February 5, 2013

1. The big news today was the new CBO budget outlook report; Brad Plumer has it boiled down to six charts.

2. You’ll also want analysis of the budget projections from Jared Bernstein.

3. But don’t forget: Projections are just projections. A good reminder from Derek Thompson. And remember that when it gets beyond 10 years, much of it is pure guesswork — and that errors can compound over time to make the guesses wildly off. Short term, the big mistakes are likely unforeseen recessions or economic booms; long term, it can be almost anything: changes in health-care costs, new tax cuts or increases, brand-new government programs or wars, technology changes and on and on.

4. The changes in what the CBO expects in health care, from Sarah Kliff.

5. James Downie: The Senate should delay confirmation of John Brennan for CIA until the White House hands over materials justifying administration policy on targeted killing. This happens to be exactly the kind of thing that the confirmation process should be used for. Good idea.

6. All of the current and scheduled vacancies on the federal bench without even a nominee, from Alliance for Justice. Important.

7. I like Ed Kilgore’s analysis of Eric Cantor’s speech today: Yes, there really was a bit of policy there, but very little.

8. Oh, yeah — there was the bit about repealing the medical-device tax. Alec MacGillis is not impressed.

9. On the other hand, as Rachel Weiner reports, Cantor did get good reviews from one surprising source: Chuck Schumer.

10. Steve Benen on the Congressional Progressive Caucus budget. Good point: It would be nice to see how it holds up in polling against Barack Obama’s budget and Paul Ryan’s House Republican budget.

11. Brian Beutler reports on a new Congressional Research Service analysis of recess appointments from Reagan through Obama that might not have happened under the recent circuit court decision.

12. The 20th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act — and why it’s time to update and improve it, from Michael Linden. If nothing happens on this, expect one or more Democratic presidential candidate to run on the issue in 2016; I wouldn’t be surprised if a Democratic senator or governor tries to make a big splash on it before then in the run-up to a possible candidacy.

13. “Why the Republican CFPB Arguments Are Wrong,” from Mike Konczal. Regardless: What’s really striking is how minor their arguments are, given that their reaction is so extreme. Yes, vowing to defeat by filibuster any possible presidential nominee is an extreme reaction.

14. Jed Lewison looks in on the stumbling beginnings of the Karl Rove project to defeat bad GOP candidates in primaries.

15. While Steve Kornacki discusses what the Democratic presidential candidate field — and all future Democratic presidential candidate fields — will look like.