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A week of scandal and taxes

The IRS building in Washington, D.C.

 The IRS scandal is all over the news this week and as we head into the weekend, it's on our minds, too.

Later today, we'll talk to Weekly Wrappers the Guardian's Heidi Moore and the Wall Street Journal's Sudeep Reddy join us to talk over the week that was: the IRS scandal and the debt ceiling letter from Jack Lew, where he says The Treasury "will begin implementing the standard set of extraordinary measures."

Moore says the phrase alone is kind of special.

"You have to love the infinite disappointment in that phrase," she says.

Reddy says try as Republicans might, this isn't a winnng point for them.

"It means that there's very little economic policy that you're going to see discussed in Washington," he says. "You've got the sequester and your'e stuck with an incredibly dumb sequester for the rest of the year, we're stuck with fiscal policy that is working against the extraordinary policy. All that menas we're stuck with very slow growth."

On the good(?) news about the deficit, Heidi says all of the guessing games about the budget are just that: guesses.

"I think what this highlights is it's really difficult to actually know what the budget is doing," she says. "You se all these numbers and they look like science. They look like reality."

Alas, just guesses. She thinks it is good news, though.

"With only a few mild — yet annoying — cuts through the sequesters and through previous cuts to defense and so on, we've already seen the deficit shrink." 

Lastly, those three letters you could not escape this week. IRS. Can President Barack Obama really bounce back?

Reddy says the scandal is taking up precious airtime.

"There's only so much oxygen in this town and we're seeing it sucked up by ...scandal," he says. "We're facing facing a number of longer term issues that aren't going to be adresed because the political oxygen is being sucked up by those three letters (IRS)."

Get ready for the weekend with our #longreads

As always, our Wrappers have a few great articles for you to save for your weekend reading.

Heidi Moore picks:

  • On Wall Street, racial and ethnic identity used to be parsed as much as financial ability: for years, there were the firms known for employing established white Anglo-Saxon Protestants and firms known for grabbing up-and-coming Jewish financiers. Times have changed and now there's a new ethnic group establishing itself: highly educated Indian-Americans. My former WSJ colleague Anita Raghavan, takes a look at Rajat Gupta, the former Goldman Sachs director, and others in what she called the "Indian-American elite" in her new book, a really fascinating excerpt of which is running in the New York Times this weekend. It's a close look at how power is wielded on Wall Street. 
  • I normally don't go in for "special issues" of magazines because they end up being too precious, but Fast Company has done something really nice with its Most Creative People in Business issue. It's a genuinely instructive, sometimes inspiring tour of how people grow and maintain their creativity even when their jobs start to become about routine. You don't have to be an artiste in a Parisian palette to use creativity; it's a quality that makes anyone happier, even if you only use it in the kitchen, in decorating your home, or in improving your golf game. The American spirit is one of innovation, and in this world when we can control nearly anything from our smartphones, we often forget that we all have it in us to think of something new. 
  • This absolutely charming story on the loss of the American apostrophe speaks for itself. It's fabulous and worth it for the "Apostrophe Protection Society" alone. 

Sudeep Reddy points you to:

  • "The modern history of swearing: Where all the dirtiest words come from" is Salon's excerpt of a book, "Holy Sh*t," that has few asterisks beyond the title. 
  • Colleges and inequality: How strained finances of American universities are widening the class divide, from The Atlantic.
  • A broad review of the implications of 3-D printing on manufacturing and intellectual property from Bloomberg.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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