Welcome to Wonkbook, Wonkblog’s morning policy news primer by Puneet Kollipara. To subscribe by e-mail, click here. Send comments, criticism or ideas to Wonkbook at Washpost dot com. To read more by the Wonkblog team, click here.
Wonkbook’s Number of the Day: $492 billion. That's the CBO's latest estimate for this fiscal year's budget deficit, down more than one-fourth from last year's $680 billion deficit.
Wonkbook’s Chart of the Day: These charts show how America is changing demographically before our eyes.
Wonkbook's Top 5 Stories: (1) What you need to know this Tax Day; (2) a deficit respite -- only for now; (3) Obamacare just got even less expensive; (4) demographics and the GOP's fledgling renewal; and (5) why it matters when U.S. learned of Heartbleed.
1. Top story: Happy Tax Day! What you need to know
Your chances of getting audited this year are lower than ever. "As millions of Americans race to meet Tuesday's tax deadline, their chances of getting audited are lower than they have been in years. Budget cuts and new responsibilities are straining the Internal Revenue Service's ability to police tax returns. This year, the IRS will have fewer agents auditing returns than at any time since at least the 1980s. Taxpayer services are suffering, too, with millions of phone calls to the IRS going unanswered." Stephen Ohlemacher in the Associated Press.
But not so fast: Don't be so sure that you fool the IRS. "The IRS is cash-strapped and audit rates are down, but that doesn’t mean the average Jane or Joe can hide the ball from the tax man. The tax-collecting agency devotes more resources to chasing big fish like convicted tax cheat Wesley Snipes than the average middle-class taxpayer, that’s true. But the IRS is now using sophisticated software and data analysis that puts it in touch with taxpayers before the official audit process begins." Kelsey Snell in Politico.
Tax day: Everything you need to know (including freebies!). Jolie Lee in USA Today.
Where your taxes go, in one chart. Matthew Yglesias in Vox.
Poll: Most Americans aren't sweating the tax rates. "One in four Americans waited until the end of tax season to file their returns and a majority think they pay about the right amount in federal taxes, according to a new McClatchy-Marist Poll released Monday." Kevin G. Hall in McClatchy Newspapers.
Another poll: Americans are sweating their tax rates. Slim majority of Americans say their taxes too high, while percentage saying taxes "fair" keeps edging down. Gallup.
ICYMI: Your tax rates are actually really low, in one chart. Christopher Ingraham in The Washington Post.
Don't worry: The Social Security Administration will no longer seize tax refunds. "The Social Security Administration announced Monday that it will immediately cease efforts to collect on taxpayers’ debts to the government that are more than 10 years old. The action comes after The Washington Post reported that the government was seizing state and federal tax refunds that were on their way to about 400,000 Americans who had relatives who owed money to the Social Security agency. In many cases, the people whose refunds were intercepted had never heard of any debt, and the debts dated as far back as the middle of the past century." Marc Fisher in The Washington Post.
Our original story on this issue. Marc Fisher in The Washington Post.
Meanwhile, check out the president's tax returns from 2013: He earned less money in 2013. Lindsay Wise in McClatchy Newspapers.
Your tax preparer may also soon become your health-insurance adviser. "The tax system provides both the carrot and the stick for people to obtain coverage. Tax preparers like Jackson Hewitt and H&R Block say they have helped tens of thousands of people apply for tax credits to help defray the cost of private insurance bought through the exchanges. In addition, the big tax service companies and makers of tax preparation software like Intuit’s TurboTax are calculating potential penalties for those who do not have insurance. 'It’s a tremendous business opportunity,' said Brian Haile, senior vice president for health policy at Jackson Hewitt. 'We can do well by doing good.' Major provisions of the health care law -- the requirement for people to carry insurance and for larger employers to offer it, as well as the subsidies to help pay for it -- were written as amendments to the Internal Revenue Code." Robert Pear in The New York Times.
Speaking of Obamacare, here's what it means for your taxes. "Tax day is here -- and some people will pay more this year because of Obamacare. The law's biggest tax provision -- billions of dollars in tax credits to help people cover the cost of their premiums -- is already in effect, but doesn't affect the taxes due on Tuesday. A handful of smaller provisions, mostly affecting wealthy households, will show up for the first time in this year's filing. Among this year's changes: a 0.9 percent increase in Medicare taxes and a 3.8 percent surtax on investment income. Both are limited to high-income taxpayers...Next year's filing will be the first time the Internal Revenue Service enforces the law's individual mandate, which requires most taxpayers to either buy insurance or pay a penalty." Sophie Novack and Sam Baker in National Journal.
No, the tax code isn't 70,000 pages long. "American Public Media’s Morning Marketplace has reported that the tax code is 70,000 pages long. The New York Times thinks so too. A Google search will find this number repeated again and again in the popular press. I have never seen a book that is 70,000 pages long, and I seriously doubt that such a book exists. So please be assured that the tax code is not 70,000 pages long. So, how long is it? In the 2013 edition, the last page is numbered 4,037....But is it even useful to talk about a document’s length as a stand-in for its complexity?" Andrew L. Grossman in Slate.
A history of the taxes-charity tension. "For a century, the arrival of tax day has provided an occasion to contrast the joyless task of taxpaying with the virtues of voluntary giving -- a rhetorical pairing especially beloved by those who oppose the intrusion of the welfare state into realms first staked out by private benevolence. The comparison is often wielded cynically: when Warren Buffett urged Barack Obama to increase taxes on the wealthy, Republicans sneered that if Buffett wanted to give the government more money he could go right ahead....But it also expresses deeply held American beliefs about the superiority of private responsibilities to public ones. In short, an argument on moral grounds, in which voluntary action is deemed more worthy than legal obligation, is deployed to serve political ends -- namely, the claim that private generosity is a more effective means of curing social ills than government bureaucracy is." Benjamin Soskis in The New Yorker.
HUBBARD: The case for tax reform. "For many Americans, today’s Tax Day thoughts will likely center on how much of a year’s earnings must be surrendered to Uncle Sam to fund the federal government. But another concern is why we lose so much income and so many jobs because our tax system is so badly designed. For our elected officials, Tax Day also offers the chance to consider the most significant economic policy change they could make to raise growth and incomes: tax reform. The standard economic arguments for long-term supply-side gains from tax reform are right. But they understate the case for tax reform in yielding short-term demand-side gains in the economy and the extent to which tax reform can improve economic opportunity....On Tax Day, it’s only natural to think about the bite taxes take out of our incomes. But we should be thinking about how to make the system work better, too." R. Glenn Hubbard in Politico Magazine.
RAMPELL: Marriage penalty takes a bite out of working families. "The people who really suffer from the marriage penalty are lower-income families with young children -- you know, those people constantly scolded by the Family Values Police for eschewing the bonds of holy matrimony or for being too lazy to work....Despite all the morality rhetoric spewed by some policymakers and pundits, Congress has expressed peculiarly little interest in removing disincentives for married moms to work or for working parents to marry....Right now, unpaid primary caregivers can calculate that the amount they would earn as paid workers is just not that much greater than the immediate costs of bringing in those earnings. I say 'immediate costs' for a reason: By staying home now -- to avoid the marriage penalty or otherwise -- many parents will cost their families much more money later on, when the kids no longer need as much intensive child care, because extended career interruptions can result in persistently lower pay. In other words, by maintaining the 'marriage penalty,' Congress is not only costing U.S. families billions of dollars today; it is also holding back their earning power tomorrow." Catherine Rampell in The Washington Post.
COHN: A bigger April 15 bill would mean a better society. "Happy Tax Day. Yes, I say that every year. Yes, I still mean it. Yes, I know that not many people feel the same way. Nobody likes writing checks to the government. At best, it’s something people tolerate. At worst? It’s a source of resentment and anger. Either way, it’s a political fact of life -- one that imposes narrow boundaries on what policymakers in this country can do. It doesn't have to be that way." Jonathan Cohn in The New Republic.
VINIK: Despite what Republicans say, Americans don't find taxes very hard. "Why aren’t Americans freaking out about tax day? Probably because filling out federal tax forms is pretty easy these days....This surprising data actually has some fairly significant political implications. For years, Republicans (and many Democrats) have said a simplified tax code is one of their main goals. In fact, one fundamental feature of every Republican tax reform plan is to condense the number of tax brackets. It’s so complicated, they say, to navigate the gradations that charge you different rates on different chunks of your income. In the digital age, one where only seven percent of the population is manually using those crazy tables at the back of the tax book, this is makes no sense." Danny Vinik in The New Republic.
ORSZAG: Will Burwell corral health costs? "If over the next three years she can take the bold steps needed to reinforce better value in health care, she will drastically alter prospects for everything from the federal budget to state and local priorities (including education) and the take-home pay of America’s workers....Perhaps the most important thing Burwell could do is to declare a specific goal for payment reform -- I favor aiming to have 75 percent of Medicare costs paid in some way other than fee-for-service by 2020 -- and then lay out a timetable for how to get there. Such clarity is crucial because health-care providers already anticipate a shift toward value-based payment mechanisms and are poised to respond, but the timing is unclear, as is exactly which new payment model will prevail. This ambiguity impedes strategic planning and action." Peter R. Orszag in Bloomberg View.
EZRA KLEIN: Obamacare derangement syndrome. "Republicans used to talk about Bush Derangement Syndrome....Today, the right struggles with Obamacare Derangement Syndrome: the acute inability to see Obamacare as anything but a catastrophic failure that the American people will soon reject. For those suffering from ODS, all bad Obamacare news is good news, and all good Obamacare news is spin. In this world, delays of minor provisions in the law prove that the entire structure is collapsing, while surges of millions of people enrolling in insurance don't prove anything at all. ODS has kept Republicans from updating their mental model of how Obamacare is doing. To them, the law's disastrous rollout proved that it was doomed. The fact that it recovered beyond anyone's expectations -- literally, not a single analyst or policymaker I spoke to in December thought it credible that the exchanges would sign up 7 million by April, much less 7.5 million -- hasn't made much of an impression." Ezra Klein in Vox.
PONNURU: Why bold policy ideas backfire. "Americans say they want politicians to tackle the big issues and get things done. In 2008, they even elected a presidential candidate who said he was interested in 'fundamentally transforming the United States of America.' Yet almost every time elected officials have tried bold problem-solving in the past 20 years, it has produced a backlash against them. The more ambitious the attempt, the worse the political repercussions have been. The pattern has persisted now through three administrations....Maybe in our era small ball is what people like. If so, then activists with more far-reaching agendas will have to resign themselves to advancing them in small bits. And people considering running for office should know that politics, for the foreseeable future, is probably not going to be much fun." Ramesh Ponnuru in Bloomberg View.
HEALEY: The pre-existing condition tradeoff. "Some critics argue that the ACA raised the cost of insurance unnecessarily by requiring policies to be comprehensive, including some types of coverage that much of the public might opt not to carry (e.g., maternity or mental health). That's a factor, although such coverage is common in group plans, which nevertheless have been considerably less expensive than individual ones. The law also makes it hard for people over age 30 to sign up for bare-bones catastrophic plans, which can be more affordable. A more significant cost factor, though, is guaranteed issue: the ACA's requirement that insurers offer policies to everyone, regardless of how much treatment they may need. The law also requires insurers to charge applicants with preexisting conditions no more than those with clean bills of health, an approach known as community rating. The net result is more costs for insurers to absorb, and those costs have to be spread broadly across the customer base." Jon Healey in the Los Angeles Times.
BLOOMBERG VIEW: How to reset the climate change debate. "It's clear that human behavior is changing the climate, but just how quickly, and with what exact consequences, is harder to say. The precise effects on weather, sea levels, incidence of disease and drought, species diversity, ocean acidification and so forth -- none of this is known with certainty. The point is, it doesn’t need to be. Policies to mitigate climate change are best viewed as insurance against great but imperfectly understood risks. Every voter understands the concept of insurance....In the U.S. and around the world, prominent politicians of every stripe should make clear that the debate over climate change need not demand the unconditional surrender of competing worldviews. It is simply a discussion about the practical and economical steps necessary to manage risk." The Editors.
SAPPER AND MILLER: How federal agencies run amok. "Why do courts find that federal agencies have power that Congress did not clearly give them? Because in 1984, in a decision called Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council, the Supreme Court ruled that if a statute is ambiguous, and the agency’s interpretation of the statute is at least “reasonable,” the agency prevails, even if the court thinks the agency is wrong. Under Chevron, and a similar decision regarding regulations called Auer v. Robbins, the agency -- not a court -- is 'the authoritative interpreter' of the laws and regulations it administers....The result of this reasonable-even-if-wrong yardstick is that impartial judges no longer decide the meaning of ambiguous or silent federal laws and regulations. Except when the Constitution is in question, agencies do. This approach transfers enormous power to federal agencies, which happily see statutory ambiguities and silences everywhere. Agencies know that the expense and uncertainty of proving them not merely wrong but “unreasonable' -- whatever that means -- is so great that few can make the attempt. They thus feel free to casually deprive citizens of their property and freedoms through 'interpretation.' This approach also encourages agencies to purposely issue vague regulations and then resolve politically sensitive questions by 'interpretation.'" Arthur G. Sapper and M. Miller Baker in Forbes.
SALAM: How poor are America's poor? "(a) It is useful to think about absolute household incomes as well as household incomes in relative terms; (b) the quality of public services matters a lot, and Sweden, a country where (for example) the market for education services is much freer than it is in the U.S. seems to do a pretty good job of offering high-quality public services; and (c) it turns out that universal coverage does not mean that households no longer face financial difficulties when it comes to securing medical care, as we see in countries like Germany and France with relatively well-regarded health systems. Many Americans romanticize European social models, and this in turn leads them to embrace public policy solutions that aren’t a good fit for the particular challenges and demands that obtain in the U.S." Reihan Salam in National Review.
Animals interlude: These dogs have such good table manners.
2. Don't get too excited about the dropping federal deficit
The deficit is falling more than we thought — but only for now. "The Congressional Budget Office said Monday that the U.S. deficit this fiscal year will fall even more than previously projected, driven largely by lower estimates on military spending, though it still expects the deficit to begin expanding as soon as 2016. The CBO, citing technical revisions from a February analysis, said the gap between government spending and revenue would fall to $492 billion in the year that ends Sept. 30, 2014, down from the February estimate of $514 billion....The deficit is less than half of its levels during the recent economic downturn, and it was $680 billion in 2013. The gap between spending and revenue has fallen in part because of stronger economic growth, constraints on spending and changes to the tax code that brought in more revenue. But a number of analysts have said the aging U.S. population, a projected decline in the U.S. labor-force participation rate and rising health-care costs will cause the deficit to pick up later this year and continue growing unless policy changes are made." Damian Paletta in The Wall Street Journal.
Primary source: The full CBO report.
As it turns out, we may be headed back toward $1 trillion deficits. "The nation is doomed to return to trillion-dollar shortfalls by 2024 if lawmakers don't alter existing tax and spending policies, congressional auditors warned on Monday. The culprits? Rising health care costs, an aging population, growing interest payments on federal debt, and an expansion of federal subsidies for health insurance, according to the Congressional Budget Office. This rising debt would have serious consequences, CBO warns. Federal spending on interest payments would increase considerably, and lawmakers would have less flexibility to use tax and spending policies to respond to unexpected challenges." Billy House in National Journal.
For now, the declining deficits are keeping foreign critics quiet. "Six months ago, global finance officials meeting in Washington berated the U.S. for failing to put its fiscal house in order. This time, the critics were silent." Ian Katz in Bloomberg.
Maybe this will help the deficit further: The economy keeps thawing. "US retailers have reported their biggest surge in sales since September 2012, arresting a sell off on Wall Street and providing further evidence that the world’s largest economy is breaking out of a slowdown caused by harsh winter weather. Retail sales rose by a seasonally adjusted 1.1 per cent from February to March compared to economist expectations of a 0.8 per cent increase, suggesting that recent weakness in the US economy really was due to bad weather that was masking strong underlying growth." Robin Harding and Michael Mackenzie in Bloomberg.
Consumers are getting more confident about the labor market. "U.S. consumers grew more confident in the labor market last month, with younger workers in particular seeing a greater chance of finding work should they lose their current job, a survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said on Monday. The monthly survey found that consumers in March perceived an average chance of 48.95 percent for finding a new job should they lose their current position. That is up from 46.1 percent in February and nearly matches January's reading of 48.98 percent, which had been the highest since last June. Workers under 40 were the most optimistic." Reuters.
Other economic/financial reads:
IMF members weigh options to sidestep U.S. on reforms. Ian Talley in The Wall Street Journal.
In many cities, rent rising out of reach of middle class. Shaila Dewan in The New York Times.
Windows XP interlude: The story behind the world's most viewed image.
3. Government's projected Obamacare costs are even lower than you thought
Lower-than-expected premiums are driving down Obamacare's costs. "The health-care law's expansion of insurance coverage will cost $104 billion less than projected over the next decade, according to revised estimates from nonpartisan budget analysts Monday. Obamacare's lower-than-expected costs will come largely because premiums will be cheaper than previously thought. Obamacare's coverage provisions in 2014 are expected to cost $5 billion less than the $41 billion the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation projected earlier in the year. The CBO now expects the federal government to spend about $164 billion less in the next decade on subsidies in Obamacare health insurance marketplaces. The CBO's expected costs of the Affordable Care Act's coverage provisions have declined since it was signed four years ago, as you can see in the below chart." Jason Millman in The Washington Post.
...Or are they? Yes, at least for now. Here's why. "And why does it think premiums will be lower? Because it didn’t anticipate what the insurers did: slashing their provider networks to the bone in order to keep premiums low....The good news is that this keeps premiums low. The bad news is that, over time, the CBO doesn’t think this will be sustainable. As more people exit the employer-based market for the exchanges, insurers will have to broaden their networks; they just can’t serve that number of customers with the networks they have, and if they try to keep the networks small, regulators will probably have something to say. Megan McArdle in Bloomberg View.
Good news for Democrats, and just in time. "This is propitious news for Democrats because, due to Sebelius’s impending departure, they’re about to get dragged into relitigating Obamacare. Republicans are planning to use the confirmation hearings for Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who has been nominated to succeed Sebelius, to beat up on the law (some more). The fact that its cost projections keep falling will make that a little harder." Joshua Green in Bloomberg Businessweek.
But will the people learn about this? "The current state of public opinion on health reform is really peculiar. If you’ve been following the issue at all closely, you know that the Affordable Care Act is one of the great comeback stories of public policy: after a terrible start, it has dramatically exceeded expectations. But hardly anyone seems to know that....Here we have smart, pro-reform people living in a state where reform is going really well. And they don’t know it! In part this may reflect the Obama administration’s lackluster job so far in getting the word out. But it also, I think, reflects a persistent anti-ACA tilt in news coverage." Paul Krugman in The New York Times.
Another key point: CBO isn't revising it's enrollment figure upward. Here's why. "The White House has announced that 7.5 million people signed up for coverage on the exchange this year, but the CBO still isn't changing its prediction that 6 million people will have insurance through the marketplace in 2014. What explains the discrepancy? Mostly the expectation that not everyone buying coverage right now will keep it all year. Some of the 7.5 million people, for example, will likely get jobs and transition into employer-sponsored plan (something that becomes especially likely as the economy adds jobs). With some of this churn on and off the exchange the CBO thinks that, at any given time, about 6 million people will have a plan they bought on the exchange. The 6 million estimate also leaves out anyone who signs up for an insurance plan but never pays their first month's premium." Sarah Kliff in Vox.
Other health care reads:
Consumers considering different health plans find little info about abortion coverage. Michelle Andrews in The Washington Post.
How health care has changed since "Mad Men," in four charts. Dan Diamond in Forbes.
E-cigarette makers target youth at festivals, Democratic lawmakers say. Anna Edney in Bloomberg.
Do's and don'ts for Burwell. David Nather in Politico.
Baby interlude: You can't reason with them.
4. The new America shows the GOP's demographic problem
The 'Next America' presents opportunities and challenges. "The America of today bears little resemblance to the country of 50 years ago. It is older. It is less white. And those two demographic trends will only accelerate over the next 50 years....The broad takeaway from Taylor’s outstanding work is that age and ethnicity are reshaping our country, and even our ways of describing each other, rapidly and meaningfully. Those changes mean that assumptions based on the past are extremely dangerous, in politics and everywhere else. We are entering a new age for America. Both parties need to acknowledge that reality and act -- and react -- accordingly." Chris Cillizza in The Washington Post.
Primary source: "The Next America," Pew's full report.
One of the key challenges: The Republican Party's effort to remake itself. "That’s bad news for Republicans, particularly because studies (PDF) have found that young political affiliations often become permanent ones. Many of those young people who voted for Obama will continue voting for Democrats the rest of their lives. As the Silent Generation dwindles and the Baby Boomers reach retirement, the electorate is going to look younger and more liberal. You can see that in two other areas in the Pew report: support for marijuana legalization and same-sex marriage." Danny Vinik in The New Republic.
And remake itself the GOP still is, with two years until the 2016 nomination season. "After the 2012 presidential election, the GOP performed an audit on its electoral performance and announced it might have to change some things if it wanted to attract more votes in four years. Two years later, not much has changed. Most Republican elected officials have not softened their stance on social issues, and attempts to reach other demographics haven't changed the party's base.Based on how things unfolded at the Freedom Summit, many Republicans are perfectly content to continue appealing to the same base that turned out in the 2012 primaries -- the most passionate and conservative fringe of the party -- without worrying about the potential voters they've left out." Jaime Fuller in The Washington Post.
Signs of at least some change on social issues? "Something strange happened last weekend. At a recent conservative confab that attracted many top Republicans, no one railed against same-sex marriage....Critiques of states' same-sex marriage laws were curiously absent. And when the topic did surface in speeches by people like Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, they showcased a softer side of their party. Social conservatives may not have raised the white flag on same-sex marriage yet, but their party's leaders are in search of something of a compromise." Emma Roller in National Journal.
Data suggest Republicans have a race problem "This doesn't mean that all Republicans are racist, of course, or that all Democrats are free of racism. Indeed, as the Harvard implicit bias test shows, we're all carrying around racial baggage of some sort or another. But the survey findings above indicate that Republicans have more work to do to address such prejudice within their ranks. There's an obvious moral imperative behind this, but there's also a strategic one: A party can't sustain itself if it continues to grow older and whiter while the rest of the nation grows younger and more diverse." Christopher Ingraham in The Washington Post.
Chart: How America's racial demographics are changing. Matthew Yglesias in Vox.
Air travel interlude: Hilarious safety lecture.
5. When did the U.S. know of 'Heartbleed' (and why it matters)?
Google knew of 'Heartbleed' — but didn't alert the government. "Google knew about a critical flaw in Internet security, but it didn't alert anyone in the government....Google was able to patch most of its services -- such as email, search, and YouTube -- before the companies publicized the bug on April 7. The researchers also notified a handful of other companies about the bug before going public. The security firm CloudFlare, for example, said it fixed the flaw on March 31. But the White House said Friday that no one in the federal government knew about the problem until April. The administration made the statement to deny an earlier Bloomberg report that the National Security Agency had been exploiting Heartbleed for years....Companies often wait to publicize a security flaw so they can have time to patch their own services. But keeping the bug secret from the U.S. government may have left federal systems vulnerable to hackers. The IRS said it's not aware of any vulnerabilities in its system, but other agencies that use OpenSSL could have been leaking private information to hackers." Brendan Sasso in National Journal.
Loopholes in the administration's 'Heartbleed' response? "The Obama administration is looking to rein in the controversial practice of spies exploiting software glitches, but the secrecy surrounding the reforms is getting blowback from tech companies and privacy activists. The new policy, unveiled in response to questions about the National Security Agency’s (NSA) knowledge of the massive 'Heartbleed' software glitch, directs agents to tell tech companies about discovered bugs so they can be fixed instead of keeping mum and using them for their own purposes....The lack of any formal policy paper or memorandum caused civil liberties advocates to worry that that exception in the policy could be too broad. Unlike other administration efforts, such as curbing the government’s collection of people’s phone records, activists weren’t consulted on the new policy, they said." Julian Hattem in The Hill.
Today I learned this interlude: It's spring, so here's why we get allergies.
What Crimea teaches us about the perils of personalized maps. Emily Badger.
Medicare reversed payment cuts, and not many are happy about it. Jason Millman.
The world’s cities are gobbling up land faster than they’re gaining people. Emily Badger.
Lower premiums (yes, really) drive down Obamacare’s expected costs, CBO says. Jason Millman.
Data suggest Republicans have a race problem. Christopher Ingraham.
EPA drastically underestimates methane released at drilling sites. Neela Banerjee in the Los Angeles Times.
Nonprofits caught in pension crossfire. Cameron McWhirter in The Wall Street Journal.
TV just came around on global warming. Will anyone care? Jason Plautz in National Journal.
GM faces more tests as documents show culture of denial. Jeff Green and Tim Higgins in Bloomberg.
Obama is nudging the White House toward gender pay equity. Brandy Zadrozny in The Daily Beast.
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Wonkbook is produced with help from Michelle Williams.