1. Great reporting by Dylan Scott about Affordable Care Act navigators and their toughest job: explaining to people that their state governments have let them down and that because their state didn’t expand Medicaid, they won’t get health insurance.
2. More ground-level Obamacare reporting from Joey Holleman in South Carolina.
3. Which states have enacted new gun safety legislation this year — and which haven’t. Ben Goad has the roundup.
4. It’s not going to happen, at least not any time soon, but Matt Yglesias cheers Earl Blumenauer’s (D-Ore.) proposal to raise gasoline taxes.
5. A lot of flack today about a Post story about budget negotiations that advanced the point of view that deficit reduction is an unquestioned and unquestionable Good Thing. Kevin Drum got the ball rolling with the question: “What is Deficit Mania Doing on the News Pages?”
6. Paul Krugman argued that the consensus behind that point of view is long gone.
7. Although I suspect that, among politicians, there still are few who won’t at least rhetorically subscribe to that consensus — and I think Ronald Reagan is responsible.
8. Meanwhile, on the (probable? possible?) substance of the deal itself, Jared Bernstein has some analysis: “a sliver of not-so-bad news.”
9. Four Brookings scholars have their own ideas of what should be in the budget deal.
10. Will the deal pass? Heritage Action has come out against it.
11. More generally, “Conservatives Are Starting To Freak Out About The Budget Deal.” Brett Logiurato is on it. It will come down to whether mainstream Republicans will allow themselves to believe that they have anything to gain from sticking with the radicals now, only to wind up having to fold down the road. They’ve probably learned their lesson from October, but we’ll see.
12. Jonathan Chait beats up on Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) and the politics of Republican deficit fighting. For war-on-budgeting Republicans (most, but not all, of the party), “deficit” means little more than “stuff we don’t like.” So cutting the deficit isn’t about bringing government spending and revenue into balance, it’s about getting rid of things they don’t like.
13. “How to stick it to the poor: A congressional strategy.” Samantha Paige Rosen assesses the Republican agenda.
14. Hold on — Ron Johnson, Republican senator from Wisconsin, now is okay with state Affordable Care Act exchanges? Ryan Grim reports.
16. And a lot of smart stuff from Seth Masket about Obamacare, the rest of Barack Obama’s presidency and how all of it will affect liberal goals.