E.J. Dionne instructs us that our government spends more time taking from the poor and giving to the rich than the other way around. He cites an ITEP report showing that the very, very rich pay a much smaller percentage of their income to states and municipalities than the very, very poor do. Why? Partly because regressive taxes at the state and local levels cut a bigger chunk from poor folks' income than from rich folks'. But that America vaults to the top of the income-inequality list after government moves money around is extremely telling -- and precisely the opposite of how right-wingers say things are.
Mike Konczal describes the three-front war Republicans are waging on financial sector regulation. Long story short: they're trying to attach deregulation amendments to must-pass bills, defund regulatory agencies as much as possible, and pretend the Dodd-Frank law is a "pro-bailout" law though it's not. It's an argument of pure chaos, the third prong requiring that you remember the 2008 meltdown and the first two requiring that you forget it -- but never underestimate the power of the "liberal" media to enable their corporate paymasters.
The Consumerist reminds you that, among other things, checking your credit score won't actually hurt your credit score. In other news, closing credit cards could actually hurt your score (by affecting your ratio of debt to total available credit), and how you manage other aspects of your personal finances almost never affects your score. I've long found this whole process mystifying (and I suspect the finance sector mystifies it on purpose), so I'm always happy to find and pass along good information.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) suggests that over half of Americans getting Social Security disability benefits are "gaming the system." Specifically, he says over half (actually less than 42%, but never mind) of Americans are "either anxious or their back hurts" (actually have mood disorders or serious musculoskeletal problems, but never mind), and since everyone "get(s) up a little anxious for work every day" and "(e)verybody over 40 has a little back pain," well, that must mean fraud, though in actuality very little fraud afflicts SSI. Note how he shifts from "anxious" to "a little anxious" and from back pain to "a little back pain"? He's not even any good at lying! Sadly, this is all part of the Republican plan to turn seniors against people on disability.
Finally, Duke University cancels a Muslim call to prayer from its chapel bell tower after pressure from supporters of the Rev. Franklin Graham -- and also, apparently, after a "credible and serious security threat." If that latter item is true, that makes Duke's cowardice so, so much worse -- while the correct response to Mr. Graham is only "oh, shut up, you whiny rich brat," the correct response to a "credible and serious security threat" is to double down on security and go on with the event. Our elite institutions certainly should not teach us that it's OK for a terroristic threat to stop any progress from happening, anywhere, at any time.