President Obama talks on the phone with Prime Minister Naoto Kan of Japan at the White House on Wednesday night, March 16. (White House/Pete Souza)
–From the newsstand edition of TIME: Why it’s cost not safety that’s holding back nuclear power in the U.S., how Japan can recover, and why the Mideast’s revolution has just begun. Plus: Arresting photographs from a quake-shattered nation.
–Rep. Dave Camp thinks the individual and corporate tax rate sweet spot is 25%.
–Earmark bans don’t eliminate pet projects.
–Tim Pawlenty doesn’t want to see defense cuts or a civilian push to drawdown Afghanistan.
–Philip Klein argues mainstream Republicans often act out Mitch Daniels’ social issues “truce,” whether they talk about it or not.
–Jim DeMint gives Romney cover on health care: “One of the reasons I endorsed Romney [in 2008] is his attempts to make private health insurance available at affordable prices.”
–Despite frequent arguments to the contrary, President Obama’s reelection doesn’t hang on one state or another.
–The Fed, FDIC and nascent CFPB are harder to get at, so it seems Republicans are focusing a lot of their counter-Dodd-Frank efforts on the SEC and CFTC. Of course the latest legislation is going nowhere in a Democratic Senate or Obama White House, so budgets are still where the battle is.
–As Senate Democrats harden against changes to Social Security, Ezra Klein suggestes lifting the payroll-tax cap.
–Madison’s famous $160,000 bus driver was earning that in overtime, not salary, but the union was still goosing the pension system.
–And the White House pulled the plug on a transparency award ceremony scheduled for yesterday.