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The Daily Grind

10:21 AM, Feb 24, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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Obama in '05: 51-vote nuclear option is arrogant power grab against Founders' intent.

Obama's new investment tax: "This new ObamaCare bargain would for the first time apply the 2.9% Medicare payroll tax to "interest, dividends, annuities, royalties and rents," so-called passive income that we are told includes capital gains, though the latter wasn't explicitly mentioned in the proposal. This antigrowth investment tax would apply to singles earning more than $200,000 and joint filers over $250,000 and comes on top of the Senate's 0.9-percentage-point increase in the payroll tax, which would bring the combined employee-employer share to 3.8%."

Video: Gen. Petraeus on leadership in tough times.

Jay Cost explains reconciliation challenges: "Budget reconciliation is a risky legislative strategy with much uncertainty. The Democrats are looking to use decades-old rules to do something the rule makers never envisioned. I don't know whether they can succeed - and I don't think anybody does yet, either."

Photo: "Michigan lawmakers were greeted upon their return to work today by an imaginative display of antitax sentiment, dozens of snowmen arrayed on the lawn of the state Capitol."

Welcome to New York: "Months after it barred schools from holding most food fundraisers, the city says bake sales can go on—as long as no homemade treats with undisclosed calorie counts grace the fold-out tables."

"How hard is it going to be for the White House and the Democratic Party to pass health care? Just look at the math they now face in the House of Representatives. Back in November, the House health-care bill passed, 220-215, with 39 Democrats voting against and one Republican voting for it. But that 220 number has since declined: The one Republican, Joseph Cao, now says he’ll vote no; John Murtha passed away; Robert Wexler left the House (the special election isn’t until April 13); and Neil Abercrombie is officially exiting on Friday to run for Hawaii governor. With those three Dem vacancies, you need 217 votes for passage (instead of the usual 218), but the Cao/Murtha/Wexler/Abercrombie changes mean that Speaker Nancy is now at 216. What’s more, Bart Stupak says he can’t support the Senate bill’s abortion language, so Pelosi is at least 215 -- not factoring in other “no” votes Stupak might take with him."

Game on? White House Chief Technology Officer Andrew McLaughlin said Republicans and conservative Tea Party activists should strive to push the administration to make its policies more open...“I would be thrilled to make this a type of political competition ... to see who can be more radical in their openness, in their data distribution models ... trying to prove to the citizens they can run a better government,” said McLaughlin, a former executive at Google.

Video of James Cameron: Sure, I may lose an Oscar to my ex-wife, but only because she's a woman.

Should we worry about the health and safety of Mrs. Reid?

Intense negotiations over bipartisan summit yield...no podium.

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