Monday, April 11, 2011

Assorted News Links

A few things that caught my eye from twitter and other news sources today:

"Taxing the Rich," by Nancy Folbre, Economix (New York Times blog) 4/11/2011, excerpt:

Would higher rates be unfair? The top 1 percent has increased its share of total income to more than 20 percent today from about 10 percent in the 1960s.

Those who believe that income can be generated only by brilliant innovation, bold risk-taking and hard work may conclude that this group has simply grown more productive over time. It seems more likely that changes in the structure of the global economy have delivered rich windfalls to those at the top.

Would higher rates be inefficient? Many argue that lower tax rates on the rich encourage more effort and more investment. If true, much depends on where this effort and investment goes. The development of new credit derivatives didn’t help most American taxpayers. It forced them to lend money to bail out big banks.

"Do More With Less," by Digby 4/10/2011, on Eric Cantor and the safety net (that he says fewer people need and that's why we should do away with Medicare and Medicaid).

"Conservative Economists Criticize 'Off The Deep End' Republican Budget," by Brian Beutler,, 4/11/2011, excerpt:
While the government teetered on the brink of a shutdown last week over short term funding, economists across the ideological spectrum weighed in on the GOP's long-term plan with negative reviews. The biggest shock came from high-profile economists with GOP leanings, who also criticized it on the merits.

"Corbett's cuts look a little too lopsided," By Brian O'Neill, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 4/10/2011.

"Legal Intelligencer / On shale policy, DEP head should have known better," excerpt:
Those types of political/policy issues come up all the time when new governors are sworn in. But the item that's really pushed a lot of people over the edge was the recent news that the Department of Environmental Protection is requiring inspectors to have the DEP's secretary, Michael Krancer, sign off on any notice of a violation related to Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling. Prior to that, inspectors could issue citations without having to get prior approval from DEP head honchos.

One source well-versed in Pennsylvania political influence told us there's only one reason for such a policy move: to protect favored people from enforcement. Other lawyers we spoke to said there's a second reason: to discourage inspectors from trying to issue citations in the first place. Because who wants the boss reviewing every single decision they make? A policy like that can quickly have a chilling effect.

"Pa. legislative staff size makes for budget target,' by Mark Scolforo, Morning Call, 4/09/2011 has a list of donations from the Students First PAC, a pro-educational voucher group, to various Pennsylvania political campaigns, totaling over $6 Million.

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