How Obama Both Has, and Has Not, Reduced Inequality

“Don’t think Obama has reduced inequality? These numbers prove that he has.”

It’s a catchy headline from the Washington Post, and a common-sense reading of it would suggest that President Obama has managed to narrow the once-yawning gap between the haves and the have-nots. But here comes the tricky bit: President Obama has reduced inequality, but inequality has not fallen during his presidency.

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Annie Lowrey on Chris Hayes: Red States Could Lose Obamacare Benefits But Keep Paying for Them

This week a federal appeals court ruled that consumers are not be eligible for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act if they purchased insurance on the federally run exchange. On Thursday night, New York's Annie Lowrey appeared on All In With Chris Hayes to discuss the decision, and why it may hurt people in poorer states if it's upheld by the Supreme Court. States that opted out of the Medicaid expansion "are not getting the full benefits of the law, but they're still paying for it," Lowrey notes. Similarly, if people lose health insurance subsidies in the 36 states using the federal exchange, "you'd have a system where in states like New York and California that set up their own exchanges and accepted the Medicaid expansion, they're really benefiting," Lowrey says. "They could end up being pretty significantly subsidized by the poor red states where most of the residents who this law was intended to benefit are living."

Andrew Cuomo Could Have Saved Himself a Big Headache If He’d Been a Little More Frank

The Times6,500-word front-page story exploring Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Moreland Commission machinations was terrific reporting and a fun read. The commission was empaneled in 2013, by Cuomo, to probe corruption and pressure the legislature to enact ethics reform, and it wielded subpoena power. The Times story depicted the governor and his staff trying to curb Moreland inquiries that might cause Cuomo political trouble.

Yet, in some ways, the more fascinating piece of writing is the 13-page response to the Times’ questions. It is unsigned; on the first page, addressed to reporter Susanne Craig, it says, “We are writing … ” and “We think,” and no doubt the missive was a joint, heavily lawyered effort. But the tone, and the thinking, is unmistakably Cuomo’s.

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The Worst-Case Scenario for Obamacare

The Affordable Care Act was always big. It was always complicated. It was always inelegant. But it was always meant to be universal, reaching all Americans regardless of their income or political tendencies or hometown. Yet over the past two years, the law has splintered and that goal has been dashed, at least for now. And the greatest risk posed to the A.C.A. by the court decision in Halbig v. Burwell, released this week, is that the law might splinter further.

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Washington and Wall Street Are in the Grips of the Big Lull

Is August over yet?

At least when it comes to finance and domestic politics, that month’s typical ennui has already set in, and how. Conflicts are erupting or intensifying around the world. But Congress has given up on legislating. The markets have quit gyrating. In the administration and on the Hill, aides are bored and restless. Heck, the president seems bored and restless. Washington, a town that for a few years lived crisis-to-crisis, is now beset by a queasy feeling of paralysis, of steady-statism. Call it the Big Lull.

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Cuomo Allegedly Meddled With Anti-Corruption Panel’s Investigation

A year ago, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced with much fanfare that he was forming an investigatory panel, known as the Moreland Commission, to address reports of rampant corruption in Albany. Cuomo declared that the commission would be "totally independent," and could even investigate his administration. "Anything they want to look at, they can look at — me, the lieutenant governor, the attorney general, the comptroller, any senator, any assemblyman," he said. The reality was very different. Cuomo abruptly shut down the commission in March, prompting Manhattan's U.S. attorney to take up its unfinished investigations into criminal activity in the state legislature, as well as accusations that Cuomo meddled with the commission's probe. Now the New York Times is giving prosecutors a hand. During a three-month investigation, the paper found extensive evidence of how Cuomo's office successfully objected anytime the commission focused on the governor or his associates.

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Joe Biden and George W. Bush Disagree on the Matter of Putin’s Soul

Just after his first introduction to Vladimir Putin in 2001, then brand-new President George W. Bush memorably announced that, by looking into his Russian counterpart's eyes, he had managed "to get a sense of his soul, a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country." But, ten years later, Vice President Joe Biden visited Putin and determined that Bush must have been hallucinating or something.

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Video of the day

Charlie Rangel Opens Debate With Fake Phone Call

Congressman Joe Garcia Picks Ear, Eats It on Live TV

Sarah Palin Thinks Chelsea’s Baby May Make Hillary ‘Open Her Eyes’ About Abortion

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In The Mag

Back on the Trail

When Mark Sanford decided to run for office again, he asked his ex-wife, Jenny, for her blessing. Whether he has her vote is another matter.

By Jason Zengerle

Reading List

Wonkblog Jan. 21, 2013

The Case for Deficit Optimism

For all the sound and fury, Washington’s actually making real progress on debt.

By Ezra Klein
Salon Jan. 15, 2012

The NRA's Democratic Helpers

Harry Reid and other pro-gun Democrats leave Obama in need of unlikely allies.

By Steve Kornacki

From the Archives

New York Magazine / Nov. 5, 2010

Boehner's Army

After November's glitch, Boehner, McConnell and Congress strike familiar poses.

By John Heilemann
New York Magazine / Jan. 25, 2009

With Friends Like These

Obama drew progressive ire from day one.

By John Heilemann
New York Magazine / Nov. 30, 2008

Hiding In Plain Sight

How one undocumented family lives in our sanctuary city.

By Jeff Coplon