(Jim Young / Reuters)
–Democrats and Republicans have reached a number for budget cuts in 2011, reportedly good for $33 billion. The problems remaining: What to cut, which if any riders will be included and whether Speaker Boehner can get the conservative wing of his caucus on board.
–Mitt Romney, who once operated under the assumption that the economy would improve by 2012 and focused his critiques elsewhere, hits Obama on unemployment in the pages of USA Today.
–Public pessimism on the state of the economy is growing, but most Americans aren’t yet blaming President Obama.
–Alan Blinder argues Japan’s disaster, Euro sovereign debt, domestic fiscal impasse or oil price panic could make the recovery take a turn for the worse.
–Tim Pawlenty decries “fiat money” from the Fed and a commodity-backed dollar. It’s worth asking: Have the financial crisis, recession and Ron Paul reset mainstream conservative thought on monetary policy for good?
–Liberals are incensed by the not-new fact that Obama adviser Jeffrey Immelt’s company, GE, effectively pays no taxes. You can chalk it up to very different tax rules for financial firms — GE Capital is a larger piece of the pie than many people realize — and a bunch of credits and breaks that enjoy plenty of bipartisan support in Washington. That and really good accountants.
–Reuters reports Obama authorized the CIA to support rebels on the ground in Libya.
–Marco Rubio, embracing the neo-cons and stepping into the spotlight, urges a Senate authorization vote on Libya.
–Danger Room explores what appears to be a major conflict of interest atop DARPA, the Pentagon’s storied research arm.
–In this week’s newsstand issue of TIME: Obama’s priorities in Libya, Michele Bachmann is for real, natural gas holds incredible promise with many caveats, and Joe reports from Palestine. It’s so much prettier in print.
–And Obama won’t be throwing the first pitch today.