds rate as their key target. They also want to keep targeting a quarter-percentage point range for the federal funds rate....To establish the upper bound of future target ranges, most policymakers expected to rely on the rate the Fed pays commercial banks on the excess cash they park at the central bank. The bottom of the range would be set at the same rate the bank plans to pay on overnight reverse repurchase operations." Jason Lange in Reuters.

What the market expects: A CNBC survey shows "market participants expect the coming rate hike cycle to end in the fourth quarter of 2017 at 3.16 percent. That would be the lowest final or terminal rate ever." Steve Leisman in CNBC.

How the Fed's large balance sheet is influencing the bank's plan for rate hikes. "Federal Reserve officials pledged to reduce the size of the central bank’s record balance sheet as they continued to map out a strategy to exit from the most aggressive monetary stimulus in its 100-year history....Almost six years of Fed bond buying...has flooded the banking system with $2.71 trillion of excess reserves. Because banks no longer need to borrow reserves from each other as they did before the crisis, officials have been forced to come up with a new way to raise the federal funds rate, which represents a bank’s cost of overnight borrowing." Matthew Boesler in Bloomberg.

What to look for in Yellen's speech Friday. "The perilous question that now awaits Yellen's Fed has put investors on nervous alert: Can it manage to raise rates from record lows without weakening the U.S. economy or spooking markets?....Given that this year's topic is labor markets, Yellen is sure to spell out her latest assessment of the U.S. job market....Yellen has frequently characterized the job market as weaker than the unemployment rate suggests....Might Yellen describe those trends as chronic problems with no end in sight? Or as likely temporary drags...? Investors will seek any sign of a coming rate hike because it would mean higher rates on business and consumer loans and could hurt stock prices." Adam Shell in USA Today.

Chart: All but two states saw economic growth in the last quarter of 2013. Niraj Chokshi in The Washington Post.

Other economic/financial reads:

Why Bank of America's settlement might not actually cost it $17 billion. Jeff Horwitz in the Associated Press.

U.S. regulators step up warnings to banks for poor risk-spotting. Jonathan Spicer in Reuters.

New e-book: "Secular Stagnation: Facts, Causes and Cures." Coen Teulings and Richard Baldwin in VoxEU.

U.S. Ex-Im Bank backers pin hopes on temporary reauthorization. Mark Felsenthal and Susan Cornwell in Reuters.

HUBBARD: Stop depending on the Fed. "America’s slow average rate of economic growth...highlights the recovery’s lack of vigor; second, it suggests that a continuation of this slow growth could start to feel permanent, calcifying the economy’s pulse and leading to slower long-term output and employment growth....The question arises as to what more the Fed can do to advance the recovery and job creation. The short answer is 'not much.' A longer and more complicated answer acknowledges that growth is a problem and policy does matter — but needed policy changes require action from the president and the Congress, because what is needed is mainly fiscal." R. Glenn Hubbard in Politico Magazine.

POSEN: Keep rates low until the hidden jobless return to work. "This is the conclusion that ought to emerge from Jackson Hole. The Fed should hold off raising rates, for the sake of fuller employment. There are clear indications that wage growth is being kept down by the overall state of the labour market, and raising rates would further depress demand. Allowing excess unemployment to persist is likely to do more lasting damage than allowing inflation to rise above the target — and any such overshoot will be temporary. Concerns about financial stability should be addressed directly, not through the blunt instruments of monetary policy." Adam Posen in The Financial Times.

BAKER: What does the Fed have to do with Social Security? Plenty. "By raising interest rates, the Fed can slow the rate of growth, thereby preventing people from getting jobs and keeping the unemployment rate higher than it would otherwise be. If fewer people are employed, fewer people are paying into the Social Security system. This trend, therefore, directly weakens its finances....People who are concerned about the future of Social Security, then, should be paying a great deal of attention to what the Fed does. Raising interest rates will not only affect the economy today but also affect Social Security tomorrow." Dean Baker in Al Jazeera America.

Top opinion

REEVES: Equality, opportunity and the American dream. "While Bellamy and Piketty provide rich seams of ideas to mine, there is no prospect of a Euro-egalitarian turn in American politics. The American body politic would simply reject a graft of European-style social democracy....Americans do have strong egalitarian instincts, but they go hand-in-hand with a fierce commitment to individualism. The ideal of merit-fueled mobility is a fixed feature of American politics and ideology. It comes, almost literally, with the territory. Even if it were possible to retire the Alger myth, it would be a mistake. The national commitment to the principles of natural equality, opportunity, and upward mobility is an American strength. Only a politics that goes with this American grain stands any chance of creating a more equal nation." Richard V. Reeves in National Journal.

FRUM: Why the GOP must modernize to win. "First, Republicans have come to rely more and more on the votes of the elderly, the most government-dependent segment of the population — a serious complication for a party committed to reducing government. Second, the Republican donor class has grown more ideologically extreme, encouraging congressional Republicans to embrace ever more radical tactics. Third, the party’s internal processes have rigidified....The GOP can overcome the negative consequences of these changes and, in time, surely will. The ominous question for Republicans is, How much time will the overcoming take?" David Frum in Foreign Affairs.

SPECTER: The problem with GMO labeling. "Americans demand labels, at least in part, because they are afraid....G.M.O. labels may be a political necessity, but they make no scientific sense. Most of the legislation that has been proposed would require a label that says something like 'produced with genetic engineering.' Almost none of the labels would identify any specific G.M.O. ingredient in any particular food. In fact, the laws now proposed are so vague that many of the foods in a grocery store would have to carry a label. They would tell you how your food is put together, but not what it contains. How could that help anyone make a sound decision about his health?" Michael Specter in The New Yorker.

ROY: Obamacare or not, Republicans should focus on reducing the cost of health care. "Whether they admit it or not, no Republican can win the White House in 2016 campaigning on taking away health coverage for 36 million people. What should Republicans do? Focus on the real problem. The principal reason for America’s high health care costs is the fact that so few of us pay for it directly. Switzerland and Singapore, the most market-oriented health systems in the world, give consumers control of their own health care dollars and expect their citizens to shop for care and coverage. The results are remarkable." Avik Roy in Forbes.

VUCETICH AND NELSON: Conservation or curation? "The law’s protections, for practical purposes, will be applied only if a species is at risk of extinction in a vital (read, significant) portion of its range where its loss would put the entire species at risk of extinction....As long as a small, geographically isolated population remains viable, it won’t matter if the animal or plant in question has disappeared across the vast swath of its former habitat. It won’t qualify for protection. This interpretation threatens to reduce the Endangered Species Act to a mechanism that merely preserves representatives of a species, like curating rare pieces in a museum. Also likely to suffer are efforts to protect or repopulate areas where endangered species once lived." John A. Vucetich and Michael Paul Nelson in The New York Times.

James Bond interlude: Watch Pierce Brosnan lose to Jimmy Fallon in the "Goldeneye 007."

2. Police tactics remain in the spotlight in Ferguson

A relatively calm night in Ferguson. "This relative calm came the evening after Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. arrived in the St. Louis area....Long before the white-hot spotlight of the racially charged protests in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Holder had been intent on reforming an American criminal justice system that he said imposed 'shameful' disparities on minority communities....In meetings with residents, Holder shared his own stories of being pulled over and accosted by police while growing up in New York City — and of being skeptical of police even while serving as a federal prosecutor in Washington." David Nakamura and Nia-Malika Henderson in The Washington Post.

@KMOV: For the first time in 11 days officers did not wear any riot gear in #Ferguson. details --> http://bit.ly/1rnxsRv pic.twitter.com/cY9qdjkXBv

@ksdknews: A quiet evening | Police & media seem to greatly outnumber protesters in #Ferguson tonight. Talk of W. Florissant being reopened soon.

Charge: Watch the surge in Ferguson-related arrests. Brian Fung in The Washington Post.

But scrutiny on Ferguson police is growing. "Critics assert...a pattern of violent behavior or weak discipline within the force — and say that the department’s conduct should be closely investigated by the Justice Department, which has already opened an inquiry into Mr. Brown’s death. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr....and top Justice Department officials have begun weighing whether to open just such a broader civil rights review of Ferguson’s police practices....Their discussion has been prompted in part by past complaints against the force." John Eligon and Michael S. Schmidt in The New York Times.

Explainer: Your rights during police encounters. Tory Hargro, Lori Grisham and Shane Music in USA Today.

Police shoot people dead all the time. Why did Ferguson become such a big deal? "According to FBI data, there have been roughly 400 'justifiable police homicides' each year since 2008, though that number isn't precise....Such incidents have become more common as the ranks of police have grown....No incident is directly analogous to Ferguson. But people who have lived through some of the more high-profile shootings did gain a perspective that helps them explain why things have gone so haywire in the past week and a half. They also are uniquely positioned to answer the question of how, if ever, Ferguson can get back to normal. The short answer is: It will take awhile, if it happens at all." Sam Stein and Arthur Delaney in The Huffington Post.

Policeman suspended for pointing rifle at protester, threatening to kill him. "A police officer who pointed an assault rifle at people in Ferguson on Tuesday night and threatened to kill them has been relieved of duty and suspended indefinitely, authorities said. The officer, who was not identified, has been removed from the field after he pointed his semiautomatic weapon at a peaceful protester." Mark Berman in The Washington Post.

White House faces pressure on police body cameras. "A White House petition created days after 18-year-old Michael Brown was fatally shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., surpassed 100,000 signatures, the threshold that now requires the Obama administration to respond. Posted to the White House’s 'We the People' page, the petition calls for all police to wear cameras....Since the Aug. 9 shooting...there have been widespread calls for police to wear cameras on their vests. If Officer Darren Wilson had one...so many questions about how the shooting unfolded could perhaps be answered. Ferguson police said Tuesday in a statement that the department would raise money to purchase cameras for police vests and for the police cruiser dashboards." Colby Itkowitz in The Washington Post.

Their use is on the rise despite privacy concerns. "And there are no national guidelines for how they should be used....Still, the cameras have been embraced by civil libertarians...and they’ve been snapped up by hundreds of police departments across the country. Though police unions were once ardently against these systems, much of the resistance has faded. In a few small studies, on-body cameras have been shown to significantly reduce both complaints against officers as well as episodes in which officers use force. Consequently, they often pay for themselves by reducing the cost of litigation." Farhad Manjoo in The New York Times.

Companies like Taser are counting on body-camera requirements. "The stock for Taser, the stun-gun maker that also makes a line of wearable cameras for police officers, has jumped as much as 30 percent since the events in Ferguson first gained national media attention. VieVu, a Seattle-based firm, has seen requests from police departments for free trials of its wearable camera jump 70 percent in just the past few days....Business for companies like Taser and VieVu was already booming even before events came to a head in Ferguson, Mo." Hayley Tsukayama in The Washington Post.

Another sign Congress won't radically change Pentagon-to-police weapons program. "A bipartisan coalition of senators is angling to examine these programs and whether it’s appropriate for assault rifles and grenade launchers to flow to local law enforcement. But in an interview with 'Nevada Newsmakers,' Reid seemed to short-circuit hopes for any sea change in the program....Reid said the focus of scrutiny should fall on how such equipment is used — not the police’s ability to acquire it." Burgess Everett in Politico.

It's not just the Pentagon that loads up police with weapons. It's also DHS. "Much attention has gone to the Department of Defense’s program....That program is eclipsed in size and scope by grant money from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which enables purchases of similar 'tactical' equipment. Under existing federal requirements, police departments and state law enforcement agencies do not need to spend much of that money on preventing terrorism or preparing for disaster relief. The Department of Homeland Security would not say whether it plans to review any of its grant programs....One of its main congressional overseers told the Guardian he plans to 'continue' scrutiny of the grants, while praising them as necessary." Spencer Ackerman in The Guardian.

Police rarely arrested for killings on job. "Philip Stinson, a criminal justice professor at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, told TPM on Wednesday that his research showed there were 31 arrests of non-federal sworn law enforcement officers for a murder or non-negligent homicide committed with a firearm while on duty from 2005 to 2011. That would equal a little more than four per year. Another 10 arrests were made for negligent homicide with a firearm on duty in that seven-year time frame. Over the same period, according to the FBI, the number of justifiable homicides committed by law enforcement officers with a firearm was 2,706 or about 385 per year." Dylan Scott in Talking Points Memo.

Should police live in the cities where they work? "Residency requirements for police and other municipal employees...are becoming increasingly rare in the wake of policy changes and court challenges....For many who oppose such requirements, it’s a simple issue of a person’s right to live wherever he or she chooses, without government interference....There’s also an economic argument: In cities that are flourishing economically, it can be hard to live on a civil servant’s salary. Residency policies, according to some critics, are mostly about increasing a city’s tax base....But it’s also true that increasing challenges to residency requirements for police have been linked to the destabilization of communities that once were anchored by public servants earning steady salaries." Sarah Goodyear in The Atlantic CityLab.

Meanwhile: Privacy breeds skepticism as grand jury case starts. "The grand jury system has its advantages....Grand juries have the power to seek evidence that exceeds police powers, and juror identities are kept secret....The grand jury also has the luxury of time — it does not work under a time limit....On the flip side, Levenson said that because prosecutors present the evidence to the grand juries, choose which witnesses to call, and control the proceedings, the system is seen as advantageous to the prosecution. That is exacerbated in a case already rife with allegations of a lack of transparency. If the grand jury decides not to issue an indictment, or if the case goes to trial and Wilson is acquitted, the Justice Department could still file federal charges against him." Tina Susman in the Los Angeles Times.

Explainer: What's a grand jury, and how will it work? William Freivogel in St. Louis Public Radio.

It might take a while. "It could take until October for the grand jury to hear all of the evidence related to the Michael Brown shooting, St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch said Wednesday....It is still unclear whether Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who shot and killed Brown, will face charges. The standing St. Louis County grand jury, which typically serves for three or four months, will decide whether Wilson should be indicted on any criminal charges. This grand jury is in session until September, but their term will be extended just for this case, McCulloch said." Mark Berman in The Washington Post.

Will protesters receive 'justice'? Unclear. "Brown’s family and their supporters have said they want 'justice,' by which they generally mean they want to see Wilson face some kind of criminal charges. But whether that happens will depend on the enthusiasm of the prosecutor bringing the case and the quality of the evidence he can present. Right now, both are pretty big question marks." Jonathan Cohn in The New Republic.

Tired of the negative news? Here's a roundup of inspiring stories from the Ferguson community. Sasha Belenky in The Huffington Post.

Other legal reads:

Rights of protesters, media misunderstood in Ferguson. Carrie Johnson in NPR.

Gun sales are up near Ferguson, but not farther away. Philip Bump in The Washington Post.

Pols on Ferguson: Sounds of silence. Maggie Haberman in Politico.

Virginia same-sex marriage ruling is placed on hold. Robert Barnes in The Washington Post.

#Ferguson: Social media more spark than solution. Alex Byers in Politico.

SALAM: Should we tape everything? "Last week, I argued that on-duty police officers should be required to record their interactions with civilians with the aid of so-called 'body cams' and, more controversially, that teachers should be recorded in the classroom. Though I lumped these two arguments together, they deserve to be teased apart. First, I should note that I fell prey to technological triumphalism. The 'hardware' of body cams can improve our criminal justice system. But what really matters is the cultural 'software' that undergirds the system. The case for police body cams is, for the reasons outlined in the column, fairly strong. Yet they’re certainly not a cure-all." Reihan Salam in National Review.

DAVIDSON: Drawing a gun in Ferguson. "In the Washington Post this week, an officer named Sunil Dutta wrote that the way to prevent police shootings is simply for people to show more respect for police authority....That is not how it’s supposed to work, in this country, anyway. We respect the police as professionals because their job is so hard, and so important; it can involve chaotic nights and yelling crowds, or opening the door to an apartment where anything might be happening. Police officers don’t get to wave a gun whenever they think it might make everything easier — when they think it will just make people behave. That is not the sort of authority, in any sense of that word, that will calm the streets of Ferguson, or any city." Amy Davidson in The New Yorker.

LITHWICK AND ROITHMAYR: Trashing the Constitution in Ferguson. "Far fewer articles describe the other constitutional violations taking place on the streets of Missouri, and those violations are every bit as urgent as the infringements on speech and assembly. We’ve seen very little coverage of the use of tear gas and rubber bullets as constitutional violations. But the due process clause bans the police from using excessive force even when they are within their rights to control a crowd or arrest a suspect. And tear gas is in a category all its own....Similarly, the use of rubber bullets under the circumstances is also unconstitutional....But excessive use of force is only the beginning." Dahlia Lithwick and Daria Roithmayr in Slate.

LEWIS: How Ferguson made conservatives lose faith in police. "In recent years, conservative opinion leaders have been more willing to question authority. They're more skeptical of the police and the military, and don't just accept everything these institutions do as being in service of their 'protect and serve' purposes. And the way conservative opinion leaders have reacted to Ferguson illustrate this reordering....Notable is the fact that traditional conservative commentators seem to have adopted a more nuanced take these days — as opposed to the almost knee-jerk support of the police you might have expected a few years ago." Matt K. Lewis in The Week.

CANTERBURY: Give the police what they need. "More than 8,000 law enforcement agencies have benefited from this program, which was created specifically to increase the public safety capabilities of local law enforcement. With everything we ask law enforcement to do, how can we limit the tools that let them do their jobs? This is especially true for counterdrug, anti-gang or counterterror operations. If police are outgunned and out-armored by gangs or cartels, they are less able to protect the lives of the public. State and local law enforcement agencies are not militarizing. They are protecting the communities with every available resource." Chuck Canterbury in USA Today.

Animals interlude: Baby kangaroo peeks out from mother's pouch.

3. The complex factors driving the teen birth-rate decline 

The simple policy that led to the biggest drop in teen birth rate in the U.S. "The CDC’s report comes on the heels of Colorado’s own study, which reported a 40 percent decline in births among teens 15 to 19 from 2009 to 2013....State public health officials are crediting a sustained, focused effort to offer low-income women free or low-cost long-acting reversible contraception, that is, intrauterine devices or implants....The state’s analysis suggests the initiative was responsible for three-quarters of the decline in the state’s teen birth rates. Public health officials there and elsewhere long have argued the use of long-acting reversible contraception can dramatically reduce the number of unintended pregnancies — which make up a majority of teen pregnancies." Tina Griego in The Washington Post.

Cutting teen births carries major societal and fiscal benefits. "The CDC says the progress made since 1991 has amounted to 4 million fewer teen births....This also saved taxpayers an estimated $12 billion alone in 2010 from costs associated with government-funded health care, child welfare and higher incarceration rates for the children of teen moms. And having fewer babies born to teen mothers, the CDC points out, is good for other reasons. Teen motherhood comes with a higher health risk for the baby, educational limits for the mother and limited resources, since about 90 percent of teen births are to unmarried mothers. And babies born to teen mothers are more likely to eventually become teen mothers themselves." Jason Millman in The Washington Post.

The mystery of the falling teen birth rate. "For five years now, America's teen birth rate has plummeted at an unprecedented rate, falling faster and faster....The massive decline in teen birth rates is undeniably good news for public health advocates. Teen mothers are significantly more likely to drop out of high school. Most teen mothers do not receive financial support from their child's father; 48 percent live below the poverty line. Avoiding early motherhood undeniably opens additional doors in a teen's future. But...the recent and rapid decline in the teen birth rate is largely a mystery. It makes it difficult to implement policies to further reduce teen births when nobody knows what's working so well right now." Sarah Kliff in Vox.

Some other potential players in the drop. "Among the options Vox cites: better sexual education, the recession and the powers of the MTV show '16 and Pregnant.' (...there's good reason to call that last idea into question.) The other possible explanation — the one deemed most likely by the CDC — is that improvements in teens' access to birth control is driving the change....What about the longer term downward trend?...Part of the long-term drop, says the CDC, is that people are waiting longer to get married. In the '50s through to the '80s, a good chunk of the teen pregnancies were in married couples." Colin Schultz in Smithsonian Magazine.

Other health care reads:

The unlikely battleground for reproductive rights: Alaska. Lucia Graves in National Journal.

GOP plots late-term abortion comeback. Elise Viebeck in The Hill.

Drug used for Ebola-related virus shows promise. Andrew Pollack in The New York Times.

Why states should aim for 100 percent vaccination. Emily Oster in FiveThirtyEight.

How poverty has driven the Ebola crisis. Liz Szabo in USA Today.

Growing number of biosafety labs raises red flags. James Arkin in The Center for Public Integrity.

Motivational speech interlude: Watch this little-league coach console his team that just lost in the Little League World Series.

4. The Uber-interesting politics of Uber

David Plouffe makes the politics of Uber even more interesting. "Ostensibly, this is a fight between large taxi medallion investors and a multi-billion dollar tech startup, between cab companies and everyday Uber drivers, between entrenched power and technological change. But it's hard to ignore the context of the other political battle....Prominent Republicans have championed the company as a model for the kind of 'entrepreneurial spirit' that so often gets smothered by government regulation....Here comes David Plouffe, the man who twice helped elect Barack Obama to the White House....It will be that much harder to argue that Uber is the best symbol for why Republicans are right about the role of government and Democrats are wrong." Emily Badger in The Washington Post.

Uber hired him when it realized 'techies' can’t do politics. "The decision to hire Plouffe underscores how the company is learning it needs more firepower behind its efforts to conquer local transportation markets. Uber offers inexpensive alternative services, including one that turns anyone with a private car and a smartphone into an amateur chauffeur. But it has also hinted at broader ambitions in shaping the movement of people and packages around cities. Uber chief Travis Kalanick...said on Tuesday he had found a 'brilliant general' who would have the political expertise that a company full of 'techies' lacks in taking on the taxi business." Emily Badger and Zachary A. Goldfarb in The Washington Post.

Why the GOP loves Uber. "For Republicans who claim to be the party of more innovation and less regulation there’s nothing better than Uber. The hot car-for-hire service is a prime example of what happens when creative entrepreneurs are left unfettered by government intrusion, Republicans say....Republican stars have been lining up to praise Uber as an example of a business that’s been able to flourish with little government oversight....Uber users are precisely the kind of voters the GOP wants to attract, too — young, hip, and at ease in a digital world....Uber doesn’t just embody Republican ideals — it’s also a unique sort of test case of the party’s policies and ideals." Jane C. Timm in MSNBC.

Other transportation reads:

Natural gas can keep those motors running. John Kemp in Reuters.

Labor Day weekend to see most U.S. drivers in six years. Moming Zhou and Mark Shenk in Bloomberg.

The TSA scanners that saw you naked can be tricked to miss guns, bombs. Steve Friess in Bloomberg Businessweek.

U.S. changing no-fly rules. Eileen Sullivan in the Associated Press.

ANOTHER Ice Bucket Challenge interlude: Watch former President George W. Bush take the challenge.

Wonkblog roundup

Worse than the 1930s: Europe’s recession is really a depression. Matt O'Brien.

The Fed’s July Minutes show it inching towards the exit. Matt O'Brien.

How the ‘shadow price’ of housing makes some cities more expensive than you’d expect. Jeff Guo.

How David Plouffe makes the politics of Uber even more interesting. Emily Badger.

Visa wants to make it even harder for thieves to buy gas with your credit card. Danielle Douglas.

How decades of criminal records hold back towns like Ferguson. Max Ehrenfreund.

21 of America’s biggest cities average fewer than seven hours of sleep a night. Roberto A. Ferdman.

Et Cetera

Hardly anybody thinks Rick Perry's indictment is a good idea. Timothy B. Lee in Vox.

Republicans see Senate chances bolstered by primary results. Andy Sullivan in Reuters.

GMO labeling makes Colorado ballot. Niraj Chokshi in The Washington Post.

Little-known legal move may aid young refugees. Jazmine Ulloa in the Austin American-Statesman.

The battle over government-run Internet heats up at the FCC. Brendan Sasso in National Journal.

Environmentalists trade purity for pragmatism in 2014. Philip Bump in The Washington Post.

ACT's annual report shows languishing racial gaps, mediocre scores. Charlie Tyson in Inside Higher Ed.

Got tips, additions, or comments? E-mail us.

Wonkbook is produced with help from Michelle Williams and Ryan McCarthy.

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Emily Badger · August 21