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Current Affairs

April 16, 2014

"Social Security stops trying to collect on old debts by seizing tax refunds"

Just three days after the Washington Post revealed the heinous practice, the Social Security Administration announced "it will immediately cease efforts to collect on taxpayers’ debts to the government that are more than 10 years old."

Commentary by Ed Morrissey and by Megan McArdle

I'd say it's another example of Justice Brandeis's fine axiom, "Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants."

"23 Global Warming & Climate Change Stories All Americans Should Read Before Earth Day"

Excellent list

April 15, 2014

"Want A 70 Percent Tax Cut? A Libertarian Government Could Deliver It"

The author well knows--as do the readers--that this is, currently, but a dream

But a journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step. 


"This Ultimate Map Shows Where People Are Moving Inside The United States"

"This map shows the net domestic migration for each county in the U.S. for the year between July 1, 2012, and July 1, 2013, adjusted by the original 2012 population. Counties with positive net domestic migration (more people moving in than moving out) are in blue and counties with negative net migration are in red . . . 

"The most startling aspect is the mass of dark blue in western North Dakota and eastern Montana. It coincides with the Bakken Formation, ground zero of the recent shale oil boom.

"The map also shows the trend of people leaving areas in the Northeast and Midwest — and of people moving to the Southeast."

April 14, 2014

And so it begins (maybe)

Sooner or later, most Americans will get tired of paying so much in taxes for such poor results. Maybe this is the beginning of "sooner": "New York Legislators Just Did The Unthinkable, And Voters Will Love It".

(Maybe this map hints at future developments.)

"Where did all the bandits go? At one time, bank robberies were part of L.A.'s daily routine. Not so anymore."

We're not sure of the reasons why, but regardless, it's a welcome development

"The Essence of Antitrust and Regulation"

Don Boudreaux summarizes the unpleasant truth about antitrust:

Antitrust began in 1889, with the enactment of a dozen or so state statutes, as an effort to protect economically inefficient but politically influential producers (chiefly, local butchers) from the competition of more economically efficient but politically less popular producers (chiefly, the newly emergent Chicago meatpackers with their newfangled refrigerated railroad cars).  (See also here.)  The 1890 Sherman Act, at the national level, reflected this populist reaction against market-unleashed creative destruction.  The absurdity of antitrust reached its legislative zenith with the 1936 Robinson-Patman Act.

April 11, 2014

Our federal tax dollars at work

This should astound and disgust all Americans. (Please note the source.)

Marc Fisher, Washington Post: "Social Security, Treasury target taxpayers for their parents’ decades-old debts".

And as happens so often recently, No One is responsible:

The aggressive effort to collect old debts started three years ago — the result of a single sentence tucked into the farm bill lifting the 10-year statute of limitations on old debts to Uncle Sam.

No one seems eager to take credit for reopening all these long-closed cases. A Social Security spokeswoman says the agency didn’t seek the change; ask Treasury. Treasury says it wasn’t us; try Congress. Congressional staffers say the request probably came from the bureaucracy.

Complete absence of due process, to say nothing of elementary fairness and common sense? Check. Absolutely no one accountable? Check.

A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything you have? Check, check, check!

April 09, 2014

"Redefining the Problem of Our Time"

Arnold Kling, as he virtually always is, right on the money:

If you had asked me, I would have said that the defining issue of our time is unsustainable government finance. Most major national governments have made promises that they are unlikely to keep. Our state and local governments are cutting back on services, and in a few cases going bankrupt, in order to pay pensions to former employees. The outlook for politics is grim.

"A demand for silence is not a sign of intellectual self-confidence."

A'int that the truth.

See also Joel Kotkin, "The spread of 'debate is over' syndrome".

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