Student Loans Are Too Expensive To Forgive

Late last year, graduate students watched as legislators in the House debated giving them a hefty new tax bill: A version of the GOP tax plan proposed to treat tuition waivers as taxable income. Although that plan was later dropped, Congress is once again considering legislation that could affect graduate students’ bottom lines. And the federal government is considering ending some of its student loan forgiveness programs, which could raise the economic barrier to entering certain public service professions and leave social workers, teachers and other people in public-service fields that require graduate degrees paying thousands of dollars more for their education.

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Buy, Sell Or Hold? A Special Democratic Debate Edition

Welcome to FiveThirtyEight’s weekly politics chat. The transcript below has been lightly edited.

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Global spare oil capacity in U.S. hands after Saudi outage

Saudi Arabia has yet to comment on the extent of damage on its oil production but industry sources have said some 5-6 million barrels per day (bpd) or 5-6% of global supply have been affected.

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Tariffs And Bank Regulations Are Splitting Both Parties In The Lead-Up To The Midterms

We think of today’s Washington as being rigidly divided along party lines on nearly every issue. But a bloc of Democrats in the Senate just joined with Republicans and the Trump administration on a bill that would lighten some restrictions on banks imposed by the Dodd-Frank financial regulation law, one of President Obama’s signature policy achievements. Meanwhile, some congressional Republicans are considering legislation that would stop President Trump’s new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, which several Democrats and labor leaders have publicly supported.

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What Issues Should Democrats Ignore In 2018?

Welcome to FiveThirtyEight’s weekly politics chat. The transcript below has been lightly edited.

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Where The Algorithms Can’t Find You

A man wearing a red flannel shirt and brown suspenders walks into a clearing. His beard is well kempt, the same off-white as the snowmelt behind him. “Good afternoon,” he says to the camera. “It’s Friday, Oct. 12.” Slowly, he extends his arms. Two birds swoop down from the trees, alighting on his hands. “You can see how much I love my whiskey jacks. I’m feeding them my home-baked bread,” he says. The whiskey jacks peck, then take off with their spoils. “Gotta love it,” the man says. “They’ve been my friends for years.” A small wave at the camera: “I hope you have a great day where you live.”

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Can Smiling Really Make You Happier?

Before we get started, do me a favor and grab a pen or a pencil. Now hold it between your teeth, as if you were about to try to write with it. Don’t let your lips touch it. Sit with it, and pay attention to how you feel. Are you glum? Cheerful? Confused? Is that any different than how you felt before? Do you feel like this weird smile tricked your brain into a slight jump in happiness?

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