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.
Wonkbook’s Number of the Day: 2,424. That's the number of unaccompanied minors who were apprehended crossing the Southwest border in September, continuing the decline since June.
Wonkbook’s Chart of the Day: Actually, a bunch of charts from the White House's new report on millennials.
Wonkbook's Top 5 Stories: (1) The courts' surprising midterm-campaign impact; (2) the U.S. has an Ebola panic problem; (3) lifestyles of today's millennials; (4) bank cyberattack response update; and (5) the embattled Secret Service.
1. Top story: The consequences of the big new SCOTUS decisions
Supreme Court makes its imprint without formally deciding cases. "Without issuing a single ruling, the Supreme Court this week paved the way for gay marriage in several U.S. states and let tough new voting laws go ahead in two other states, showing how the court can wield power even when not formally deciding cases. The trend of the court resolving hot-button issues without issuing lengthy written rulings will persist in coming days as the court has to respond to emergency requests over a voter ID law in Wisconsin and a strict new abortion law in Texas. Both are the subjects of emergency stay requests. The court is also considering whether to block an appeals court ruling that struck down a gay marriage ban in Idaho." Lawrence Hurley in Reuters.
On cue, SCOTUS continued that trend, blocking (but not ruling on) Wisconsin's voter ID law. "The nine-justice court, with three conservative members dissenting, granted a last-minute request by civil rights groups seeking to block an appeals court ruling that the law could be implemented. The ruling comes on the same day a federal judge struck down a Texas law requiring voters to show identification at polls, saying it placed an unconstitutional burden on voters and discriminated against minorities. The Supreme Court's action means the Wisconsin law, which requires voters to present photo identification when they cast ballots, will not be in effect in the lead-up to the November elections." Lawrence Hurley in Reuters.
A district judge went further, striking Texas' strict voter ID measure. "U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos in Corpus Christi, a 2011 appointee of Democratic President Barack Obama, threw out the measure, agreeing with the Justice Department and minority-rights activists that evidence of in-person fraud was negligible and that the law was imposed with an 'unconstitutional discriminatory purpose.'....The Texas ruling could have consequences for the 2016 presidential campaign, as Governor Rick Perry is a potential candidate for the Republican nomination. The Texas attorney general said yesterday in an e-mailed statement that the state would immediately appeal the ruling." Laurel Brubaker Calkins and Edvard Pettersson in Bloomberg.
Previously, SCOTUS allowed Ohio's voting law to go forward. Robert Barnes in The Washington Post.
And North Carolina's. Robert Barnes in The Washington Post.
GAO: Voter ID laws hurt turnout in Kansas, Tennessee in 2012. "Looking at three sets of data...the GAO compared Kansas and Tennessee with Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware and Maine....In short: The GAO found that turnout was at least 1.9 percentage points lower in 2012 in Kansas vs. 2008, and 2.2 percentage points lower in Tennessee thanks to their newly implemented voter ID laws....Turnout dropped 5.5 percentage points overall in Kansas and 4.5 percent in Tennessee. With registered voter pools of about 1.77 million and 4 million, respectively, that means that 34,000 Kansans and 88,000 Tennesseans likely would have voted if the new laws weren't in place." Philip Bump in The Washington Post.
Early voting isn't simply about convenience. "Roscigno's point, detailed in a report submitted on behalf of civil rights groups in the Ohio lawsuit, is that access to voting is also about access to transportation, housing, good jobs, stable incomes and education. And to the extent that systemic barriers exist to any of these for minorities and the poor, they have to work that much harder to cast a ballot. Early voting, in short, isn't merely a matter of convenience. It's a recognition of the fact that many forms of historic discrimination and economic inequality have also, as a downstream consequence, made it harder for minorities to vote." Emily Badger in The Washington Post.
Court's same-sex marriage order reverberates... "A Supreme Court order legalizing same-sex marriage in five states reverberated further on Thursday, with the attorney general of West Virginia conceding that its ban on same-sex marriage was no longer defensible but South Carolina officials vowing to keep fighting....New developments have appeared almost hourly as gay-rights advocates press for action in nine other states: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming. These states are bound by law to accept the rulings of their federal circuit courts once the Supreme Court has allowed them to stand. But as the contrasting responses by West Virginia and South Carolina show, their paths to same-sex marriage can vary markedly." Erik Eckholm in The New York Times.
...including in campaigns. "Cruz...vowed...that he would introduce a constitutional amendment that would bar the federal government from interfering with state marriage laws. Proposals for constitutional amendments rarely go anywhere, but Cruz's statement presents a more immediate problem for the GOP....A statement that condemns gay marriage would play well with ardent conservatives but alienate moderates who are key to Republican hopes of winning a Senate majority this fall. Perhaps not surprisingly, the party's candidates in a handful of battleground states, including Kansas and North Carolina, were slow to react to the court's ruling. Conservative activists were not." Jonathan Allen and Annie Linsky in Bloomberg.
How the FEC just gave party conventions a big new funding source. "The Federal Election Commission said Thursday that contributions to presidential convention committees will not count against the annual limit on donations to national parties — allowing wealthy donors to double their support for party operations. The FEC’s move came in response to a rare joint request by the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee...after a federal law eliminated public funding for the conventions....But critics of the decision said the FEC created an end-run around federal contribution limits....A single donor could give nearly $130,000 to support a party and its convention in a two-year election cycle." Matea Gold in The Washington Post.
KRUGMAN: Secret deficit lovers. "Yes, current projections still show a rising ratio of debt to G.D.P. starting some years from now, and uncomfortable levels of debt a generation from now. But given all the clear and present dangers we face, it’s hard to see why dealing with that distant and uncertain prospect should be any kind of policy priority. So let’s say goodbye to fiscal hysteria. I know that the deficit scolds are having a hard time letting go; they’re still trying to bring back the days when Bowles and Simpson bestrode the Beltway like colossi. But those days aren’t coming back, and we should be glad." Paul Krugman in The New York Times.
BROOKS: Money matters less. "I happened to be in the U.S. Capitol when the Citizens United decision came down four years ago. Democratic lawmakers greeted the decision with a mutually reinforcing mixture of fury and fear. The decision, everyone agreed, would unleash a tsunami of corporate and plutocratic money into politics, giving Republicans a huge spending advantage....Things haven’t worked out as expected....The upshot is that we should all relax about campaign spending. We should worry more about America’s rich. Some people who are really smart at making money are apparently really stupid at spending it. This year, the big spender is a hedge fund manager named Tom Steyer." David Brooks in The New York Times.
BALL: We're going to blow past 2 degrees. "The conclusion that global temperatures are on track to burst through the two-degrees ceiling isn’t much in dispute. What’s controversial is what the world should do about it. In recent days, influential voices have advocated scrapping the two-degrees threshold as a goal, saying that to continue to structure climate policy around an all-but-dashed hope of averting that limit is both politically dishonest and environmentally counterproductive. This call to nix the two-degrees metric has spurred a backlash from the climate-science establishment, and, more importantly, it raises big financial questions for companies and consumers worldwide. If the two-degrees goal changes, then so might the many climate policies framed around it....At stake in this fight over a couple of degrees is potentially billions of dollars." Jeffrey Ball in The New Republic.
RAMPELL: A business-nonprofit partnership remedy for high turnover. "It’s undeniably helpful in the short run for companies to reduce the barriers between struggling families and the support services they’re legally entitled to. But in the long run, welfare for employed workers is also a form of welfare for their employers, since it enables firms to keep wages ultra-low. If The Source’s model involves privatizing government services, it also involves socializing worker compensation....But in the absence of political will to raise the minimum wage — which would avoid penalizing firms that want to raise pay above poverty levels — perhaps The Source’s strategy is the anti-poverty model that will ultimately win out." Catherine Rampell in The Washington Post.
KLEINBARD: Don't soak the rich. "The American tax system already is the most progressive in the developed world. And the scars left by the 2013 fight over the 'fiscal cliff' tax deal imply that trying to raise top marginal income tax rates to the levels suggested by some academics would be, well, a wholly academic exercise. That does not mean, however, that we are bereft of instruments to tackle income inequality. In fact, achieving equality through the tax structure is the wrong way to think about the issue. Reformers have blundered by confusing what seems fair — more progressive taxation — with what is actually important, and lacking: a progressive fiscal system. As other developed countries have figured out, reducing inequality is not about where the money comes from, but where the money goes, and how much of it is spent." Edward D. Kleinbard in The New York Times.
Animal buddies interlude: A French bulldog and a wild deer frolicking together.
2. How fear is hurting domestic Ebola response efforts
Stoking panic won't help fight Ebola. "The arrival of a nasty virus from Africa has revealed something else. Ambitious politicians are no longer merely attacking the other party, or the president. The starting point for Ebola alarmists is an assumption that behind policy disagreements, conspiracies lurk, with technocrats in on the plot. Dr Paul appears to believe that officials are knowingly lying when they downplay the risk of a pandemic. Mr Cruz breezily suggests that the FAA helped to bully Israel. Louisiana’s governor complains that the government, in arguing that flight bans do more harm than good, wants Americans to heed what he sniffily calls 'the experts'. Some leaders are more responsible." The Economist.
The panic is worse than the disease. "In some ways, panic is justified. Ebola is a horrifying disease for which there is no cure. In West Africa, where the epidemic began, the number of cases has been soaring for eight straight months....But for the majority of the American public, the panic seems displaced....Only one person has been diagnosed with Ebola here. Zero survived. Those odds are as terrifying as they are misleading. There is no cure for Ebola, but there is treatment. This statement is backed not only by science, but our own experience....Despite daily briefings from the CDC that the disease is only capable of spreading through the bodily fluids of a contagious person, mania ensues. Beyond the psychological implications is the babysitting this level of fear requires." Abby Haglage in The Daily Beast.
Don't be this guy: Nobody was laughing when he joked while on an airplane that he had Ebola. Lucia I. Suarez in Fox News Latino.
Does the risk justify the level of coverage? "Dietram A. Scheufele, a professor in science communication at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, says...all the stories from yesterday became the 'perfect storm of pseudo and real events' that triggered even more coverage. What ends up happening, he says, is that 'fairly harmless isolated events' come together and form the appearance of a larger pattern of an epidemic. Dr. Rachel Smith...at Pennsylvania State University's Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics, says despite all that coverage some basic facts remain the same: 'The severity of Ebola is exactly the same as it was in March of 2014. No one suspects that it has evolved to be more transmissible, more pathogenic, more lethal and so on.'" Eyder Peralta in NPR.
Why ERs are bracing for Ebola panic. "We know from past outbreaks there will be a lot of unnecessary trips to the emergency room amid heightened fears. Initial reports of the swine flu pandemic in April 2009 were soon followed by worried parents flocking to the emergency rooms even in communities where the disease hadn't yet appeared, according to a 2010 study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine....Anecdotally, some members of the American College of Emergency Physicians say they have seen early signs of Ebola fears in their hospitals, and others are bracing for broader panic that could change as flu season hits and the outbreak drags on." Jason Millman in The Washington Post.
5,000 false alarms, zero cases. "Ebola arrived in D.C. last week — no, no, false alarm. A passenger had Ebola-like symptoms aboard a jet from Texas to Florida — nevermind, not Ebola after all. As predicted, the number of Ebola false alarms in the United States has skyrocketed since Thomas E. Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola in Dallas on Sept. 30....None of those thousands of calls have turned out to be Ebola. One factor that’s helped fuel the spike in false reports is that Ebola’s early symptoms are quite general, like fever and vomiting. However, when it’s really Ebola, those symptoms quickly worsen and can turn into more visible afflictions, like bleeding from the eyes or a major rash." Dan Diamond in Forbes.
@ashishkjha: @ddiamond this is great. I'll take 1000 false + (quarantine those without Ebola) then one false negative (miss a real case).
@ddiamond: Challenge is when media says "patient being tested for Ebola," many Americans only hear "Ebola" and panic. Saw this happen in DC last week.
Disease fears can themselves impose major costs on society. "Frieden said that almost all of the travelers attempting to leave Guinea, Sierra Leone, or Liberia who’ve been kept from boarding because of fever turned out to have malaria; none so far had Ebola. Frieden warned against overreactions that could backfire. He cited the SARS outbreak of 2003, which is estimated to have cost the world economy $40 billion. 'Those were costs from unnecessary and ineffective travel restrictions and trade changes that could have been avoided,' he said. Melinda Moore, a former CDC epidemiologist...says the extra screening of a relatively small number of travelers may increase protection without being too intrusive. And Americans should avoid panicking." John Tozzi in Bloomberg Businessweek.
Poll: Majority of Americans do want flight ban. "The survey found that 51 percent of respondents said they were worried there would be an Ebola outbreak in the United States, and 30 percent worried they or someone in their family would be exposed to the virus. By an almost 2-1 margin, those surveyed disapproved of sending U.S. troops overseas to help contain the outbreak. Most Americans surveyed said they did have an accurate understanding of how the deadly disease is spread, with 72 percent correctly answering that it is communicated through bodily fluids." Phil Helsel in NBC News.
The CDC is trying to carefully control how scared you are of Ebola. "The Obama administration...is trying to navigate a tricky course: Can officials increase public vigilance about the deadly virus without inciting a panic? That challenge has been evident in almost every public pronouncement from the administration in recent weeks...as the government seeks to simultaneously emphasize the seriousness of the epidemic while projecting confidence that it can be contained and ultimately halted. 'Ebola is scary. It's a deadly disease. But we know how to stop it,' Dr. Thomas Frieden, the CDC director, said....Frieden has gotten solid marks, but the Obama administration has drawn criticism in other areas of its Ebola response." Russell Berman in The Atlantic.
Background reading: The CDC is going by the book — literally. Rebecca Leber in The New Republic.
Key House lawmakers OK $750M for Ebola fight, but GOP senator holds up funds. "Thursday's action by Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard 'Buck' McKeon and Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers would permit a total of $750 million in funds leftover for fighting in Afghanistan to be used to provide logistical help for health care workers in West Africa. The first $50 million was released last month....But an aide to Sen. James Inhofe, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services panel, said the Oklahoman has not signed off on the money. It takes the OK of the top Republican and Democrat on the House and Senate Armed Services and Appropriations panels to 'reprogram' Pentagon funds." Andrew Taylor in the Associated Press.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon says 20-fold surge in aid needed. "United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for a 20-fold surge in international aid to fight the outbreak....World Bank President Jim Yong Kim praised pledges from the United States and the European Commission to evacuate health care workers who become infected while responding to the crisis in West Africa, to encourage doctors and nurses to risk their lives to help." Connie Cass in the Associated Press.
Other health care reads:
A maze to opt out of Obamacare's individual mandate. Rachael Bade in Politico.
Medicaid, quite often criticized, is quite popular with its customers. Margot Sanger-Katz in The New York Times.
SIEGEL: Ebola panic won't contain it. It'll worsen it. "Overreacting might just be the way to spread the disease instead of contain it. It is a lesson we learned long ago. During the 14th century Black Death, Venice and other cities introduced a quarantine, shutting off their waters to ships suspected of carrying the disease, to no effect. Thousands of Venetians died. The city of Milan, well ahead of its time, avoided a major outbreak by isolating sick people and sealing off their houses. The problem with the quarantine was that it caused people to panic. And panicked people take fewer precautions, spreading more disease. Overreactions, such as the needless quarantine Thursday of a whole building near Paris, can distract from better approaches." Marc Siegel in USA Today.
SONENSHINE: Unintended benefits of health diplomacy. "Even if one traveler with Ebola is stopped before boarding an airplane, it will be worth the effort....The irony about health diplomacy is that it often has unintended consequences that can be positive. In this case, not only will the public understand more about Ebola, but the screenings will unearth information about malaria, a far more common and less deadly disease, but an important one. The enhanced screenings will also ready and steady people for the realities of globalization and the inherent risks that come with ease of travel. Health diplomacy also opens the minds of people outside Africa about the need to pay attention to the infrastructure of a continent that has great positive potential: Africa." Tara Sonenshine in The Hill.
SHICK: I'm going to Africa, and I won't get Ebola. "Of course, there's virtually no risk of my contracting the deadly virus. We're going to Namibia, which has had fewer cases of Ebola (zero) than the U.S....Tourism contributed 8.5 percent to Africa's gross domestic product in 2013, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council, and was expected to grow by 4.1 percent in 2014. Ebola is changing that....It would be a shame if all the panic over Ebola and our confusion about geography kept families from visiting a vast, varied and beautiful continent. I'm still packing my bags. And yes, Mom, I'll wash my hands often; I wouldn't want to catch a cold and scare away the zebras with my sneezes." Stacey Shick in Bloomberg View.
3. Lifestyles of the young, the debt-saddled, the left-leaning and (relatively) educated
Young people not setting up households. "The tossing of the bouquet, the tying of the knot, the cutting of the cake and the filing of the joint tax return - it is just not happening the way it used to. And most strikingly, the enthusiasm for traditional marriage is ebbing among the age group that used to lead the charge into romance, according to the most recent government figures. A look at the Census Bureau's 2014 Current Population Survey shows few trends, wrote demographer Cheryl Russell this week on her blog, Demo Memo. 'But one thing stood out: the decline in households headed by 25-to-34-year-olds.'" Michael Kanell in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
After recession, millennials become the most educated age group. "One unintended consequence of the most severe recession in the post-World War II era is that young adults have stayed in school to avoid facing unfriendly employment prospects. With research showing such investment pays off over time, the increases in educational attainment will probably promote gains in earnings, consumer spending and ultimately economic growth....Some 34 percent of 25 to 29 year-olds held a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, professional degree or doctoral degree last year, a higher share than in any year in data going back to 1968, according to Matthew Chingos, a senior fellow at Brookings. The share will probably increase as millennials, usually described as those born after 1980, mature." Victoria Stilwell in Bloomberg.
Related: What about the majority who don't have a college degree? Asma Khalid in NPR.
Among young people, college loans crowd out other debt. "Not surprisingly, younger consumers are seeing student loans crowd out most other types of loans, says Charlie Wise, vice president in TransUnion’s Innovative Solutions Group. For instance, student loans accounted for 36.8 percent of the total debt load for consumers ages 20 to 29 in 2014, up from the 12.9 percent reported in 2005, the study showed. Meanwhile, the share of debt due to mortgages shrank over that time period, to 42.9 percent in 2014 from 63.2 percent in 2005, as the number of young people buying homes declined. The share of debt loads from auto loans increased, to 14.1 percent from 11.6 percent in 2005." Jonnelle Marte in The Washington Post.
Poll of Millennial voters justifies the GOP's do-nothing immigration strategy. "Fusion's multifaceted survey of millennial political opinions is awfully rich, and includes plenty of numbers that should encourage Democrats who want to win the Hispanic vote of the future. It also suggests that Republicans, in the short term, will absorb relatively little damage for the House's throttling of comprehensive immigration reform. What else can you take from this result?" Dave Weigel in Bloomberg Politics.
Millennials like government work but don't stay long. "Employees born after 1980 now make up 16 percent of the workforce, and according to a forthcoming survey of federal employees, 86 of those who responded said their work is important....The data put millennials in a happier state than their counterparts in older generations, if last year’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey is a guide. The problem for government is that it can’t keep them. Millennials tend to not stay in their jobs for long — just 3.8 years on average. The numbers suggest that managers may be good at bringing young people into government, but lousy at keeping them happy and employed." Lisa Rein in The Washington Post.
They lean blue now, but they may be up for grabs. "President Obama is holding a town hall meeting Thursday in California with a group he wants to mobilize for the midterm elections: millennial entrepreneurs. Millennials — young people ages 18-34 — are a key part of the Democratic coalition. In just a few years, millennials will become the biggest demographic bulge in the electorate. For a very long time, young people's partisan preferences looked pretty much like everyone else's — they divided their votes between the two parties. After 2004 that changed, and they swung very heavily to the Democrats. But they're not the Obama-adoring college students of 2008 anymore. They're the generation hard-hit by the economy." Mara Liasson in NPR.
Charts: A bunch of charts from the new White House report on millennials. Sonali Kohli in Quartz.
Millennials are paying attention. So why don't they vote? "Millennials are not getting much love from politicians this year. The big reason for that is low expectations for turnout among young voters....For a while, it didn't look like millennials would need much convincing. As more members of this generation reached voting age, participation among young voters rose. The peak year was 2008 (52 percent). In 2012, the turnout among voters 18 to 29 dropped to 45 percent. On top of that, the rate of voters younger than 30 who could say with certainty that they were registered to vote fell steadily after 2008, according to the Pew Research Center....Why the big drop? It's not like millennials aren't paying attention. Some say they're easily better informed than past generations." Arnie Seipel in NPR.
Science interlude: Amazing facts about energy.
4. New concerns over the cyberattacks on banks
State attorneys general weigh group to examine JPMorgan cyberattack. "Offices of attorneys general including those in California, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Illinois are in discussions to join together and examine whether J.P. Morgan, and possibly other financial institutions, followed state disclosure laws on data breaches, these people said. They are also discussing the possibility of examining who hacked into J.P. Morgan and others that may have been affected by the recent breach, these people said. The group may also look at what information was taken, these people added. It is unclear how quickly the group would come together and how it would coordinate with continuing federal investigations into the matter." Emily Glazer in Dow Jones Business News.
Cyberattacks trigger talk of ‘hacking back.' "Behind the scenes, talk among company officials increasingly turns to an idea once considered so reckless that few would admit to even considering it: Going on the offensive. Or, in the parlance of cybersecurity consultants, 'hacking back.' The mere mention of it within cybersecurity circles can prompt a lecture about the many risks, starting with the fact that most forms of hacking back are illegal and ending with warnings that retaliating could spark full-scale cyberwar, with collateral damage across the Internet. Yet the idea of hacking back...has gradually gained currency as frustration grows about the inability of the government to stem lawlessness in cyberspace, experts say." Craig Timberg, Ellen Nakashima and Danielle Douglas-Gabriel in The Washington Post.
White House for months has searched for attacks' motive. "President Obama and his top national security advisers began receiving periodic briefings on the huge cyberattack at JPMorgan Chase and other financial institutions this summer, part of a new effort to keep security officials as updated on major cyberattacks as they are on Russian incursions into Ukraine or attacks by the Islamic State. But in the JPMorgan case, according to administration officials...no one could tell the president what he most wanted to know: What was the motive of the attack?...More than three months after the first attacks were discovered, the source is still unclear and there is no evidence any money was taken from any institution." Michael Corkery, Jessica Silver-Greenberg and David E. Sanger in The New York Times.
Other economic/financial reads:
With global economy stuttering, governments urged to open purses. Howard Schneider and Anna Yukhananov in Reuters.
Fed officials keep eyes on mid-2015 rate hike. Ann Saphir in Reuters.
Drop in jobless claims points to labor market strength. Jason Lange in Reuters.
Baby interlude: This baby loves water.
5. Things keep getting worse for the Secret Service
Congress mulls Secret Service reforms. "Key members of Congress are considering major changes to the embattled Secret Service, including moving it out of the Homeland Security Department and breaking up its mission....One suggestion for improving operations at the Secret Service involves moving it back into the Treasury Department, where it resided for decades until the creation of the Homeland Security Department following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks....Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson defended the current arrangement, telling Fox News Channel the Secret Service belongs in Homeland Security because the service includes a law enforcement and financial crimes component, as well as presidential protections" CBS News.
Explainer: Here's what Congress has next for the Secret Service. Marina Koren in National Journal.
White House disputes report that aides had not thoroughly investigated Cartagena link. "The White House on Thursday stood by an internal review that cleared a travel office volunteer suspected of inappropriate conduct during the 2012 prostitution scandal in Colombia and vigorously disputed a Washington Post report that presidential aides had not thoroughly investigated the matter. Spokesman Eric Schultz said the White House review after President Obama’s trip to an economic summit in Cartagena focused on interviews with members of the travel advance team and an examination of other records, including a Hilton hotel log that showed that a female guest was registered overnight on April 4, 2012, to the room of travel team member Jonathan Dach." David Nakamura and Katie Zezima in The Washington Post.
Essay: A retired Secret Service agent reveals the agency's biggest problem. Dan Emmett in Vox.
'Frozen' interlude: The movie presented in 8-bit game technology.
Five things we need to know before Obamacare enrollment starts again. Jason Millman.
More efficient cars are putting a Hummer-sized dent in gas consumption. Emily Badger.
One in four Americans think poor people don’t work hard enough. Roberto A. Ferdman.
No, marijuana is not actually "as addictive as heroin." Christopher Ingraham.
Germany is killing its economy — and Europe’s, too. Matt O'Brien.
Why ERs are bracing for an Ebola panic. Jason Millman.
When it comes to the economy, Obama has a Bush problem. Steven Mufson.
CDC director calls for action to stop Ebola from becoming "the world’s next AIDS." Max Ehrenfreund.
How mortgage rates affect car purchases, credit card debt and jobs. Dina ElBoghdady.
The sexiest subway car you’ve ever seen. Emily Badger.
Taxpayer funds are a lifeline for more than 100 for-profit schools. Aaron Glantz in the Center for Investigative Reporting.
White House vexed on how to replace Holder. Edward-Isaac Dovere and Josh Gerstein in Politico.
Ferguson police continued crackdown on protesters after federal, state interventions. Kimberly Kindy and Wesley Lowery in The Washington Post.
Few states preparing for climate change, study says. Neela Banerjee in the Los Angeles Times.
As trains move oil bonanza, delays mount for other goods and passengers. Ron Nixon in The New York Times.
Acid damage to coral reefs could cost $1 trillion. Colin Barras in New Scientist.
Report: Postal Service leaves areas in the dark on changes to 95 facilities. Josh Hicks in The Washington Post.
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Wonkbook is produced with help from Michelle Williams and Ryan McCarthy.