Wonkbook’s Chart of the Day: America's federal prison population dropped for the first time in 30 years. It may have been inevitable, these charts show.
Wonkbook's Top 5 Stories: (1) Climate summit wrap-up; (2) making sense of the Ebola projections; (3) more reasons Obamacare is here to stay; and (4) Obama's limited inversion intervention's unintended consequences.
1. Top story: A climate summit that produced a lot of things — except concrete emissions cuts
The most interesting part of President Obama's U.N. speech: What he didn't say. "Obama didn’t promise $1 billion to help poor countries adapt to the dire effects of climate change, like France did. And he didn’t offer any hints about how sharply greenhouse gas emissions would be cut in the years after 2020, like the European Union and several other countries did....While many environmentalists praised Obama’s speech, others said they’re still waiting for more aggressive steps, like a concerted effort to wean the country off fossil fuels." Andrew Restuccia in Politico.
Primary source: The full text of the executive order.
Obama's message for 2015: No nation, from China to developing ones, has a 'free pass.' "Obama said the United States is doing its part and that it will meet its goal to cut carbon pollution 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020....But Obama's strongest comments came as he sought to unify the international conclave behind actions to reduce global warming....He said the U.S. and China as the largest polluters have a responsibility to lead. But, Obama added, 'No nation can meet this global threat alone.'...Obama's goals at the summit: to convince other nations that the U.S. is doing its part to curb greenhouse gases, and make the case that other major polluters should step up, too." Josh Lederman in the Associated Press.
The strongest signal yet China will act... "President Obama spoke bluntly of American responsibility for global warming and pledged that ambitious steps would be unveiled over the next year to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Obama was followed by Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, who said that China would put forth a plan in early 2015 to reach a peak in its greenhouse gases 'as soon as possible' and scale back emissions thereafter. The announcements by leaders of the two top emitters of greenhouse gases fed a cautious optimism among many observers that after decades of limited action, the international community is moving to take meaningful steps to address climate change." Neela Banerjee and Kathleen Hennessey in the Los Angeles Times.
...but can the world count on China? "While it’s far from clear...there are at least two good reasons to hope it will. The first is that, to be frank, oppressive, centrally managed states in which leaders have little concern for public perception and where the public has little recourse to challenge policy can change the way they do business much more quickly than a liberal democracy can. The second is that China has a compelling reason to take decisive action: Its current policies are killing its citizens and making its cities unlivable, even if the government won’t publicly acknowledge it. The decision China makes, however, will have effects far beyond its own cities and its own people." Rob Garver in The Fiscal Times.
Bottom line, though: Countries everywhere are missing their emissions targets. "Worldwide greenhouse gas emissions are still rising, driven by a hunger for energy as economies grow. Even many industrialized countries are going to blow through the 2020 emissions targets they agreed to meet at earlier climate summits. The United States can claim some success....Even so, these measures are still not adequate in the view of most climate scientists and energy experts. And U.S. emissions actually rose a bit in 2013." Steven Mufson in The Washington Post.
ICYMI: China, U.S. and India are pushing up global carbon-dioxide emissions. Seth Borenstein in the Associated Press.
Interactive: How various countries contribute to climate change. The Guardian.
Obama's biggest climate victory may have nothing to do with CO2. "Back in June, Obama and Xi agreed to press the case for adding another class of chemicals to the treaty. They're coolants called hydrofluorocarbons, and you might find them in your car's air conditioner. Since there are perfectly good alternatives in many applications, getting rid of hydrofluorocarbons is diplomatically feasible. If the treaty is revised to include them, the earth in 2100 could be cooler by 1 degree Fahrenheit than it would be otherwise....The hope is that by focusing on these other gases, humans can at least put a check on rising temperatures in the near term. One degree Fahrenheit is not nearly enough to make the world safe from climate change, but at least it is something." Max Ehrenfreund in The Washington Post.
One thing missing from this whole discussion: The Clean Air Act. "There was little discussion of one increasingly obvious observation: The planet might be in better shape today if more countries had followed the lead of the Richard Nixon administration when it and Congress enacted the pioneering Clean Air Act in 1970. World experts credit the act, which was revised in 1977 and 1990, with giving the United States an early lead in fighting air pollution. That’s reflected in health and air pollution measurements in the second decade of the 21st century." John Zarocostas in McClatchy Newspapers.
World leaders may get inspiration from looking at their cities. "Cities could reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that most climate scientists say drive global warming 24 percent by 2030 and 47 percent by 2050, according to a report from U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change....Cities could reduce global emissions 3.7 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2030 and up to 8 gigatons by 2050. For contrast, the International Energy Agency predicts emissions would hit 55 gigatons in 2050, up from 31 gigatons in 2010, if nothing is done to address them." Zack Colman in the Washington Examiner.
How compact cities help curb climate change. Emily Badger in The Washington Post.
And how food waste alters our carbon footprint. Roberto A. Ferdman in The Washington Post.
And, as we noted yesterday, from businesses. "Forty companies, among them Kellogg, L’Oréal and Nestlé, signed a declaration on Tuesday pledging to help cut tropical deforestation in half by 2020 and stop it entirely by 2030. They included several of the largest companies handling palm oil, the production of which has resulted in rampant destruction of old-growth forests....Companies are playing a larger role than at any such gathering in the past — and issuing a blizzard of promises. Several environmental groups said they were optimistic that at least some of these would be kept, but they warned that corporate action was not enough, and that climate change could not be solved without stronger steps by governments." Justin Gillis in The New York Times.
Explainer: Many businesses are making carbon-neutral promises. What does that actually mean? Chris Clarke in KCET.
Oil companies quietly prepare for a future of carbon pricing. "for the first time, the oil majors appeared to be lifting the lid on the accounting sleights of hand that have kept the full costs of oil hidden from public view....None of this suggests that the world's petroleum giants are contemplating a move away from oil. It does, however, signal the emergence of a new era in which oil companies' financial liability for climate change is coming to be more clearly understood." Mark Schapiro and Jason Scorse in Yale Environment 360.
U.S. joins other nations, groups and firms in deforestation accord. "The 'New York Declaration on Forests'...would reduce between 4.5 billion and 8.8 billion tons of greenhouse gases annually, according to the United Nations Development Program. The effort would be equal to 'removing from the road every car in the world, or not burning a trillion pounds of coal, or turning off every smokestack and tailpipe' in the U.S., the UNDP said. Crafted as a marquee initiative...the new deforestation initiative goes further than previous efforts, in the scope of participation and targets....Yet from the outset, problems in the initiative have emerged. China and India, two of the three largest carbon polluters in the world, have not signed on" Neela Banerjee in the Los Angeles Times.
Explainer: And here's a bird's-eye overview of what various international actors pledged at the summit. Clare Foran in National Journal.
Another example of how climate change's impact will be unequal. "Across the globe, about one person in 40 lives in a place likely to be exposed to such flooding by the end of the century, absent significant changes. These figures are the result of a new analysis of sea levels and flood risk around the world, conducted by Climate Central....The analysis offers more evidence that the countries emitting the most carbon aren’t necessarily the ones that will bear the brunt of climate change. The United States — one of the world’s largest carbon emitters per capita and historically the overall largest emitter — ranks 34th on the list of risk of flood exposure, between India and Madagascar." Gregor Aisch, David Leonhardt and Kevin Quealy in The New York Times.
Other environmental/energy reads:
Long read: Look out below — danger lurks underground from aging gas pipes. John Kelly in USA Today.
PORTER: Hidden benefits of mitigating climate change. "This time, though, advocates come armed with a trump card: All things considered, the cost of curbing carbon emissions may be considerably cheaper than earlier estimates had suggested. For all the fears that climate change mitigation would put the brakes on growth, it might actually enhance it. Whether this can tip the balance toward the global grand bargain that has eluded world leaders so many times depends on a couple of things. The first is to what extent it is true. The second is whether this is, in fact, the issue that matters most to the people making the decisions." Eduardo Porter in The New York Times.
WILLIAMS AND MARTINS: What Rousseau can tell us about challenges facing the marchers. "Recent evidence suggests consequential change in public opinion is possible, for example, in the rapid evolution of views on same-sex marriage. Challenges to established economic interests meet greater resistance, however, and action on climate change threatens disruption to those with the most power to bend public opinion toward their own wills. For Rousseau, it is the sad fate of failing republics that justice is commonly 'bent to the interest of the most powerful.' As such, any democratic solution to the problems introduced by climate change requires a reinvigorated commitment to the egalitarian foundations of democracy itself." David Lay Williams and Brad Mapes-Martins in The Washington Post.
FLAVELLE: Your island sinking? Go to Canada. "There's no obligation under international law to provide asylum to those whose homes are rendered unlivable by rising sea levels, crop failure, severe storms or other consequences of climate change. The 1951 Geneva Convention recognizes as refugees only those who leave their home country out of fear of persecution; anyone who leaves for another reason is a migrant. Refugees are entitled to settlement in other countries; migrants aren’t. Climate change challenges the logic of that distinction, spurring calls to update the 1951 convention or create new agreements. Those efforts may eventually lead somewhere, but there's nothing stopping wealthy countries from acting on their own." Christopher Flavelle in Bloomberg View.
REVKIN: Humanity's long climate and energy march. "This will be a very long march. And that’s not just because fossil fuel interests are reluctant to let go of power. It’s because industrialized societies around the world remain pretty content with the comforts, convenience and low real-time costs that come with status-quo energy choices. The long-term costs from global warming have a hard time competing....And then there’s the reality that several billion people still lack access to any reasonable energy choices....Facing the intertwined challenges of expanding energy access while limiting global warming, what the world needs is an unlikely mix of urgency and patience....What that boils down to is engagement on shifting toward durable energy norms and the discipline to keep at it." Andrew C. Revkin in The New York Times.
SALAM: How Republicans can combat crony capitalism through corporate tax reform. "If Lee and Rubio follow through on all of these steps, they will spark a revolution in the way business is done in America. As important as the fight over the Ex-Im Bank might be, the corporate tax code is where the battle over crony capitalism will be won or lost. The first two steps, 100-percent expensing and single-layer taxation, will make the U.S. a far more attractive destination for capital investment. But curbing the debt bias is potentially an even bigger deal." Reihan Salam in National Review.
ORSZAG: Inequality starts with your employer. "For decades, economists have observed a growing disparity in earnings in the U.S. and questioned whether it stemmed from increasingly unequal pay within companies or from more unequal earnings from company to company. Many people have assumed that most of the change has been happening within companies, as certain employees get disproportionately bigger paychecks. But a new study of U.S. incomes since the 1970s shows that most of the rise in inequality has been due to a greater spread in average earnings across companies....This growing gap may also help explain a decline in labor market fluidity in recent years." Peter R. Orszag in Bloomberg View.
MIRHAYDARI: Fed rate hikes could swell the debt. "In the latest economic projections by individual Fed policymakers, the median expectation for short-term interest rates at the end of 2017 is 3.75 percent. Compare that to the CBO's estimate from August of 2.5 percent. For 2016, the Fed is at nearly 3 percent while the CBO is at 1.5 percent. For 2015, the Fed is just under 1.5 percent while the CBO is at 0.6 percent. If CBO based its estimates on interest rate projections that prove to be too low, the effect on the budget outlook could be severe. More interest means more debt, which means more interest." Anthony Mirhaydari in The Fiscal Times.
PONNURU: Obama is inverted on inversions. "The way to cut this political knot, I think, starts with moving to territorial taxation, as the Republicans urge. But the second step shouldn't be to lower the tax rate on corporate income. Instead, it should be to lower taxes on business investment. Companies — whether they pay the corporate or individual rate — should be allowed to deduct the full cost of their investments in the year they make them, instead of stretching out those deductions for years into the future. To make up lost revenue, tax breaks for corporate debt should be scaled back." Ramesh Ponnuru in Bloomberg View.
KOCHER AND MOSTASHARI: A health-care success story. "Today, more than 5.3 million Medicare beneficiaries nationwide are served by more than 360 A.C.O.s, which have helped hold spending hundreds of millions of dollars below Medicare targets for this period. Many primary care physicians — who are responsible for directing the vast majority of health care costs — are forming A.C.O.s, and more private health plans are setting up these reimbursement structures as well. A continued slowing of health care cost growth will owe a good deal to this revolution in how we pay for medical care." Bob Kocher and Farzad Mostashari in The New York Times.
GALSTON: A recovery that left out almost everybody. "The American economy hasn't worked for average families since the end of the Clinton administration. A recovery that leaves them out is no recovery at all, and they know it. This simple fact goes a long way toward explaining the tone of our current politics and the temper of our society. It will not change for the better unless we can recreate an economy in which work is rewarded and family incomes rise. That is the great task of the next decade — and must be the prime focus of the next presidential election." William A. Galston in The Wall Street Journal.
Astronomy interlude: What's the difference between coronal-mass ejections (CMEs) and solar flares?
2. Making sense of all the dire Ebola projections
As we noted before, new projection suggests 20,000 infections by November. "Based on data collected during the last nine months, a panel of more than 60 WHO experts estimated that more than 20,000 people would be infected with Ebola by Nov. 2. The researchers also found that the disease had been fatal in 71% of confirmed cases....The suggestion that Ebola might never leave humans took some researchers by surprise....If a virus is slow to mutate — as Ebola appears to be — the pathogen gradually disappears from humans, for a couple of reasons." Monte Morin in the Los Angeles Times.
And a worst-case projection says 1.4 million infections in West Africa by January. "The virus could potentially infect 1.4 million people in Liberia and Sierra Leone by the end of January, according to a statistical forecast by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published Tuesday. That number came just hours after a report in the New England Journal of Medicine warned that the epidemic might never be fully controlled and that the virus could become endemic....These dire scenarios from highly respected medical sources were framed, however, by optimism from U.S. officials that an accelerated response can and will contain the outbreak in the weeks and months ahead." Lena H. Sun, Brady Dennis and Joel Achenbach in The Washington Post.
ICYMI: 550,000 cases by January in another CDC projection. Caroline Chen, Brendan Greeley and Kelly Gilblom in Bloomberg.
Which one's right? "So what about the 1.4 million cases by late January? Unlike the WHO's model, the CDC's model includes compensation for the fact that many cases probably haven't been reported. So the known cases right now — about 5,800 — is probably much lower than the actually number of people who have gotten Ebola since the epidemic began. When this so-called underreporting isn't included in the CDC's models, the agency predicts about 550,000 cases by late January. The CDC is modeling out that far into the future to show the enormous cost that comes with delaying aid to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, says the agency's director, Dr. Tom Frieden....But he doesn't think a doomsday scenario is likely." Michaeleen Doucleff in NPR.
Modeling is far from exact, and tougher than it may seem. "Right now, the goal is to use the models to understand how to get the rate of transmission to an average of less than one infected person per infectious person, Meltzer told me. This is what has worked in stifling previous infectious disease outbreaks....Even then, there are things that the model cannot account for....There is no way to model for human behavior....Even still...computational epidemiologists around the world are keenly aware that experimenting with computer models offers a forecast much faster than experimenting on the ground. And in the event that there is a sudden shift in public sentiment, in public trust and willingness to seek treatment, Meltzer’s model will already have told the CDC how to prepare for it." Danielle Elliot in The Atlantic.
Yet again: Is Ebola coming to America? Not in any major way. "Scott Gottlieb, who served as a top FDA official under President George W. Bush, believes that at least several cases of Ebola will come to America....But there are signs of hope, even in West Africa. As David Kroll...reported yesterday, nearby Nigeria has been able to remain free from Ebola. At Vox, Brad Plumer has reviewed the evidence of Ebola going airborne, and finds that the odds are 'very unlikely.' Government officials also continue to stress that there’s little chance of a mass Ebola outbreak in the United States....And even if a few Ebola patients arrive in the U.S., the nation’s hospitals would be well-equipped to handle them." Dan Diamond in Forbes.
Will the U.S. be ready if the time comes? "Given all the travel between that continent and the United States, Ebola’s arrival becomes increasingly likely....How and where a U.S. case first presents itself could make a big difference. If someone arrives in an emergency room with symptoms after recent travel to West Africa, the staff should know what to do immediately. Monroe, an expert in emerging diseases, said all hospitals have the basic resources and training to respond. Plus, since Aug. 1, CDC has offered nearly two dozen fact sheets, recommendations and other details to ensure that — as well as to reassure doctors and nurses that they are indeed prepared." Joanne Kenen and Susan Levine in Politico.
Explainer: Tekmira tempers FDA approval of another Ebola experimental drug. Here's why. David Kroll in Forbes.
Amid the dire projections, U.N. takes unprecedented move on Ebola. "The United Nations Security Council has one job, and that's to maintain international peace and security. But for only the second time in its 68-year history, the council has weighed in on a public health crisis: the Ebola outbreak ravaging West African nations. Ebola entered the Security Council's domain last week, when the group passed a unanimous resolution declaring the outbreak 'a threat to international peace and security' during an emergency meeting called by U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power, the first to be convened in response to a public health crisis....The epidemic will be a top priority at this week's U.N. General Assembly in New York." Marina Koren in National Journal.
Auto-tune interlude: Inspirational post-game comments get the Songify the News treatment.
3. More signs Obamacare is here to stay
Insurers are increasingly buying into it. "Participation in the 36 states using the federal enrollment Web site, HealthCare.gov, is expected to increase from a combined 191 insurers in the 2014 enrollment period to 248 in 2015, according a HHS report issued Tuesday. Eight states running their own marketplaces will see insurer participation increase from 61 last year to 67 in 2015....Consumers in some states with especially limited choices in 2014 will see increased competition during the next enrollment period, according to the HHS report....However, HHS still hasn’t finalized contracts with insurers to sell in the insurance marketplaces, meaning some could still pull out." Jason Millman in The Washington Post.
Add that in with other news on Obamacare meeting broad goals. "Last week, Medicare Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said 7.3 million of the 8.1 million who signed up for coverage this year actually paid their premiums. Yesterday, HHS reported that 8 million people enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP coverage since open enrollment began in October 2013. In her speech at Brookings, Burwell said the number of uninsured adults has fallen by 26 percent, or 10.3 million people from 2013." Tony Pugh in McClatchy Newspapers.
Obamacare decision puts Boehner lawsuit on notice. "On Monday, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals threw out a suit filed by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons in 2011, saying the plaintiffs did not have standing to sue....The suit is similar to that authorized by House Republicans in July to sue the president over the same delay. Of course, the GOP’s argument differs from the doctors’. They say Obama’s use of executive authority to bypass Congress 'threatens the separation of powers.' Still,legal experts also have doubts about that case’s standing." Brianna Ehley in The Fiscal Times.
One lingering concern: Is the federal exchange website secure? New simulated hacking offers mixed picture. "The report amounts to a mixed review for the federal website that serves as the portal to taxpayer-subsidized health plans for millions of Americans. Open enrollment season starts Nov. 15. So-called 'white hat' or ethical hackers from the inspector general's office found a weakness, but when they attempted to exploit it like a malicious hacker would, they were blocked by the system's defenses. HealthCare.gov had some advance warning of the hacking attempt — a date range, but not specific times. HHS spokesman Kevin Griffis said the agency did not take additional precautions during that period." Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar in the Associated Press.
Other recent reports give GOP new Obamacare opening. "One report by the independent Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that some insurers were ignoring federal rules that prevented women from paying for abortions through their subsidized plans — one of the most divisive pieces of the law. A second GAO report found security weaknesses in HealthCare.gov, the website for the federal exchange. GOP lawmakers and activists say the reports lend legitimacy to their opposition of the law, even if they are no longer talking about a repeal." Sarah Ferris in The Hill.
Related: Where did Obamacare's $3.7B go? Sarah Ferris in The Hill.
Background reading: What would a GOP Senate mean for Obamacare? Jennifer Haberkorn in Politico.
Other health care reads:
Companies' health costs are decreasing at lower clip. Question is, will that continue? J.D. Harrison in The Washington Post.
The weird bipartisan consensus on birth control. Sara Libby in The Atlantic.
Abortion's racial gap. Zoe Dutton in The Atlantic.
Even when abortion is illegal the market may sell abortion pills. Jason Beaubien in NPR.
They took on Medicare fraud — and won. Eric Pianin in The Fiscal Times.
Anti-addiction groups want new FDA chief. Matthew Perrone in the Associated Press.
Police crisis system taxes psychiatric resources. Nick Penzenstadler in USA Today.
Golf interlude: Watch as this baby bear interrupts a golf game.
4. Some unforeseen consequences of the limited action on inversions
In going modest, Team Obama wanted to avoid legal thin ice. "Steering clear of some of the most aggressive possibilities, the Obama administration stuck to areas where it has the clearest legal authority and can limit the effects to a discrete set of companies. In announcing rules yesterday intended to make it harder for companies to reduce taxes by moving their address outside the U.S., Treasury largely relied on sections of the tax code that allow it to write rules without congressional action. Treasury didn’t address — at least not yet — moves known as earnings stripping that many companies use to erode the U.S. tax base after completing an offshore deal." Richard Rubin in Bloomberg.
Obama's move may not stop inversions in the long-term. "The two most important [benefits] are the ability of inverters to access future non-US earnings — as opposed to their existing cash piles — free of US tax, and their ability to take generous tax deductions on loans between different parts of their business....Several experts who work on structuring such deals said the overall effect of the Treasury’s move would be to create some short-term uncertainty and alter deals’ terms and pricing, as their potential profitability would be trimmed. But once the Treasury-stoked anti-inversion publicity died down, they did not expect many companies contemplating deals to be deterred." Barney Jopson, Andrew Ward and Ed Hammond in The Financial Times.
And here come some more inversions. "Pfizer Inc. has approached Actavis Plc to express its interest in an acquisition that could allow the U.S. drugmaker to move overseas and reduce taxes, in a sign the Obama administration’s efforts to curtail such deals could fall short....Another high profile inversion deal, Burger King Worldwide Inc.’s purchase of Tim Hortons Inc., will proceed, the Canadian company said after the rule changes were revealed." Manuel Baigorri, David Welch and Richard Rubin in Bloomberg.
The inversions move — limited in punch as it may be — could delay tax reform. "The Treasury Department's rule tweaks to discourage tax-avoidance deals also united everyone on one point: The country needs comprehensive tax-reform legislation....So Congress will jump right on it. Kidding! This fall, lawmakers are focused on their Nov. 4 re-election campaigns. And next year, they may lose the political will to address tax reform precisely because unpopular corporate-inversion deals likely will decline in the wake of the Treasury's technical fixes to existing tax law." Marilyn Geewax in NPR.
If everyone is for corporate-tax overhaul, why not just do it? "In late 2012, he got a deal with Congress that raised the top tax rate for households with taxable income above $450,000, increasing it from 35 percent to 39.6 percent. Corporate tax restructuring might undo it....It’s hard to do a corporate overhaul without opening up the individual tax code, something Obama is loath to do. A successor, Republican or Democrat, might be more agreeable to this. Another option, albeit unlikely, said Brill, is Congress agreeing on a definition that differentiates the business earnings of, say, doctors, lawyers, hedge fund managers and other high-income individuals from those of more conventional small businesses that are claimed by taxpayers filing their personal taxes." Kevin G. Hall in McClatchy Newspapers.
Other economic/financial reads:
How a lopsided recession fueled the dollar-store wars. William Alden in The New York Times.
Sturdy U.S. factory, services data bolster growth picture. Lucia Mutikani in Reuters.
Limited English limits job prospects. Miriam Jordan in The Wall Street Journal.
Fraudulent transactions emerge in wake of Home Depot breach. Robin Sidel in The Wall Street Journal.
Fed officials take aim at regulations for small banks. Michael Flaherty in Reuters.
Corgi interlude: When a Corgi and a lamb race, everybody wins.
Coke and Pepsi concede that maybe soda is bad for you. Roberto A. Ferdman.
More insurers line up to sell Obamacare plans in 2015, HHS says. Jason Millman.
Survey: Support for legal weed drops 7 points in the past year. Christopher Ingraham.
Americans throw out more food than plastic, paper, metal, and glass. Roberto A. Ferdman.
What your education says about your health. Jason Millman.
In a post-Ferguson world, Americans increasingly doubt the notion of colorblind justice. Christopher Ingraham.
Obama’s biggest climate change victory might have nothing to do with carbon dioxide. Max Ehrenfreund.
All over the planet, countries are completely missing their emissions targets. Steven Mufson.
Records offer rare glimpse into Boston Marathon inquiry. Richard A. Serrao in the Los Angeles Times.
Federal regulators force shutdown of fake Bitcoin mining operation. Dustin Volz in National Journal.
Female vets feel left behind. Ben Kesling in The Wall Street Journal.
Tech's surveillance hopes have stopped in their tracks. Tony Romm in Politico.
Voting rights battle could aid minority turnout. Deborah Barfield Berry in Gannett.
Major companies increasingly choose to disclose their political spending, study says. Tom Hamburger in The Washington Post.
Marijuana advocates set their sights on 2016. Niraj Chokshi in The Washington Post.
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Wonkbook is produced with help from Michelle Williams and Ryan McCarthy.