Audit D.C. Notes: Newsweek Says Cash Is King; TNR on the Politico Way; Weird FT Art

Cash is king, and that’s a good thing, declares Newsweek in an assessment of the “drastic debt diet” the U.S. has been on since 2008.

There aren’t any killer facts or big discoveries here. But it’s an easily accessible taking-stock of where we are, what we’ve learned, and what comes next. Readers meet families and companies adjusting to life in the new order, and the piece draws some smart lessons:

Americans are now discovering that cash exerts a superior discipline. The real discipline of cash may be that it causes executives, consumers, and investors to think twice—and to think about the long-term consequences—before spending. The need for instant gratification is part of what created the current mess.

—The Politico view of the world gets a nice going-over from The New Republic’s Michelle Cottle, who points to a recent piece about dissatisfaction among big Democratic donors that, she says, “did an impressive job of simultaneously capturing and embodying why so much of America thinks our political system sucks.”

As TNR makes clear, the whole premise of the Politico story is a bit screwy:

To be sure, the DNC’s fundraising is humming along at a record pace, bringing in about $30 million more than it did in 2005, the last midterm election season, and giving the committee a small (less than $1 million) but rare cash advantage over the Republican National Committee.

But apparently some bigwigs aren’t happy. Cottle also smartly highlights the sort of strange seriousness with which Politico likes to dwell on some of the smallest details, like this nugget about the departure of the White House social secretary, Desiree Rogers:

But a previously undisclosed gripe about her provides another explanation for her abrupt departure last month: Some of Obama’s biggest fundraisers, already chafing at not getting enough love from the administration, didn’t even get Christmas cards last year.

“The donors rose up, and that was another reason Desiree got pushed out,” said a source close to the White House.

Politico goes on to report that her successor is all set to put things right with donors. And Cottle rejoices (insert snark here):

Well, color me happy. How nice to hear that this administration will at last begin showing big donors the proper degree of pucker. By all means, screw change we can believe in. Let’s stick with the tried-and-true model of giving the most attention, access, and deference to those who fork over the most cash. Financially aiding a presidential candidate who shares your progressive governing vision is all well and good, but, honestly, what’s the point if the guy doesn’t invite you over for movie night from time to time?

In short order, Politico has established itself at the center of the Washington conversation. Good for TNR for exploring what that means.

And, finally, is it just me or did anyone else find the illustration of Angela Merkel accompanying an op-ed in my old paper, the FT, a bit odd/creepy?

Just wondering.

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Holly Yeager is CJR's Peterson Fellow, covering fiscal and economic policy. She is based in Washington and reachable at