January 7, 2013

1. The very strong case against Paul Krugman for Treasury Secretary, written by Paul Krugman. I disagree with him about senators, but otherwise, a winning argument.

2. How Barack Obama should handle the next round of budget negotiations: Michael Cohen says that Obama should insist that Republicans propose spending cuts. Yup.

3. By the way: #MintTheCoin is very much still a thing, and picking up supporters. Joe Weisenthal has the latest.

4. In fact, the idea has received enough publicity that Republicans are reacting, with Rep. Greg Walden (Ore.) introducing a bill that would prohibit the dodge. Does having a bill to outlaw it threaten the White House — or just make it more plausible that the coin-minting could really happen? As someone has already said, the obvious White House response should be to accept the bill … as long as it also eliminates the debt limit.

5. Very interesting reading of John Boehner’s Wall Street Journal interview from Jed Lewison. Is Boehner going to simply go for the sequester as it is and call it quits? 

6. The real key to the future federal government budget — and, perhaps, economic growth in general — is whether the sudden slowing of healthy care cost increases, now three years old, will continue. Sarah Kliff asks the experts.

7. Must-read from E.J. Graff about rape culture.

8. Timothy Noah is probably right about this: tax reform is dead. Caveat: if tax reform is taken out of the budget debate, it could get done after all. But revenue-raising tax reform was never very likely.

9. That’s personal tax reform. Jared Bernstein makes the case for revenue-raising corporate tax reform. That’s more plausible. … It depends, I would think, on whether the business community in general wants corporate tax reform so much that they’re willing to pay for it. My guess is no.

10. “It’s beautiful, sometimes, the lack of responsibility that comes with diminished powers.” Or: How Republicans got the end of the payroll tax cut they wanted, and turned immediately to attacking Obama for it. Nice one from Dave Weigel.

11. Fred Kaplan looks at the Chuck Hagel nomination.

12. While Francis Wilkinson suspects that Hagel’s nomination marks a new strategy for Obama: making partisan polarization work in his favor.

13. Andrew Sullivan expands a bit on Greg’s excellent point from earlier: that the Brennan nomination gives senators an excellent chance to put the administration on the spot about several important civil-liberties issues.

14. Great interview of Steve LaTourette, the Ohio Republican now retired from the House, by Molly Ball. LaTourette he explains exactly what’s wrong with the Republican conference. It’s not ideology.

15. And Steven Rubio on Zero Dark Thirty.