December 10, 2012

J. Scott Applewhite, AP

* Rich Yeselson has an excellent overview of why passing “right to work” legislation in Michigan will deal such a blow to organized labor, and why the stakes are so high: If you can pass it there, you can pass it anywhere.

* Forget “right to work” laws. Let’s go with “freedom to freeload” laws. Marcy Wheeler has video of a Michigan Dem offering a very good explanation of what “right to work” actually does, and why it actually constitutes “freedom to freeload.”

* Ed Kilgore on the real reason Michigan Republicans are ramming the “right to work” bill through: If they waited until the next session, they wouldn’t have the votes.

 * Don’t raise the Medicare eligibility age! Jonathan Cohn has a must-read examination of the many risks involved, including this: What happens to seniors who live in states that might opt out of the Medicaid expansion?

* And as Sarah Kliff details, raising the eligibility age could disproportionately impact minorities and those without a college degree, who would be uninsured in greater numbers.

* Ouch: Gallup finds that only 26 percent of Americans approve of the GOP’s handling of the fiscal cliff talks; 64 percent disapprove. Obama’s numbers: 48-44. With numbers like these, imagine how the politics of going over the cliff will play…

* Steve Benen does a nice job taking apart Lindsey Graham’s blustery threats about using the debt ceiling to extract bigger Medicare cuts. In a reference to the Republicans’ demand for a hike in the Medicare eligibility age, Steve notes:

They will, quite deliberately, hold the global economy and the full faith and credit of the United States hostage — again — until the president agrees to take benefits away from senior citizens.

I wonder if antics like these from Graham help explain those above Gallup numbers.

 * Also, as Glenn Kessler aptly details, Graham is just flat out wrong in his claim that Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security ( count ‘em, all three) are at risk of “imminent bankruptcy.”

* This will be big: Senate Dems are on the verge of wrapping up their long-awaited investigation into Bush-era torture, which could give new relevance to the argument over whether to close Guantanamo.

* The latest on filibuster reform: Dems are quietly negotiating with Republicans to see if a compromise proposal can be reached to avoid changing the rules by simple majority vote. What remains to be seen: What Dems are prepared to give up in the way of reform to achieve a deal.

 * And Kevin Drum takes apart a ubiquitous righty talking point: The idea that if we’re going to return to Clinton-era tax rates, well, why the heck aren’t we returning to Clinton-era spending levels, too???

What else?

Greg Sargent writes The Plum Line blog, a reported opinion blog with a liberal slant -- what you might call “opinionated reporting” from the left.