Wonkbook: The quiet revolution in the world of central banking

August 25

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.


(AP Photo/John Locher)

Wonkbook’s Number of the Day: More than 1,000. That's the number of businesses that the Department of Homeland Security says are affected by the "Backoff" cyberattacks.

Wonkbook’s Chart of the Day: The state of America's widening wealth gap.

Wonkbook's Top 5 Stories: (1) Dovish remarks in Jackson Hole; (2) Ferguson's tough road back to normal; (3) international business policy update; (4) Obamacare and the workplace; and (5) key policy issues fading in the midterm campaigns.

1. Top story: Generally dovish notes from central bankers' Jackson Hole meeting

Central bankers' new gospel: Spur jobs, wages and inflation. "The last time the economic policy conference held here every August devoted its agenda to labor markets, it was 1994 and the Federal Reserve’s vice chairman scandalized the audience by suggesting central banks worried too much about reducing inflation and not enough about unemployment. Twenty years later, heresy has become gospel. Leaders of the world’s major central banks made clear...that they were focused on raising employment and wages....Looming over the conference, however, was the reality that central banks had made limited progress toward achieving these new goals. They also face mounting questions about how much more they have the power to do." Binyamin Appelbaum in The New York Times.

Yellen's revolutionary emphasis: wages. "It’s no mystery where Wall Street acquired its new-found appreciation for the financial fate of the American working stiff. From her position as the world’s single most powerful economic voice, the chair of the US Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, is forcing the financial markets to rethink assumptions that have dominated economic thinking for nearly 40 years. Essentially, Yellen is arguing that fast-rising wages, viewed for decades as an inflationary red flag and a reason to hike rates, should instead be welcomed, at least for now." Matt Phillips in Quartz.

Explainer: Takeaways from Jackson Hole, at a glance. Jon Hilsenrath and Pedro Nicolaci da Costa in The Wall Street Journal.

But in the near term, banks have conflicting priorities. "The Federal Reserve is preparing to reduce its economic support. By contrast, the European Central Bank is considering more stimulus. So is the Bank of Japan. The Bank of England seems to be moving toward raising interest rates. It isn't just the biggest economies whose central banks are pulling in different directions. This year, central banks in Mexico, Sweden and South Korea, among others, have lowered rates. Others — in Russia and South Africa, for example — have raised them. It's a long way from the coordinated efforts that major central banks made after the 2008 financial crisis erupted and economies began to stall." Martin Crutsinger in the Associated Press.

Primary source: Read all the papers from the Jackson Hole conference.

Bottom line from Yellen: Rates will stay low for a while. Because jobs. "Yellen’s task is to decide which of the Fed’s dual mandates is more important — lowering unemployment or keeping inflation in check. Clearly she believes lowering unemployment is the more important task, and that in doing so the Fed is willing to risk a little more inflation....Yellen says all you need to know toward the end of her speech: 'It likely will be appropriate to maintain the current target range for the federal funds rate for a considerable time after our current asset purchase program ends.' So expect rates to remain low even after the Fed stops buying bonds sometime around October of this year." Matthew Philips in Bloomberg Businessweek.

Long read: The mystery woman who runs the economy. Michael Hirsh in Politico Magazine.

Many economists don't want the Fed to wait long to lift rates. "Economists overwhelmingly expect the Federal Reserve to hold off raising short-term interest rates until at least 2015. But nearly a third say doing so would mean the central bank waited too long, a new survey found. Of economists polled by the National Association for Business Economics, 31% said the Fed should lift rates from near zero this year. Just 4.5% expect that to actually happen, according to the survey released Monday. The share of economists saying the Fed should raise rates in 2014 has grown from 25% in the organization’s February policy survey." Eric Morath in The Wall Street Journal.

Yellen: Still no clear formula for deciding when the labor market has healed. "In her remarks...Yellen said deciding when she’ll be satisfied with the progress in the labor market won’t be easy to determine....Her comments echoed the message from minutes of the July Federal Open Market Committee meeting, which showed officials growing more aware that the job market looks healthier. She said policy makers will have to consider a 'wide range” of indicators to make that assessment, adding that there’s 'no simple recipe' for deciding when to raise rates for the first time since 2006." Simon Kennedy and Jeff Kearns in Bloomberg.

Yellen shifts stance on source of slow wage growth. "Yellen seemed to shift her stance on the country’s stagnant wage growth. Previously, she has cited it as a sign that the labor market remains weak. But on Friday she called on research that suggests wage growth has been subdued because employers were unable to cut salaries deeply enough during the recession, a phenomenon dubbed 'pent-up wage deflation.' She also suggested that globalization and the difficulty that the long-term unemployed face in finding jobs could also be depressing wage growth." Ylan Q. Mui in The Washington Post.

A different theory on job losses in Great Recession. "Employment losses...may have had more to do with factors like the rise of Walmart than with the recession itself, two economists say in a new academic paper. The paper...argues that the share of Americans with jobs has declined because the labor market has stagnated in recent decades — fewer people losing or leaving jobs, fewer people landing new ones. This dearth of creative destruction, the authors argue, is the result of long-term trends including a slowdown in small business creation and the rise of occupational licensing." Binyamin Appelbaum in The New York Times.

Related: Paper by MIT's David Autor argues automation is polarizing labor market. Jon Hilsenrath in The Wall Street Journal.

At the conference they faced another challenge — from activists. "A group of activists has descended on the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank’s annual conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo., to tell central bank officials that any move to raise interest rates soon could wreak havoc on the lives of Americans still struggling with a weak economic recovery. U.S. unemployment has fallen fairly rapidly in recent months, to 6.2% in July, down from its post-recession peak of 10%. However, the activists said those numbers mask much deeper troubles in the country’s poorer neighborhoods. The unemployment rate for African-Americans, for instance, was 11.1% in July." Pedro Nicolaci da Costa in The Wall Street Journal.

How much will Fed have to borrow in reverse repos to bump up rates? "The Federal Reserve will probably borrow 'several hundred billion' dollars from money-market mutual funds and others to anchor the federal funds rate when it begins tightening policy, according to St. Louis Fed President James Bullard....The central bank has been testing overnight reverse repos with a limited set of counterparties, mostly money funds, as a tool to set a floor under short-term interest rates....There is still disagreement among FOMC members over how much borrowing the Fed will have to do through reverse repos in order to make sure the fed funds rate moves up when the central bank wants to start tightening credit conditions." Matthew Boesler in Bloomberg.

Other economic/financial reads:

Why robots may not take our jobs after all: They lack common sense. Neil Irwin in The New York Times.

MOORE: The missing middle-class recovery. "The Federal Reserve does not have its head entirely in the clouds. Janet Yellen, the chair, has been particularly attentive to the unemployment problem. Where many pundits have excitedly touted the falling unemployment rate as a victory, Yellen acknowledges the dropping rate of the jobless — currently around 6% — 'overstates the improvement' for jobs. Still the question remains: are economists, breathing that thin, high mountain air in Jackson Hole, really aware of the murky atmosphere the rest of us are breathing?" Heidi Moore in The Guardian.

Top opinion

SEN: Environmentalists ignore poor countries when they obsess about global warming. "I would like to comment on two quite different, but ultimately related, areas of neglected environmental analyses that demand immediate attention. The first is the general problem of not having anything like an overall normative framework...that could serve as the basis of debates and discussions on policy recommendations. Despite the ubiquity and the reach of environmental dangers, a general normative framework for the evaluation of these dangers has yet to emerge. The second is a much more specific problem: the failure to develop a framework for assessing the comparative costs of different sources of energy...inclusive of the externalities involved, which can take many different forms." Amartya Sen in The New Republic.

GLAESER AND SUNSTEIN: How to deregulate cities and states. "A widely overlooked part of Paul Ryan's antipoverty plan draws attention to the problem of occupational licensing, and it rightly calls on states and local governments 'to begin to dismantle these barriers to upward mobility.' But how? The answer, we think, lies in the adoption of a rigorous cost-benefit test. That test would impose new discipline on what state and local governments do — and it would eliminate unjustified barriers to job creation and economic growth." Edward Glaeser and Cass R. Sunstein in The Wall Street Journal.

KRUGMAN: The wrong way nation. "So conservative complaints about excess regulation and intrusive government aren’t entirely wrong, but the secret of Sunbelt growth isn’t being nice to corporations and the 1 percent; it’s not getting in the way of middle- and working-class housing supply. And this, in turn, means that the growth of the Sunbelt isn’t the kind of success story conservatives would have us believe. Yes, Americans are moving to places like Texas, but, in a fundamental sense, they’re moving the wrong way, leaving local economies where their productivity is high for destinations where it’s lower. And the way to make the country richer is to encourage them to move back, by making housing in dense, high-wage metropolitan areas more affordable." Paul Krugman in The New York Times.

STRAIN: A conservative approach to infrastructure investment. "We shouldn’t follow the left’s approach to infrastructure stimulus....Instead, a conservative approach to infrastructure would begin with a question: What are some projects that we actually need to fund? We all know by now that 'shovel ready' projects are rare. So we should take some time to actually figure out which projects offer the highest value to society. We should put in place a multi-year program of infrastructure investment, not sugar-economics Keynesian stimulus....After identifying high-social-value projects...we should move (some of) that spending from the future into the present....More important, a conservative infrastructure program should prioritize a conservative goal: Helping the working class to rise." Michael R. Strain in The Washington Post.

MANKIW: One way to fix the corporate tax — repeal it. "The president has good reason to be concerned. Yet demonizing the companies and their executives is the wrong response. A corporate chief who arranges a merger that increases the company’s after-tax profit is doing his or her job. To forgo that opportunity would be failing to act as a responsible fiduciary for shareholders....If tax inversions are a problem, as arguably they are, the blame lies not with business leaders who are doing their best to do their jobs, but rather with the lawmakers who have failed to do the same. The writers of the tax code have given us a system that is deeply flawed in many ways, especially as it applies to businesses." N. Gregory Mankiw in The New York Times.

Nature interlude: Stunning up-close video of a Portuguese man of war.

2. How Ferguson is trying to return to normal

As calm prevails in streets of Ferguson... "As tear gas canisters clanked around him, Bishop Edwin Bass of the Church of God in Christ shuttled between protesters and police, urging each side not to attack the other. Bass was joined by other clergy and activists, people of different races, denominations and backgrounds, all trying to ratchet down protests....As people in Ferguson looked ahead to Brown's funeral Monday, these peacemakers hoped that the calm of the past few days would continue." Rick Jervis in USA Today.

 ...the police try to rebuild trust. "The police tasked with keeping the peace say they've made mistakes and are working to rebuild the trust of the community. Critics of the police response to protests over the death of Michael Brown have targeted the St. Louis County Police Department's Tactical Operations Unit — a group of police officers who insist they just want to keep the peace and protect people from a small group of criminals. Now, the embattled department is desperate to tell its story and show the public its point of view." Yamiche Alcindor in USA Today.

Long read: Injustice in Ferguson, long before Michael Brown. Peter Coy in Bloomberg Businessweek.

A blue-collar town already struggling risks a further tumble. ""It one sense that is a familiar feeling: this blue collar outpost of St Louis has long lived on an economic edge, balanced between getting by and tumbling into poverty. The clashes between riot police and protestors...have focused worldwide attention on militarised US policing but they have also damaged local businesses and pushed some of their workers and families closer to destitution....One store is burned and gutted, other businesses are smashed and looted, others are physically unscathed but bereft of customers....Some store owners have boarded up their windows and doors and said they haemorrhaged so much they may not reopen." Rory Carroll in The Guardian.

How the Ferguson community is helping struggling families. "With many stores closed, families have been unable to obtain food and other essential items. Unable to restock its shelves, the food pantry at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church also was forced to close....Thanks to hundreds of donations from individuals and groups, however, the pantry is now back up and running....In addition, the church has been coordinating with other local churches and food pantries to make sure supplies get to the community....Other groups have similarly stepped in to help families in the Ferguson area. On Saturday, a number of organizations...set up up a 'community resource drop-in center' at the Dellwood community center." Sasha Belenky in The Huffington Post.

The first signs of normalcy are returning as schools reopen. "Ferguson School Board President Rob Chabot announced Thursday at a community meeting that school will “absolutely” be open Monday after more than a week of violence and unrest that rocked this suburban community outside St. Louis....To the mostly white audience of 300 or 400 packed in the First Baptist Church here, it was a welcome sign of a return to normalcy at an event meant to reclaim the image of a town that has become the center of a national debate over racism and police brutality." Alex Seitz-Wald, Zachary Roth and Amanda Sakuma in MSNBC.

Profile: The campaign for Ferguson's good name. Philip Bump in The Washington Post.

Ferguson is trying to help its children understand and cope with the crisis. "Public schools in Ferguson, Mo., are reinforcing their counseling services for the first day of school Monday in anticipation of students' anxieties after two weeks of protests in their community....Younger children may not be able to verbalize how they feel, and anxiety can reveal itself in...physical complaints, said Steven Bruce, director of the Center for Trauma Recovery at the University of Missouri-St. Louis....Traumatic events have a much more 'pervasive' impact on children than on adults, said Ken Oliver, associate professor of counseling at Quincy University in Illinois. Children may think a situation represents how things are supposed to be." Jolie Lee in USA Today.

In St. Louis, one street divides city by race, and views of the shooting. "In St. Louis, the break between races — and privilege — is...so defined that those on both sides speak often about a precise boundary. The Delmar Divide, they call it, and it stands as a symbol of the disconnect that for years has bred grievances and frustrations, emotions that exploded into public view on the streets of the majority-black suburb of Ferguson after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager. Ferguson is north of Delmar; the suburb of Crestwood, where the officer lives, is south. Even the way people perceive the Aug. 9 shooting and the street protests that have followed is influenced by geography." Chico Harlan in The Washington Post.

But multiracial neighborhoods in Ferguson defy idea of strife. "Some black residents who have taken to the streets to protest Mr. Brown's shooting have noted that people of both races here generally get along well....While much has been made of the problems in this St. Louis suburb, many locals of both races say they remain proud of their town and the diversity that drew them to this once quiet community of wooded hills. The distrust that exists, most residents say, isn't among neighbors, but between the majority black residents and the overwhelmingly white police force and city government, a chasm that has widened as more African-Americans moved here over the past three decades." Matthew Dolan and Dan Frosch in The Wall Street Journal.

Ferguson's experience offers lessons on integration. "In 1996, Dan Duncan, a drug and alcohol counselor, joined others to devise a program that pooled funds to make up for a resident's drop in home value — an inducement to keep white owners from selling cheaply....But while white flight was stemmed, the power structure at City Hall and the police department didn't change to reflect the new black majority. The city has made efforts to reach out to its new residents....'We didn't do the typical American thing, which is to run away from each other,' Mr. Duncan said. But some observers say that is one reason political power in Ferguson still rests largely with white residents." Douglas Belkin and Matthew Dolan in The Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile in Washington, Obama just ordered a review of police-arming programs. "The White House-led review will consider whether the government should continue providing such equipment and, if so, whether local authorities have sufficient training to use it appropriately, said senior administration and law enforcement officials. The government will also consider whether it is keeping a close enough watch on equipment inventories, and how the weapons and other gear are used. The review, coupled with proposed legislation and planned congressional hearings, opens the possibility for significant changes in Washington’s approach to arming local law enforcement agencies." Matt Apuzzo and Michael S. Schmidt in The New York Times.

Other legal reads:

U.S. court to hear voting-restrictions case as ballot nears in Arizona. Erik Eckholm in The New York Times.

How going nuclear unclogged the Senate of its judicial nominees. Burgess Everett in Politico.

Bid to expand medical marijuana business faces federal hurdles. Dave Philipps in The New York Times.

YEOMANS: Officer Wilson probably will walk. "Holder’s presence instilled confidence in many that justice will be done. For some...that will only be achieved with Wilson’s conviction. But there are long odds against that. The history of criminal investigations of police shootings drives home how unlikely it is for an officer to be convicted of a crime for using deadly force. While hard numbers are difficult to come by, we know that police shoot hundreds of people each year and there are at most a handful of successful criminal charges. For better or worse, a variety of legal and cultural elements make criminal accountability uncommon for police officers who kill." William Yeomans in Politico Magazine.

HUNT: Blacks' unfinished journey. "The tragic shooting of a black teenager by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, has sparked an intense debate about the state of race relations in America, but there's little indication much will change. Predictably, Barack Obama, the first black president, is at the center of the debate. Should he speak out more forcefully? Should he go to Ferguson? Is this a teaching moment? This recalls the expectation that his election would magically transform an issue that has plagued the U.S. for hundreds of years." Albert R. Hunt in Bloomberg View.

FUND: Boost Ferguson voter turnout. "No one is suggesting that rescheduling the dates of local elections would result in massive reform or that it should substitute for other reforms such as economic development or the kind of curbs on the political use of union dues that Wisconsin governor Scott Walker has pushed through. But shouldn’t we hold elections when people are more likely to show up and dilute the outside influence of long-time incumbents and unions? Clint Bolick, a libertarian constitutional scholar and author of the book Grassroots Tyranny: The Limits of Federalism, thinks so....Liberals now have a reason to join conservatives in supporting a reformed election calendar." John Fund in National Review.

Lucky break interlude: Printer catches paper perfectly as it comes out.

3. What's next for a trio of international business policy issues

Did Obama's condemnation of 'corporate deserters' halt inversions? "On July 24 Obama referred to companies looking to shift their domicile as 'corporate deserters' and aides pledged to curtail the practice with or without Congressional approval. Since then, no companies have announced any of these deals — known as inversions — and it’s no coincidence, according to lawyers and investment bankers. The presidential rhetoric has caused several companies exploring inversions to put on the brakes to see what emerges from the political debate....The new caution was seen earlier this month when Walgreen Co....passed on the opportunity to move its domicile to low-tax Switzerland." Matthew Campbell, Manuel Baigorri and David Welch in Bloomberg.

Pfizer still mulling AstraZeneca inversion deal. "Pfizer Chief Executive Ian Read has made clear he is still considering big deals to revive his firm's pipeline and cut its tax bill — something buying AstraZeneca would allow it to do via a so-called inversion that would shift its tax base to Britain....Political uncertainty has also played into the British group's hands to some extent, with recent U.S. threats to clamp down on tax inversions provoking fears that such tax-saving deals may in future be blocked." Ben Hirschler in Reuters.

Lew says business tax reform best way to tackle inversions. "U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said the best way to deal with corporate inversions is through a comprehensive revamp of business taxation....Lew’s comments came in a meeting with policy specialists....Lew’s comments [Thursday] echo his previous statements on the issue, which emphasized reducing tax rates and making it harder for U.S. companies to shift profits overseas. The Treasury Department is also working on options for regulatory steps to curb inversions or make them less attractive." Kasia Klimasinska and Richard Rubin in Bloomberg.

Obama goes to bat for big business in Ex-Im Bank push. "Obama’s remarks come as Congress prepares to decide whether or not to renew the bank’s charter, which expires at the end of the fiscal year in September. Conservatives want to eliminate the export credit agency, which extends loans, guarantees and insurance to U.S. companies to finance their sales in foreign markets, saying the agency’s activities are a form of corporate welfare and often amount to crony capitalism. Obama took aim at that characterization of the bank." Eric Bradner in Politico.

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

Domestic battle over Ex-Im points to broader global trade battles. "The agency helps large and small businesses sell products overseas through a combination of guarantees, credit insurance and loans, occasionally with direct White House involvement. But it also wades into thorny domestic issues, such as controversial new limits on greenhouse-gas emissions for fossil-fuel projects it helps finance overseas. One result: The agency is positioned squarely in the middle of some of the world's largest trade fights between nations eager to gain an advantage for their exporters. This includes battles with Europe over aircraft sales and fights over who wins huge Asian infrastructure jobs." Damian Paletta in The Wall Street Journal.

At least in quantity, Obama trade enforcements look more like Bush's than Clinton's. "Since Jan. 20, 2009, USTR has filed 15 cases at the WTO, for an average of fewer than three per year.... The Obama administration record compares to 24 cases filed by the Bush administration during its eight years in office and 68 cases filed by the Clinton administration between January 1995, when the WTO was created, and January 2001. Obama trade officials argue that judging their enforcement record by the number of cases they’ve filed is unfair....Recent cases are also more complicated, strategic and broader in scope than those filed by the two previous administrations, administration aides argued." Doug Palmer in Politico.

Underwater view interlude: Underwater camera demonstrates how it looks to poach an egg.

4. How Obamacare and the workplace are influencing each other

When are wellness programs illegal? "In what appears to be the first major legal volley against wellness programs, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit on Wednesday against a Wisconsin company for allegedly firing a worker because she refused to undergo a health assessment. According to the EEOC, Orion Energy Systems instituted a wellness program in 2009 and asked its employees to undertake a 'health risk assessment.' That’s standard practice. Employers say (not implausibly) that the assessments provide an opportunity for employees to take stock of their health needs. But some workers fear (also not implausibly) that their employers are intruding on their privacy." Nicholas Bagley in The Incidental Economist.

Related: How is the Affordable Care Act affecting worker wellness programs? Jayne O'Donnell in USA Today.

More, not fewer, could seek employer-based coverage. "In an earnings call last week, Walmart announced that its workers were signing up for health insurance en masse.....The change didn’t come because of a more generous company policy....It came because many more workers decided to take advantage of the offer. It’s early yet to be sure of a strong trend, but the Walmart experience mirrors evidence from early polls and the historical experience of Massachusetts, which enacted a law similar to the Affordable Care Act in 2006. More people may be signing up for employer-based coverage than did before." Margot Sanger-Katz in The New York Times.

Many employers will offer skimpy plans despite ACA. "Many thought such skimpy coverage would be history once the health law was fully implemented this year. Instead, 16 percent of large employers in a survey released Wednesday by the National Business Group on Health said they will offer in 2015 these so-called skinny plans along with at least one insurance option that does qualify under ACA standards. The results weren't entirely unexpected. Last year, it became clear that ACA regulations would allow skinny plans and even make them attractive for some employers. But this survey gives one of the first looks at how many companies followed through." Jay Hancock in Kaiser Health News and NPR.

Meanwhile, health premiums have gobbled up workers' wages. "To lasso runaway costs, companies are increasingly asking workers to pay more of the costs of their medical care. Most large U.S. employers are offering 'consumer-directed health plans' next year that typically have high deductibles. They’ll be the only option at one third of the big companies that answered questions for a new survey by the National Business Group on Health....Employers are gravitating to plans that combine high deductibles with health savings accounts often funded by both company and worker contributions. Workers use the accounts to pay for doctor visits or other care until they reach a deductible of often $1,500 or more, when the health plan starts paying." John Tozzi in Bloomberg Businessweek.

Other health care reads:

How the administration is changing Obamacare to comply with Hobby Lobby. Sam Baker in National Journal.

Some insurers refuse to cover contraceptives despite ACA requirement. Michelle Andrews in Kaiser Health News.

Americans: Stop worrying about Ebola. Every suspected case in the U.S. has been a false alarm. Dan Diamond in Forbes.

Heart group calls on FDA to quickly regulate e-cigarettes. Liz Szabo in USA Today.

Dog days of summer interlude: These dogs are keeping cool by having a pool party.

5. Two key policy areas have lost their midterm punch

The Affordable Care Act has faded. "President Barack Obama's unpopular health care law is losing some of its political punch as vulnerable Democrats see it as less of an election-year minus and Republicans increasingly talk about fixing it instead of repealing. Two-term Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor, who is locked in one of the most competitive races in the country, says in an ad this week that he voted for a law that prevents insurers from canceling policies if someone gets sick, as he did 18 years ago when he was diagnosed with cancer. That prohibition on terminating policies in this fashion is one of the more popular elements of the 4-year-old law that Pryor never mentions by its official name." Donna Cassata in the Associated Press.

Same with immigration reform. "The immigration debate that’s raging in Washington is almost an afterthought in the tight battle between Mike Coffman and Andrew Romanoff....The shrug isn’t limited to Colorado. Less than three months before the midterm elections, there’s virtually no competitive House race that’s animated by a debate over immigration. That’s a dramatic shift from the 2012 election when Republican leaders, stung by Mitt Romney’s defeat, looked to some type of immigration reform as a way to make inroads with the Latino community. Other factors — ranging from Obamacare to unease about the economy and the president’s sagging popularity — are far bigger issues this cycle." Jake Sherman in Politico.

More Ice Bucket Challenges interlude: 26 governors have now taken the challenge.

Wonkblog roundup

What’s next for Darren Wilson? These numbers could be a clue. Roberto A. Ferdman.

The state of America’s widening wealth gap. Emily Badger.

The Republican civil war over taxes is coming. Matt O'Brien.

Administration offers new tweak to birth control rule. Jason Millman.

Chart: How much canned tuna is safe to eat per week, based on your weight. Roberto A. Ferdman.

Name That Data! Christopher Ingraham.

Yellen says she’s confident in labor market progress, uncertain of road ahead. Ylan Q. Mui.

Et Cetera

Drone uproar shows hurdles to U.S. commercial rules. Alan Levin in Bloomberg.

U.S. finds "Backoff" hacker tool is widespread. Nicole Perlroth in The New York Times.

Federal government ends hunt for housing for children crossing border. Anita Kumar in McClatchy Newspapers.

Vanishing bird ignites debate over endangered species rules. Timothy Cama in The Hill.

Schools avoid nutrition rules by dropping federal funds. Claire Suddath in Bloomberg Businessweek.

Education Department to give leeway on test scores. Caroline Porter in The Wall Street Journal.

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: !!!

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