Wonkbook: BofA’s record settlement may leave homeowners disappointed

August 22

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Wonkbook’s Number of the Day: $16.65 billion. That's the size of the settlement between Bank of America and the Justice Department, the single-largest penalty a company has been levied by the government.

Wonkbook’s Chart of the Day: How much Obamacare premiums are increasing in your state.

Wonkbook's Top 5 Stories: (1) Context on the Bank of America settlement; (2) protests calming in Ferguson?; (3) the Americans' Ebola recovery; (4) promising pre-Yellen economic numbers; and (5) Ice Bucket Challenge politics and policy.

1. Top story: BofA's $17 record billion settlement may not be as expensive as it sounds

Bank of America and DOJ reach $17 billion settlement over crisis-era mortgage securities. "Bank of America on Thursday became the third Wall Street bank to reach a multibillion-dollar agreement with the Justice Department for allegedly misleading investors about the quality of bonds sold in the lead-up to the 2008 financial crisis....There is no specific carve-out to compensate investors, whereas funds are set aside to provide relief to homeowners and blighted communities....Almost $1 billion of the Bank of America settlement will go to states...whose attorneys general were investigating the bank or its Countrywide Financial or Merrill Lynch units. Those state prosecutors have earmarked that money for...retirement funds." Danielle Douglas in The Washington Post.

On paper, the largest punishment against a bank for the mortgage crisis... "The settlement, which includes $9.65 billion in cash and $7 billion in consumer relief, resolves civil investigations by government prosecutors, the U.S. said today....The agreement cements Bank of America’s status as the firm punished hardest for faulty mortgage practices. It eclipses Citigroup Inc.’s $7 billion settlement in July and JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s $13 billion accord in November. Bank of America’s settlement also comes on top of its $9.5 billion deal in March to resolve related Federal Housing Finance Agency claims." Tom Schoenberg, Hugh Son and David McLaughlin in Bloomberg.

...but less painful than it looks. "The actual financial burden...may not exceed $12 billion....At issue is how much of the cost of the $7 billion in 'soft dollars,' or help for borrowers, the bank will bear....Some of the relief the bank will provide involves cutting the principal of a loan to make it easier for the borrower to pay. The dollar amount of that reduction gets credited toward what it needs to fulfill the settlement. But Bank of America wrote down many of its troubled mortgages years ago." Peter Eavis and Michael Corkery in The New York Times.

Some 'underwater' borrowers could face huge tax bill if they accept help through settlement. "In 2007, Congress adopted a law that spared homeowners from being taxed on the amount of the loan that was written off. But that tax break expired in December, and now that kind of relief can be counted as income by the IRS, an issue we wrote about in April....'That’s why the Department secured a commitment from Bank of America to pay a portion of the settlement — over $490 million — to defray some of this tax liability,' U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said....'And our settlement requires the bank to notify all consumers of the potential tax liability.'" Dina ElBoghdady in The Washington Post.

And few homeowners may benefit at all. "Consumer advocates say relatively few people will be helped relative to the devastation triggered by the mortgage bonds, which fueled the worst financial crisis since the 1930s and threw millions of homes into foreclosure. Only a fraction of homeowners would be eligible for refinancing under the settlement. And the process by which people would qualify and receive aid could drag on for years, with payouts set to be completed as late as 2018. Those who have already lost homes to a foreclosure or a short sale — when a lender accepts less money from a sale than what the borrower owes — wouldn't likely benefit at all." Josh Boak, Pete Yost and Marcy Gordon in the Associated Press.

A similar JPMorgan settlement has had some disappointing results for homeowners. "As of 31 March of this year, five months after the settlement, JPMorgan only claimed verifiable modifications on 100 loans, for a grand total of $6m in credited relief – a little under 1% of the total it has promised. Even though the settlement provides a bonus credit for relief delivered within the first year, JPMorgan has decided to stretch things out.Community housing activists like the Home Defenders League have repeatedly questioned whether relief will ever materialize. " David Dayen in The Guardian.

Under the deal, BofA can get credit for other firms' mortgage aid. "Bank of America Corp. can get credit toward its record $16.7 billion settlement of U.S. mortgage probes without doing a thing.  The lender, which jumped the most in 15 months in New York trading yesterday after agreeing to resolve government claims, pledged $7 billion in consumer relief in the deal. Some of that may be satisfied as borrowers get mortgage help from firms that bought their loans or servicing rights from the bank, according to terms on the Justice Department’s website. That can even apply to assets the bank already sold. Past U.S. settlements with big banks were criticized by investors and lawmakers after the companies got credit for borrower relief that might have occurred anyway or left other firms bearing the cost." Jody Shenn and Hugh Son in Bloomberg

One group is left out: investors. "One group of people who were harmed, the investors who purchased mortgage-backed securities and then took a beating, won’t be helped. Rafferty Capital Markets analyst Richard Bove, in a phone interview, said: 'The shareholders are expected to pay for something they never did, while the people who committed the crimes suffer nothing, while the people harmed get nothing.'"Philip Van Doorn in MarketWatch.

Do these settlements normalize banks' bad behavior? "The constant drumbeat of settlements really does normalize misbehavior: If every bank is constantly settling charges of mis-selling mortgages, then mis-selling mortgages can't really be that bad, can it? If every bank is constantly paying billions of dollars in fines, then paying billions of dollars in fines becomes less shameful. And if every bank is fined over and over again for the same conduct, then the attitudes of the bankers will shift." Matt Levine in Bloomberg View.

Other financial reads:

BoA seeks to prove Buffett right after settlement. Hugh Son in Bloomberg.

U.S. judge calls Argentina debt swap illegal. Nate Raymond and Joseph Ax in Reuters.

Regulators struggle with conflicts in credit ratings and audits. Floyd Norris in The New York Times.

KRUGMAN: Inflation hawks are crying wolf. "With very few exceptions, officials and economists who issued dire warnings about inflation years ago are still issuing more or less identical warnings today. Narayana Kocherlakota, president of the Minneapolis Fed, is the only prominent counterexample I can think of. Now, everyone who has been in the economics business any length of time, myself very much included, has made some incorrect predictions. If you haven’t, you’re playing it too safe. The inflation hawks, however, show no sign of learning from their mistakes. Where is the soul-searching, the attempt to understand how they could have been so wrong?" Paul Krugman in The New York Times.

COCHRANE: A few things the Fed has done right. "As Federal Reserve officials lay the groundwork for raising interest rates, they are doing a few things right. They need a little cheering, and a bit more courage of their convictions....The Fed's plan to maintain a large balance sheet and pay interest on bank reserves, begun under former Chairman Ben Bernanke and continued under current Chair Janet Yellen, is highly desirable for a number of reasons — the most important of which is financial stability. Short version: Banks holding lots of reserves don't go under." John H. Cochrane in The Wall Street Journal.

Top opinion

BAI: We want our politicians to act like LBJ. But not really. "Obama...just doesn't love the full contact sport of politics. He has no capacity for the inside machinations or tactical brutality we associate with a more sophisticated and celebrated president like Lyndon Johnson. What we really need, I guess, is an executive in the mold of a Chris Christie or an Andrew Cuomo or a Rick Perry, all of whom are more extroverted and more brazen about wielding their power as governors than Obama is — and all of whom, not incidentally, are now fending off prosecutors and investigations....This illustrates an interesting paradox of modern politics: We love this idea of the ruthless and effective political operator, right up until the moment we're confronted by the reality." Matt Bai in Yahoo News.

YORK: The right stuff. "The very fact that Cantor felt it necessary to explain such an elementary truth of modern American politics speaks volumes about the present state of the Republican Party. Although the GOP has been successful at the congressional level, its candidates for president have lost the popular vote in five of the last six elections, in large part because they failed to attract many of the millions of voters who are not entrepreneurs. Unless things change, the landscape could look just as bleak in 2016." Byron York in Foreign Affairs.

McARDLE: Legalize drugs, deal with the downsides. "How much benefit can we expect from drug legalization? For the past few years, John McWhorter has been making powerful arguments that we should end the drug war that has fueled so many problems in the black community....At the same time, I want to be realistic about the potential benefits. If we legalize drugs, will the gangs, and all the attendant costs of the drug war, really go away? Here’s one optimistic piece of evidence: The murder rate in America seems to have plummeted dramatically since the end of Prohibition." Megan McArdle in Bloomberg View.

ROHATYN AND GOLDMARK: Rebuilding America, one bridge at a time. "States should be asked to decide whether they want to join a national infrastructure program of the kind we are proposing. Those whose legislature and governor decide not to could take advantage of a simple alternative....Placing primary responsibility for infrastructure renewal on the states could win support of more conservative legislators who generally oppose new investments or expenditures by the federal government....And having a universally accepted, existing mechanism available for use of their share of the funds would allow states to opt out if they, for whatever reason, do not believe such a program is in their interest." Felix G. Rohatyn and Peter C. Goldmark Jr. in The Washington Post.

Kermit interlude: The Muppet takes the Ice Bucket Challenge.

2. The protests in Ferguson may be finally on the wane

Nixon orders National Guard to withdraw as protests calm down. "Gov. Jay Nixon ordered the Missouri National Guard to begin withdrawing from this St. Louis suburb Thursday, the clearest sign yet that the violent clashes between police and residents may be subsiding after nearly two weeks of civil unrest. Nixon’s decision came four days after he first called on Guard troops to help contain the escalating protests over the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9. The nightly confrontations between protesters and a heavily armed police force wielding tear gas canisters and rubber bullets have attracted global attention." Carol D. Leonnig and William Branigin in The Washington Post.

The gas is gone but the hot air remains. "Even though protesters and police are no longer clashing in the street, many battles have only just begun. While the relative calm is a welcome change from the nights of tear gas, rubber bullets and gunshot injuries, the glaring issues that were simmering under the surface before the city’s anger boiled over after the death of Michael Brown are still far from solved. Many residents are calling for a complete overhaul of the police department and politicians. A number of petitions are in place, and voter registration drives have become ubiquitous on the now calm streets." Kathleen Caulderwood in International Business Times.

Who are the protesters getting arrested? A lot of out-of-towners. "Since the protests erupted, people in Ferguson have insisted that the troublemakers are not from this community. Capt. Ron Johnson, the highway patrolman in charge of security here, said as much earlier this week....In fact, of the 51 people who were arrested Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, only one person was from Ferguson. The rest were from surrounding towns and faraway cities such as Des Moines, Iowa, Chicago and New York." Jason Rosenbaum in NPR.

Activists and clergy may have been the biggest calming force in protests. "Community activism and the work of local clergy were lauded by law enforcement officials as the primary influences that led to a relatively calm night of protests overnight in Ferguson. Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson said protesters remained orderly and police did not fire tear gas or seize any handguns." Kurtis Lee in the Los Angeles Times.

The conduct of the investigation could shape the future evolution of protests. "How long — and how deeply — the demonstrations will continue to run remained anyone's guess after 12 days. Before delivering petitions Thursday that seek removal of St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch from the case, African-American organizers warned of ongoing civil disobedience unless demands on their more expansive list are met." Ken Leiser in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Explainer: Here is everything police and witnesses said happened when Michael Brown was killed. Mark Berman in The Washington Post.

Supreme Court case to shape Ferguson investigation. "To most people, an 18-year-old unarmed man may not appear to pose a deadly threat. But a police officer's perspective is different. And that is how an officer should be judged after the fact, Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote in the 1989 opinion. The Supreme Court case, decided at a time when violence against police was on the rise, has shaped the national legal standards that govern when police officers are justified in using force. The key question about Wilson's killing on Aug. 9 is whether a reasonable officer with a similar background would have responded the same way." Eileen Sullivan in the Associated Press.

Charts: Blacks aren't thrilled with Obama's Ferguson response. "Given that Obama's approval ratings are generally underwater...when it comes to most issues these days, that might seem a small victory for the White House. But one emerging area to watch: how African Americans view his handling of the situation. While the CBS/NYT poll notes that 60 percent of blacks are satisfied with Obama's response to the Ferguson shooting...that's less overwhelming when you consider how hugely popular Obama is among African Americans in general. The latest Gallup numbers show that 86 percent of African Americans approve of the president." Aaron Blake in The Washington Post.

Long read: How Al Sharpton became Obama's go-to man on race. Glenn Thrush in Politico Magazine.

McCaskill to lead police militarization hearing. "The hearing, which will be held by the McCaskill-chaired Financial & Contracting Oversight Subcommittee, follows the Democrat’s calls for demilitarization in Ferguson, Missouri....The hearing will look into programs that have provided local police with military equipment....The use of war-zone equipment by police in response to Ferguson protesters has come under criticism from an array of politicians, including Attorney General Eric Holder, who visited Ferguson on Wednesday and met with McCaskill and other members of the Missouri congressional delegation." Lucy McCalmont in Politico.

Other legal reads:

In Ferguson, young protesters are finding it's not their grandparents' protests. DeNeen L. Brown in The Washington Post.

Sexual-assault victims get campus advocates. Erica E. Phillips in The Wall Street Journal.

Why Jay Nixon missed his moment. Eli Yokley in Politico Magazine.

MENDELBERG AND BUTLER: Obama cares. Look at the numbers. "As the predominantly black, disproportionately poor community of Ferguson, Mo., erupted in protest...critics excoriated President Obama for his failure to empathize....Mr. Obama’s defenders point to his second-term commitment to issues that touch the lives of poor communities of color, especially his initiative to assist young minority men, My Brother’s Keeper. But what both sides are ignoring is the president’s first-term record. A true measure of a president’s priorities lies hidden in plain sight in his budget proposals. Under that standard, Mr. Obama has been more committed to communities like Ferguson than any Democratic president in the past half century." Tali Mendelberg and Bennett L. Butler in The New York Times.

LITHWICK AND WEST: Counselors, not protesters. "Tthere is a crucial difference between the abortion opponents whose speech rights were feted by the court in McCullen and the garden variety protesters who can still be rounded up in free speech pens and summarily arrested on the streets of Ferguson: The court was careful to explain that the protesters in Massachusetts are not actually 'protesters.' They are 'counselors.' This presents an obvious solution for the outraged citizens who have taken to the streets of Ferguson and been met with tear gas, rubber bullets, and incarceration: rebranding. From this day forth you should consider yourself 'sidewalk counselors.'" Dahlia Lithwick and Sonja West in Slate.

GILLESPIE: The libertarian moment in Ferguson. "The politics of exhaustion — that desperate attempt to maintain an increasingly dysfunctional and disheartening status quo that is swelling the ranks of independents and driving down political approval ratings to historic lows—is giving way to new sets of conversations that are as urgent as they are overdue. Exactly how those conversations play out, especially in terms of partisan politics, is far less important than the fact they are taking place and moving the country forward to new areas of common ground." Nick Gillespie in The Daily Beast.

HENNINGER: Ferguson, USA. "Economic growth is nonpartisan. But inner-city public education is totally partisan. Democratic politicians made a Faustian bargain with the teachers unions, and the souls carried away have been the black children in those doomed schools. What America's Fergusons need — from L.A. to Detroit to New York — is a president, and a party, obsessed with growth and messianic about giving a kid what he needs to hold the job that growth provides. Maybe by the 100th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act." Daniel Henninger in The Wall Street Journal.

Shocking interlude: Watch a fish scarf down a shark in one bite.

3. We don't know why the two Ebola-infected Americans survived

Good news: Ebola-sickened Americans are cured. Bad news: We don't know why. "There is no cure for Ebola, and health officials aren't entirely sure what treatment or combination of treatments worked for the American patients. They received an experimental drug known as ZMapp, but because the drug has not been tested in humans, there are no guarantees it was responsible for their recovery. ZMapp might have made the difference; or supporting treatments, including massive infusions of fluids, might have done the job on their own." Sam Baker in National Journal.

Explainer: What's the outlook for the 2 American Ebola survivors? Linda Poon in NPR.

Have a great day, dear, and don't get Ebola. "These procedures come straight from interim guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There’s a good reason they’re 'interim' — we don’t have a lot of evidence to go on yet....I wonder how effective the regime would really be if it were tested in an outbreak. How many people will an Ebola patient get close to before finally being ushered into a room with negative air pressure? Friends and family. At least a couple of nurses. One or more doctors. Several sick and vulnerable people in the waiting area, along with their companions. How do we know that the disease won’t spread to health care workers in the United States the way it has in Africa?" Brian Palmer in Slate.

68 Ebola scares in the U.S., zero confirmed cases. "American hospitals and state labs have handled at least 68 Ebola scares over the last three weeks, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hospitals in 27 states alerted the CDC of the possible Ebola cases out of an abundance of caution....Fifty-eight cases were deemed false alarms after CDC officials spoke with medical professions about patient exposures and symptoms, but blood samples for the remaining 10 were sent to the CDC for testing, the agency told ABC News today. Seven of the samples tested negative for the virus and results for the remaining three are pending, the agency said." Sydney Lupkin in ABC News.

Long read: Ebola threatens to hobble $13 billion in GDP, three countries. Pauline Bax, Silas Gbandia, and Elise Zoker in Bloomberg Businessweek.

Chart: This is how bad the Ebola outbreak has been in Africa. Julia Belluz in Vox.

For Ebola drug 'market failure,' would a prize speed development of treatments? "In the U.S., drugs to treat rare diseases have become lucrative, thanks to tax incentives, special regulatory protection and a willingness by insurers and governments to pay for life-saving treatments. But Ebola, like many other diseases that are mainly a threat in less-developed countries, have been largely neglected by drugmakers....Most Ebola drug research has been financed by the U.S. government, she said, with Canada also pitching in. For Ebola, there may need to be more financial help to get research started and a reward for success." Scott Hensley in NPR.

Other health care reads:

Malpractice reform: One of the nation’s most expensive ballot campaigns is heating up. Niraj Chokshi in The Washington Post.

Long read: As more hospices enroll patients who aren’t dying, questions about lethal doses arise. Peter Whoriskey in The Washington Post.

American employers are rethinking their role in workers’ health care. The Economist.

Most Obamacare exchanges got bigger. California's is getting smaller. Dan Diamond in Kaiser Health News and California Healthline.

Animals interlude: Cats with watermelon.

4. Positive labor-market signs before Yellen's speech

A rare sign of real economic confidence? "According to a new Gallup poll, 58 percent of Americans say they are 'completely satisfied' with their job security. That's not only higher than it has been since the recession; it's also higher than it has been for two full decades....It's easy to over-state the significance of these numbers; after all, a recent poll showed about half of Americans think we're still in a recession. Clearly, Americans aren't all that confident about the overall job market. But at least in their personal lives, it appears they feel some certainty has been restored." Aaron Blake in The Washington Post.

Housing, jobs data bolster economic outlook. "U.S. home resales rose to a 10-month high in July and the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week, signaling strength in the economy early in the third quarter. The growth outlook was further buoyed by other reports on Thursday showing factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region hit its highest level since March 2011 in August while a gauge of future economic activity increased solidly last month....Home resales have now increased for four straight months after the housing market recovery stalled in the second half of 2013 following a run-up in mortgage rates." Lucia Mutikani in Reuters.

Despite rise in economic indicators, some areas of weakness remain. "The Conference Board’s index of U.S. leading indicators...climbed 0.9 percent after a 0.6 percent gain in June....The median forecast of 49 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 0.6 percent advance. Other elements of the economy remain challenged. Gains in wages since 2009 have barely kept up with a similarly tepid pace of inflation....Growth in the U.S. is projected to reach 2 percent this year, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists, supporting the Fed’s outlook that the economy will continue to require accommodative monetary policy even after the central bank winds down its unprecedented bond-buying program." Victoria Stilwell in Bloomberg.

Why are jobless claims falling so fast? "The improvement seems out of step with other labor-market indicators....Economists believe that one reason for a lower rate of layoffs is a labor market that has become generally less dynamic over the last few decades. Employers have become less likely to lay off workers over time, though they have also grown more cautious about hiring. Similarly, workers have grown more reluctant to change jobs, possibly stunting career development and earnings growth as a result. But more recently, most of the fall in jobless claims has been driven by a decline in the number of the newly laid off who don’t bother to apply for government benefits in a generally improving economy." Jonathan House in The Wall Street Journal.

Private bankers left out of Jackson Hole meeting. "Economists and advisers from firms such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Corp. and other banks and hedge funds were long a staple at the Fed's annual meeting in the Wyoming mountains. But top Fed officials have grown uncomfortable in recent years with the advantages conferred on private-sector economists from attending the high-profile event, where the world's leading central bankers rub elbows with academics, journalists and others. As a result, the Kansas City Fed, which organizes the symposium, has been paring the list of private-banker attendees." Jon Hilsenrath in The Wall Street Journal.

Central bankers wrestle with easy money amid uneven global recovery. "Federal Reserve officials...are waiting for more evidence that strong job gains can continue before they start raising short-term interest rates. Elsewhere, officials are debating whether to do more, not less....This leaves central bankers in an awkward position. Many worry the low interest rates they're employing to encourage borrowing and spur growth could spark a new financial bubble....For now, they are depending on unproven regulatory policies to prevent another crisis and leaving low interest-rate policies in place." Jon Hilsenrath in The Wall Street Journal.

Foreign banks the beneficiary of Fed's exit strategy. "Unlike domestic banks, foreign banks don’t have domestic depositors to tap for funds, so they turn elsewhere for dollars. Money market funds make the funds available for a few hundredths of a percentage point. The foreign banks in turn park those loans at the Fed for 0.25% interest. They earn profits on the spread between the cheap cost of funds available from money market funds and the higher rate they get at the Fed. It’s a trade that domestic U.S. banks have been unwilling to make because they have to pay additional fees to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp....By keeping a quarter-percentage-point spread in place between money market funds and commercial banks with its new system, the Fed is effectively keeping in place a structure that allows foreign banks to profit where domestic U.S. banks can’t." Jon Hilsenrath in The Wall Street Journal.

Related: Developing nations anxiously watching Fed at Jackson Hole. Jamila Trindle in Foreign Policy.

Explainer: Five questions for participants at the Fed's Jackson Hole conference. Pedro Nicolaci da Costa in The Wall Street Journal.

Other economic reads:

Why hotel, restaurant workers may soon get a raise. Quoctrung Bui in NPR.

Kayaking interlude: Giant humpback whale almost tail-slaps kayakers.

5. The politics and policy of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

It’s going to take a lot more ice buckets to fill the NIH funding gap. "The ALS Association's donation surge...won't be enough on its own to fund the research and development that's needed to eliminate this disease....The decline in NIH funding isn't unique to ALS research. The agency budget, after reaching a peak of $31.2 billion in 2010, fell to $30.2 billion in 2014. And the NIH says its budget has effectively been cut by 22 percent in the past decade when accounting for medical inflation. Further, the sequester's automatic 5 percent cut to the NIH resulted in 8 percent fewer research grants in the 2013 fiscal year compared to the previous year....Research is just one part of the equation. Then there's actually the cost of developing drugs." Jason Millman in The Washington Post.

Don't expect U.S. diplomats, service members or House members to take the challenge. "Lawyers at the State Department have banned American ambassadors and other high-profile foreign service officers from participating in the ice-bucket challenge...In a cable...to all U.S. diplomatic missions, the lawyers say it runs afoul of federal ethics rules barring officials from using public office for private gain 'no matter how worthy the cause.'...A House oversight committee and the Department of Defense have also banned members from participating in the challenge, echoing the State Department’s concerns over ethical violations." Associated Press and The Huffington Post.

Related: U.S. officials destroying evidence they took the challenge. Annalisa Merelli in Quartz.

Videos: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge leads to creative political trolling. Asawin Suebsaeng in The Daily Beast.

Oops: Lawmakers who took challenge voted (even if reluctantly) to cut funding. "These contradictory decisions don't necessarily make the lawmakers hypocrites. Many of them reluctantly cast that vote, and others are fine with funding ALS research so long as the funding comes from private sources and not federal taxes. But the contradiction does expose the curious ways in which government officials often end up dealing with problems they created." Sam Stein in The Huffington Post.

Background reading: The cold, hard truth about the Ice Bucket Challenge: funding cannibalism. William MacAskill in Quartz.

Unique Ice Bucket Challenge interlude: Featuring a drone.

Wonkblog roundup

A drug naming dispute, with billions on the line. Jason Millman.

How much $100 is really worth in New York, Washington and Chicago. Niraj Chokshi.

Some homeowners could get hit with a whopping tax bill if they accept help through Bank of America’s settlement. Dina ElBoghdady.

12 years of data from New York City suggest stop-and-frisk wasn’t that effective. Emily Badger.

It’s going to take a lot more ice buckets to fill the NIH funding gap. Jason Millman.

Et Cetera

Profile: Prosecutor in Rick Perry case called ethical, fair. Andrea Ball in the Austin American-Statesman.

Net worth falls for majority as wealth grows. Carol Morello in The Washington Post.

Inversions push falls to Treasury's tax man, Mark Mazur. Damian Paletta in The Wall Street Journal.

Florida same-sex marriage ban ruled unconstitutional, but decision stayed. Michael Winter in USA Today.

Long read: Paying NCAA college athletes — inside the legal battle. Paul M. Barrett in Bloomberg Businessweek.

Coal terminal decision highlights exports' greenhouse-gas emissions. Bobby Magill in Climate Central.

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

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

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UGC FROM ARTICLE: !!!

FINAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=2, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!
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Jason Millman · August 21