Morning Must Reads: Baseline

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Rep. Paul Ryan checks his watch during a House Budget Committee hearing on President Obama’s 2012 budget on February 15. (REUTERS/Jason Reed)

–Citing economic drivers and defense, the White House issues a veto threat over Republican cuts for this year’s budget.

–Stan Collender thinks a government shutdown is likelier than ever given the House GOP’s internal revolt over the scope of cuts.

–Disingenuousness is par for the course in budget debates, and there are both rosy economic projections and unrealistic tax code changes in Obama’s proposal. But when you hear Rep. Paul Ryan and the Republican budget committee talk about “$8.7 trillion in new spending,” you should know what their baseline is:

…the Committee assumed the president needs to freeze all spending, without adjustments for inflation or population growth, for 10 years. Moreover, it makes this assumption for all spending, even mandatory programs such as Social Security and Medicare, which need to be changed by law.

–Rep. Ryan says entitlement reform will be included in the 2012 Republican budget to be released in April.

–Jonathan Cohn explains the political¬†difficulty¬†of dealing with health care inflation in the budget debate.

–More from Nate Silver on approval ratings and the proto-presidential primary field.

–Mitt Romney is not so popular with those who erroneously think Obama was born abroad. Contra to conventional wisdom, New Hampshire Tea Partiers love him.

–Things I didn’t know: Connecticut’s new governor has severe dyslexia and motor function impairment that render him unable to write or type. He’s also not a fan of Chris Christie.

–State union workers march on Madison, Wisconsin over Governor Scott Walker’s plan to curtail bargaining rights and benefits.

–Egypt’s transition plan.

–Hillary Clinton talks internet freedom.

–Iran’s nuclear program bounces back after Stuxnet.

–A report released Monday suggested new transparency regulations enacted by Dodd-Frank on the market for derivatives, complex financial instruments originally used to hedge against changes in commodity prices, would cost thousands of jobs. But supposed advisers to the firm that conducted the study went scuttling when asked about its merits. The House GOP is holding hearings on derivatives regulation this week.

–And Newt’s been “frugging.”

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