The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Morning Bits

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It will be tough going if this is what they are calling the hearing with the administration’s former adviser Jonathan Gruber: “Dems pick witness for ‘stupidity’ hearing.”

Tough criticism of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on his spoiling for a budget showdown: “No one remotely in touch with political reality believes Mr. Obama will reverse his executive order, just as no one could possibly have believed Obama would deliver a death blow to his signature domestic achievement in 2013. (We got the shutdown, and Obamacare wasn’t defunded.) The only issue, then, is whether the tactic Jindal and others are recommending would politically help the GOP and conservatism, since it has no chance of succeeding substantively. And here, too, the answer is no.”

It is getting tough to defend the health-care system under Obamacare. “A survey this year by The Physicians Foundation found that 81 percent of doctors describe themselves as either over-extended or at full capacity, and 44 percent said they planned to cut back on the number of patients they see, retire, work part-time or close their practice to new patients. At the same time, insurance companies have routinely limited the number of doctors and providers on their plans as a way to cut costs. The result has further restricted some patients’ ability to get appointments quickly.”

The myth that gridlock is all the GOP’s fault may be tough to maintain in the era of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “What we want to be is a responsible, right-of-center governing majority,” McConnell said. “We don’t intend to engage in rhetoric nor actions that rattle the public, that rattle the markets. What we can’t control is what the president does with legislation we put on his desk.”

It is tough to repeal Obamacare during the Obama presidency. Ramesh Ponnuru argues for reason: “For all Obamacare’s justified unpopularity, however, the political branches of the government are not going to repeal it so long as someone committed to it is in the Oval Office. It is not even going to be meaningfully reformed. What Republicans can and should do is to prepare the ground for the law’s repeal and replacement by increasing the likelihood that a president committed to a credible plan to achieve that goal will be elected in 2016 and have a congressional majority to support him.” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) should listen up.

Tough to argue that we have accomplished anything. Iran, on the other hand, has done quite well. “Over the past year, Iran has advanced its nuclear program and bypassed sanctions while desperate Western negotiators have offered a series of reported concessions in order to reach a final deal to rein in Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Meanwhile, the White House—despite persistent bipartisan objections from Congress—has rejected calls to increase pressure on the regime, instead opting for more talks, which the parties recently extended through June 30, 2015.” (Read the compelling timeline of events.)

Tough data for proponents of a steep minimum wage hike. “A new NBER working paper from Jeffrey Clemens and Michael Wither of the University of California, San Diego, suggests that the 30% increase in the average effective minimum wage over the late 2000s ‘reduced the national employment-to-population ratio — the share of adults with any kind of job — by 0.7 percentage point’ between December 2006 and December 2012.”

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