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Wonkbook’s Number of the Day: $180. That's how much the median household income in the United States rose last year, a statistically insignificant gain that explains why so many Americans doubt the economic recovery.
Wonkbook’s Chart of the Day: The poverty rates for Americans and for American children have fallen for the first time since 2000.
Wonkbook's Top 5 Stories: (1) Why Americans aren't feeling the recovery; (2) the military's challenge in fighting Ebola; (3) feds' Ferguson response update; (4) Congress' uphill blitz against the NFL; and (5) silence masked GM's woes.
1. Top story: Economic growth doesn't tell the whole story about the economy
The most important thing about the state of the U.S. economy. "The new numbers...in many ways tell us more about how well the economy is serving — or failing — the mass of Americans than data that create hyperventilation in the financial markets....We now know that if your household brought in $51,939 in income last year, you were right at the 50th percentile....In inflation-adjusted terms, that is up a mere 0.3 percent from 2012. If you’re counting, that’s an extra $180 in annual real income for a middle-income American family....Going back a little further, the numbers are even gloomier....The new evidence that pay is stagnant for middle-income families strikes us as the most important thing contained in this report. That’s partly because it is supported by so much other evidence." Neil Irwin in The New York Times.
Related: Midwestern governors are finding themselves in a pickle because they're struggling to sell the improving economy to voters. Karyn Bruggeman in National Journal.
The child-poverty rate fell for the first time since 2000. "The official poverty rate declined from 15 percent in 2012 to 14.5 percent in 2013, although the number of Americans living in poverty remained statistically unchanged for the third year in a row. That's largely because of population growth. Poverty is now starting to tick down as unemployment declines, and as more workers...find full-time employment....The poverty rate, however, is still 2 percentage points higher than it was in 2007, before the start of the recession." Emily Badger in The Washington Post.
We're doing a better job on poverty than the official numbers show. "Our poverty rate seems, at best, to have fluctuated, prompting commentary with the new data Tuesday that the poverty rate 'has been going nowhere for decades,' or that the War on Poverty 'has failed.' But the real picture is actually somewhat better than the one shown above....That's because the official poverty rate — the one released by the Census Bureau on Tuesday — doesn't capture the impact of many of the programs the government runs to aid the poor, such as food stamps and housing vouchers....The poverty rate looks high today — and like it hasn't changed much historically — but it would be a lot higher without government programs to support the poor." Emily Badger in The Washington Post.
The Census Bureau has an alternative, 'supplemental' poverty measure that will come out soon. "In 2011, the Census Bureau began additionally releasing a Supplemental Poverty Measure, calculated differently, which has drawn criticism from both the left and right. Its figure for 2013 will be released next month." Josh Eidelson in Bloomberg Businessweek.
The gender-pay gap has narrowed by the most since recession began. "Women earned 78.3 cents for every dollar men earned in 2013....That compares to 76.5 cents a year earlier. The statistic, which has floated between 76 and 78 cents in recent years, is frequently cited by politicians who support measures to reduce the difference, including President Barack Obama....Until last year, the pay gap remained virtually unchanged or widened each year of his presidency. More recently, Mr. Obama pushed for additional legislation aimed at combating gender discrimination. This spring he signed an executive order that prohibits federal contractors from retaliating against workers for discussing their pay with each other." Eric Morath in The Wall Street Journal.
Charts: America's racial divides are also economic ones. The disparities in household income by racial group. Bourree Lam in The Atlantic.
Food-stamp cuts GOP sought will hit just 4 states. "As a result, it's unclear whether the law will realize the estimated $8.6 billion in savings over 10 years that the GOP had advertised. A farm bill signed by President Barack Obama in February attempted to save money by scaling back what lawmakers called a loophole in the food stamp program that entitles low-income families to more food aid if they participate in a federal heating assistance program. States were giving some people as little as $1 a year in heating assistance so they could get more food aid. It's called 'heat and eat.' Among the 16 states that allow the practice or some form of it, 12 governors have taken steps to avoid the food stamp cuts." Mary Clare Jalonick in the Associated Press.
Nearly half of Americans in major cities can't cover their basic expenses in an emergency. "Nearly half of all households in major cities don’t have enough money saved to cover essential expenses in an emergency, according to a study that the Corporation for Enterprise Development plans to release Wednesday....This nerve-racking financial insecurity has come to characterize life in cities across the country....The lack of savings not only means that families are frighteningly vulnerable to setbacks but that they are also unable to plan for the future even in the good times. Financial advisers recommend having savings equivalent to three months’ income to get through a rough patch." Patricia Cohen in The New York Times.
Two parents, not just two incomes, are what help kids get ahead. "Study after study confirms that children in married-parent families grow up to be better off financially than the children of single and divorced parents. This makes intuitive sense, of course; a single parent supporting her kids with only one income is going to have a tougher time giving her kids the same advantages that a child of a two-parent family will get. But it's not that simple. New research confirms that income accounts for less than half of the advantage that the children of married couples get. In fact, it's married couples' parenting behaviors that have the bigger effect." Danielle Kurtzleben in Vox.
International aside: Despite declines, child mortality and hunger persist in developing nations, U.N. says. "The United Nations on Tuesday reported significant declines in the rates of child mortality and hunger, but said those two scourges of the developing world stubbornly persist in parts of Africa and South Asia despite major health care advances and sharply higher global food production....While one of those goals — halving the number of hungry people by 2015 — seems within reach, the goal of reducing child mortality by two-thirds is years behind, the reports
Other economic/financial reads:
Ex-Im Bank extension seen likely though mid-2015, lawmakers say. Krista Hughes, Emily Stephenson and David Lawder in Reuters.
GALSTON: Saving the vanishing American worker. "Faced with uncertainties, policy makers must balance risks....In these circumstances, we should tip the scales in favor of workers. Evidence of inflationary pressures is scarce, while weak participation among prime-age workers suggests a labor force with considerable room to expand. Encouraging faster growth and job creation would help, as would policies — such as an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit for single, childless workers — to make existing jobs more attractive. In the long run, however, we cannot maximize either growth or opportunity unless we reforge the broken link between median wages and productivity and strike a better balance between rewards to labor and returns to capital." William A. Galston in The Wall Street Journal.
CASSIDY: A recipe for political polarization. "With fewer gains to go around, distributional squabbles intensify — not just among various income groups but also among different social classes and ethnic groups....Meanwhile, those lucky folks at the top of the income distribution, where almost all of the incremental income has accumulated over the past couple of decades, have a big incentive to get more involved politically: to prevent the adoption of redistributive policies. To oversimplify a bit, income stagnation paired with rising inequality is a recipe for political polarization and, under the American system of divided powers, political gridlock, which is what we have. Based on the latest Census Bureau figures, there’s no sign of that changing anytime soon." John Cassidy in The New Yorker.
PORTER: U.S. manufacturing is back? Not so fast. "A growing number of business analysts have been arguing that we are entering a new era of global manufacturing, with the United States at center stage. Last month, the Boston Consulting Group, following up on an earlier survey that suggested 'reshoring' of factories back to the United States was the new name of the game, issued a report that argued that the United States had the lowest manufacturing costs among major exporters in the developed world and was nearly competitive with China. But before becoming overly excited about the prospects for an American industrial renaissance, it is worth looking more skeptically at the claim that globalization has run its course." Eduardo Porter in The New York Times.
THOMA: Can new economic thinking stop the next crisis? "It is certainly true that mainstream, modern macroeconomic models failed us prior to and during the Great Recession. The models failed to give any warning at all about the crisis that was about to hit — if anything those using modern macro models resisted the idea that a bubble was inflating in housing markets — and the models failed to give us the guidance we needed to implement effective monetary and fiscal policy responses to our economic problems. But amid the calls for change in macroeconomics there is far too much attention on the tools and techniques that macroeconomists use to answer questions, and far too little attention on what really matters, the questions that economists ask." Mark Thoma in The Fiscal Times.
SMITH: Credit gets you a TV, not more economic growth. "I’m not saying I think that’s right. Maybe credit really does drive growth. Maybe excess credit really does force a boom to turn into a bust. But no one has yet come up with a really compelling, testable explanation for how that happens. And no one — except maybe Dalio — has managed to use credit levels, credit-growth levels, acceleration of the ratio of credit-to-gross domestic product, or any such measure to predict when booms and busts will happen. So this thing that almost everyone believes about the economy is really just a conjecture. Our faith in it is probably based in part on shaky analogies and bad intuition. It might be true, but we shouldn’t regard it as obvious." Noah Smith in Bloomberg View.
JACOBS: HSAs to control costs. "Even after accounting for employer contributions to workers’ accounts, HSA-eligible plans feature much lower premiums than other forms of insurance. The average family HSA plan costs $960 less than the national average for employer plans, and $1,330 less than plans without consumer-driven features. These results are consistent with a 2012 study in the influential journal Health Affairs....The overall news on health spending remains mixed....However, the sustained popularity and effectiveness of health savings accounts since their introduction in 2004 could represent a critical piece of the puzzle in slowing health spending." Chris Jacobs in The Wall Street Journal.
TOOBIN: The disappearing 'undue burden' standard for abortion rights. "In other words, the members of the Fifth Circuit panel seem to believe that anything short of a nationwide ban on abortion does not amount to an undue burden on women’s rights. This is the argument that will soon be heading to the Supreme Court. Will the Court’s conservatives — who appear to have, with the addition of Anthony Kennedy, a one-vote majority on this issue — define the 'undue burden' test into meaninglessness? Or will they junk the test altogether and give states an even freer hand to restrict abortion rights? O’Connor has been gone from the Supreme Court for nearly a decade. The question, now, is whether her great achievement will soon be gone, too." Jeffrey Toobin in The New Yorker.
EDSALL: Does moving poor people help? "Twenty years ago, federal poverty experts, inspired by the forceful arguments in the landmark book 'The Truly Disadvantaged,' as well as by definitive research on the harmful effects of segregation, initiated a government experiment that moved 855 low-income predominantly African-American and Hispanic families out of public housing in poverty-stricken urban areas into less impoverished neighborhoods. The results of the project have provoked an intense debate." Thomas B. Edsall in The New York Times.
'Let It Go' interlude: Kristen Wiig and Ellen DeGeneres sing a rendition of the "Frozen" hit song.
2. The U.S. is about to use the military to help fight Ebola
Meet the new U.S. military force Obama is deploying. "The president compared the military operation to the Pentagon’s response following the catastrophic January 2010 earthquake in Haiti. That mission, known as Operation Unified Response, included 22,000 U.S. troops, including 7,000 based on land, and spanned more than five months, the Defense Department said. Williams will lead a force that will likely include everything from medical experts to truck drivers, as the military tackles the complicated logistics and engineering effort required for the mission. Trained as an artillery officer, he previously served as a deputy chief of staff for U.S. Army Europe....The effort could cost up to $750 million in the next six months." Dan Lamothe in The Washington Post.
Explainer: An overview of the ramped-up U.S. response to the Ebola crisis. Associated Press.
Will the effort succeed? Only one way to find out. "It''s the largest response to an international epidemic in U.S. history, Obama said....Will it be enough? 'There is no guarantee of success, but there would be a guarantee of failure if Obama hadn't announced this plan'" said Daniel Lucey, an adjunct professor of microbiology and immunology at Georgetown University Medical Center. 'This is urban Ebola,' said Lucey, a doctor who treated Ebola patients in Sierra Leone for three weeks in August. 'It's unprecedented, and it's uncontrolled.'" Gregory Korte in USA Today.
Explainer: This is what our troops face in Ebola-ravaged Liberia. Sarah Larimer in The Washington Post.
WHO says it needs even more money. The new magic number: $1B. "Dr. Nabarro said the funding the United Nations estimated was needed to tackle the crisis had jumped tenfold from $100 million a month ago. He justified the increase with the somber assessment that the outbreak would 'go on doubling in that sort of frequency if we don’t deal with it.' So far, he said, the appeal has raised about 30 percent of what is needed. Offers of assistance are coming in all the time, he said, but it will take 'something quite exceptional' to turn the situation around." Nick Cumming-Bruce in The New York Times.
Mark your calendars, public-health wonks: U.N. Security Council emergency meeting on Thursday. Edith M. Lederer in the Associated Press.
The U.S. may well spend up to $1B by itself. "The Obama administration notified lawmakers Tuesday night that the Pentagon would reprogram $500 million in unobligated funds to support an expanded effort to contain the Ebola outbreak in West Africa....Taken on top of last week’s Defense Department move to redirect $500 million to Iraq and the Ebola epidemic, the Pentagon may spend up to $1 billion on combating the deadly disease....While the White House is obligated to notify Congress about any reprogramming of federal funds, lawmakers do not need to sign off on the funds. The Defense Department is already moving ahead with its earlier reprogramming request." Juliet Eilperin in The Washington Post.
Why you still shouldn't worry about a big outbreak hitting the U.S. "While warning lawmakers of the severity of the epidemic in West Africa, representatives from U.S. health agencies said the American medical system is well-equipped to care for anyone with hemorrhagic fever....It is 'entirely conceivable' that an infected person could arrive in a major U.S. city and even 'infect a person or two,' said Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to a joint Senate hearing. But 'at that point, once it's recognized, the kinds of capabilities we have would make it almost impossible to have the kind of outbreak' seen in West Africa, he said.." Elise Viebeck in The Hill.
What Fauci also said: An Ebola vaccine was given to 10 volunteers, and there are ‘no red flags’ yet. "The first human trial of an Ebola vaccine has so far produced no adverse effects, according to...Anthony Fauci, director of the NIH's Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases....The Phase I trial is being conducted at an NIH facility in Bethesda, Md. and is focused on building scientific evidence that the vaccine is safe in humans. It was developed by British drug-maker GlaxoSmithKline in conjunction with the NIH." Abby Phillip in The Washington Post.
Background reading: Other vaccines are going to be tested, too. Jon Cohen in Science.
Other health care reads:
Rare respiratory illness has spread to a dozen states, CDC says. Mark Berman in The Washington Post.
GAO says HealthCare.gov must boost security. Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar in the Associated Press.
Health law tempers states' insurance mandates. Michelle Andrews in Kaiser Health News and NPR.
Big cities take aim at prescription painkillers. Matthew Perrone in the Associated Press.
BROZAK AND NORONHA: Why the Ebola outbreak won't end without military intervention. "Even if Ebola doesn’t mutate to become more infectious, we must accept that this virus is no longer an African problem—so far away geographically that it’s hard to imagine it touching our own lives. A single passenger on a ship or an airplane could spread the virus to another continent. The Ebola crisis is a natural disaster, like a tsunami or earthquake. But unlike natural disasters with limited global consequences, Ebola is perpetual with far-reaching implications. What we must realize is that Africa is our neighbor and Ebola’s global spread is no longer the stuff of fiction." Steve Brozak and Anne Marie Noronha in Bloomberg Businessweek.
GOTTLIEB AND TROY: Ebola's warning for an unprepared America. "While Ebola may still be contained, other potentially calamitous threats are out there. MERS, SARS, avian flu and other illnesses could re-emerge at any time. In the American Midwest, for instance, a novel virus classified as Enterovirus 68 has recently sent some 300 children to the hospital....We need to rethink our preparedness and adopt a more modern approach for dealing with these and other looming outbreaks. The failure thus far to confront and fight Ebola comes from shortfalls in three areas: gauging the true scope of the outbreak, deploying therapeutics to effectively combat the virus, and delivering medical equipment and personnel." Scott Gottlieb and Tevi Troy in The Wall Street Journal.
Animal buddies interlude: Friendship between an owl and a cat.
3. An update on the feds' response to the Ferguson police controversy
White House backs policy body cameras. "'We support the use of cameras and video technology by law enforcement officers, and the Department of Justice continues to research best practices for implementation,' the response read. The response also listed benefits that reports have found when law enforcement officers wore cameras. According to the report, it found police and civilians 'acted in a more positive manner' when a body-worn camera was present, the cameras presented 'new opportunities for effective training' and that the cameras can record 'useful evidence.' Questions such as what the most effective type of camera should be worn by police, whether cameras raise a privacy concern, whether they should be turned on and how long to store data collected were also raised." Kendall Breitman in Politico.
The Feds have launched a policing bias study, Holder says. "The Justice Department has enlisted a team of criminal justice researchers to study racial bias in law enforcement in five American cities and recommend strategies to address the problem nationally, Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday....The five cities have not yet been selected, but the researchers involved in the project say they're bringing a holistic approach that involves training police officers on issues of racial bias, data analysis and interviews with community members. They expect to review police behavior in the cities with the hope of building community trust and creating an evidence-based model that could be applied more broadly." Eric Tucker in the Associated Press.
Charts: How we feel about the police, by race. Hunter Schwarz in The Washington Post.
School police across the country receive excess military weapons and gear. "Law enforcement agencies affiliated with at least 120 schools, colleges and universities have received gear through the program, according to a Washington Post review of data from 33 states. The items received include at least five grenade launchers, hundreds of rifles and eight mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles, the hulking machines designed to withstand the kind of roadside attacks seen in Iraq and Afghanistan. In some cases, the equipment has been altered and its use limited to a narrow list of severe circumstances....But the practice of transferring weapons, particularly to schools, is drawing criticism for the tone it sets." Niraj Chokshi in The Washington Post.
Related: St. Louis County police chief defends police militarization. Aamer Madhani in USA Today.
Grand jury considering Ferguson shooting gets more time. "This extension, the second given to the St. Louis County grand jury, does not necessarily mean that the jurors will take until Jan. 7 to decide what to do. However, it provides a new deadline for when they must decide whether Darren Wilson could be charged, as well as what charges he could face, for shooting Brown on Aug. 9....He declined to comment on how much of the evidence has been presented to jurors. McCulloch has said that prosecutors will 'present absolutely everything' to the grand jury. The St. Louis County Police Department is investigating the shooting, while the FBI is conducting a separate investigation." Mark Berman and Kimberly Kindy in The Washington Post.
State-prison population growth offsets slight decline in federal prisoners. "The report by the Justice Department put the prison population last year at 1,574,741, an increase of about 4,300 over the previous year, but below its high of 1,615,487 in 2009. In what criminologists called an encouraging sign, the number of federal prisoners showed a modest drop for the first time in years. But the federal decline was more than offset by a jump in the number of inmates at state prisons. The report, some experts said, suggested that policy changes adopted by many states, such as giving second chances to probationers and helping nonviolent drug offenders avoid prison, were limited in their reach." Erik Eckholm in The Washington Post.
Explainer: Why the federal-prison population has fallen for the 5th straight year. Keith Humphreys in The Washington Post.
Other legal reads:
House passes "no welfare for weed" bill. Stephen Ohlemacher in the Associated Press.
Obama civil-rights nominee withdraws. Josh Gerstein in Politico.
Arizona same-sex marriage ban looks likely to fall. Lyle Denniston in SCOTUSblog.
Obama launches campaign against campus sexual assault. Nedra Pickler in the Associated Press.
Eating contest interlude: Tiny hamster versus Kobayashi. Yep, you read that right.
4. How policymakers are taking on the NFL
How the government helps the NFL maintain its power and profitability. "There’s one reason that keeps surfacing for why Goodell has such a strong hold on his job: he keeps the NFL wildly profitable. Goodell...has been able to ink extraordinarily lucrative broadcast and cable deals for the league’s powerful owners. But it’s not all Goodell’s work, according to sports economists. The league also benefits from a litany of benefits from federal and state governments — many of which were conceived decades ago when the NFL was still a fledgling organization and Americans were just tuning in to watch games on television." Cecilia Kang in The Washington Post.
These bills to strip the tax exemption won't pass, but Congress is putting them forth anyway. "Amid uproar over the N.F.L.’s handling of domestic abuse cases involving some of its players, Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, has introduced a bill that would disallow major professional sports leagues, most notably the N.F.L., from claiming status as tax-exempt nonprofits. The bill is aimed at raising $100 million over 10 years...which would be used to pay for state domestic abuse programs across the country. It is unlikely to gain widespread support....Separately Tuesday, Senator Maria Cantwell, Democrat of Washington, introduced a bill to strip the N.F.L. of its tax-exempt status. She was motivated by the Washington Redskins’ failure to change their name." Marc Tracy in The New York Times.
The NFL's steps to tamp down Hill criticism amid the domestic-violence scandal. "The league soon will begin announcing the hiring of outside advisers and counselors on domestic violence, similar to the talent surge on player health-and-safety issues, including concussions. The NFL also plans to beef up its in-house staff for compliance and training, and will add domestic-violence awareness to its education programs at the high school and college levels." Mike Allen in Politico.
Primary source: Why I'm going to work for the NFL. Cynthia C. Hogan in Politico Magazine.
Congress may probe NFL handling of Ray Rice debacle. "Congress could convene official hearings over the NFL's botched handling of the Ray Rice debacle, a prominent New York Democrat said Sunday. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said congressional hearings could be the next step in finding out how the NFL investigated and responded to shocking video footage that showed the former Baltimore Ravens running back knocking out his then-fiancée in a hotel elevator." Adam Edelman in New York Daily News.
The problem with the NFL's new drug-testing policy. "After years of negotiations, the NFL is nearing an agreement with the player's union to raise the threshold of marijuana needed in a player's urine to constitute a positive test....The players agree to new testing for human growth hormone, a performance enhancing drug. But here's the thing: even that new marijuana threshold is still much lower than those used in other sports. And more importantly, the whole policy is positively draconian given the chronic pain endured by most players and the fact that, by most measures, medicinal use of marijuana to relieve pain is far less harmful than the prescription painkillers they currently depend on." Joseph Stromberg in Vox.
Science interlude: Why you can't put metal in the microwave.
5. How regulators dropped the ball on G.M.'s recall issues
U.S. auto regulators ignored early information, congressional report says. "The report details how investigators from the agency repeatedly discounted information that did not match their assumptions....As a result, many of G.M.’s small cars, which had defective ignition switches that were prone to turn off and disable air bags, continued to crash, sometimes with fatal results. Making matters worse, some agency officials did not seem to understand the air bag technology at the heart of the case: At one point, the chief of the agency’s Defects Assessment Division wrote that he did not believe G.M.’s air bags were supposed to deploy when a driver was not wearing a seatbelt" Aaron M. Kessler in The New York Times.
Long read: NHTSA slow to respond to deadly vehicle defects. "It frequently has been slow to identify problems, tentative to act and reluctant to employ its full legal powers against companies. The Times analyzed agency correspondence, regulatory documents and public databases and interviewed congressional and executive branch investigators, former agency employees and auto safety experts. It found that in many of the major vehicle safety issues of recent years — including unintended acceleration in Toyotas, fires in Jeep fuel tanks and air bag ruptures in Hondas, as well as the G.M. ignition defect — the agency did not take a leading role until well after the problems had reached a crisis level, safety advocates had sounded alarms and motorists were injured or died." Hilary Stout, Danielle Ivory and Rebecca R. Ruiz in The New York Times.
It bears worth mentioning... NHTSA doesn't have a permanent director right now. Associated Press.
NHTSA: We blame GM. Marilyn W. Thompson and Paul Lienert in Reuters.
Fuel-pump recall by GM illustrates patchwork approach to safety. "For roughly three decades, regional recalls have frustrated automobile owners who have found it difficult to navigate the patchwork approach to fixing safety problems. The recalls have also been a focus of consumer advocacy groups, which complain that they save automakers millions of dollars while running the risk that, in a mobile society, some dangerous vehicles will not be fixed. Advocacy groups have tried unsuccessfully to eliminate regional recalls." Christopher Jensen in The New York Times.
Background reading: Documents show GM kept silent on fatal crashes. Rebecca R. Ruiz and Danielle Ivory in The New York Times.
Other transportation reads:
Germany lifts its Uber ban — for now. Joshua Brustein in Bloomberg Businessweek.
Animal talent interlude: Archerfish spits with great aim.
What HUD Secretary Julian Castro says needs to be done to boost homeownership, and cut down on rental costs. Dina ElBoghdady.
We’re actually doing better fighting poverty than the poverty rate shows. Emily Badger.
Mapping the future of sea-level rise on the Potomac, the Chesapeake and the Atlantic. Lori Montgomery.
Uh-oh, the credit rating agencies are up to their old tricks again. Matt O'Brien.
Surge, everyone’s favorite ’90s soda, is back, and it’s already selling like crazy. Roberto A. Ferdman.
The U.S. imprisonment rate has fallen for the fifth straight year. Here’s why. Keith Humphreys.
The young and the old got a raise last year, but everyone else is stuck. Jonnelle Marte.
One in every nine people in the world is still chronically hungry. Roberto A. Ferdman.
Avon splits with trade group, citing risk of pyramid schemes. Max Ehrenfreund.
Teen drug and alcohol use continues to fall, new federal data show. Christopher Ingraham.
Child poverty is finally declining for the first time since 2000. Emily Badger.
What the new uninsured numbers don’t tell us about Obamacare. Jason Millman.
The decline of the small American family farm in one chart. Roberto A. Ferdman.
U.N. chief says climate summit will lay groundwork for carbon price. Zack Colman in the Washington Examiner.
Feds release details on Shell's Arctic drilling ambitions. Jennifer A. Dlouhy in the Houston Chronicle.
Syria measure likely to pass despite doubts in both parties. Daniel Newhauser, Rachel Roubein and Billy House in National Journal.
Jindal, potential 2016 GOP candidate, lays out energy platform. Gabriel Debenedetti and Valerie Volcovici in Reuters.
NASA picks Boeing, SpaceX to ferry astronauts. Marcia Dunn in the Associated Press.
Pregnancy a disability? HUD finds mortgage lenders deny loans to new, expectant moms. Emily Wax-Thibodeaux in The Washington Post.
U.S. can't declare victory in border crisis just yet. Erin Kelly in Gannett.
For-profit Corinthian Colleges sued for predatory lending. Josh Boak in the Associated Press.
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