Illinois becomes the first state to offer what's essentially an automatic IRA program for the state's private sector workers; the program deducts three percent of a worker's paycheck for the account. Automatic participation, of course, does ensure more participation, and probably more enthusiastic participation as well; with Vermont's Governor having scuttled that state's single-payer plans, this may have to do for a state pioneering a program that could one day go national.
Ho hum, House Republicans have decided to force the Government Accounting Office (or GAO) to use "dynamic scoring" in its analyses of House bills. Remember that when Republicans tell you that tax cuts actually boost government revenue (which data "dynamic scoring" is supposed to capture), you need only point to the ongoing slow disaster that is Kansas's budget crisis to prove them wrong. You might point to a few dozen other examples as well -- or to the massive increase in federal revenues following the return of the 39.6 percent tax bracket in 2013.
The Washington Post finds itself skeptical that the medical device tax has really eliminated tens of thousands of jobs. Among the findings: the larger the study, the less likely it'll find that the tax has actually "killed any jobs." And while a few Congressfolk have testified that numerous businesses tell them they're foregoing hiring because of the tax, none of these Congressfolk seem skeptical that a CEO might tell them that for, you know, some other reason, like they don't want to pay the tax. And, you know, taxes aren't the only reason anyone ever does anything.
Sendhil Mullainathan writes an extremely thoughtful rundown of recent social service research indicating that we're often more guilty of racism than we think. You'll undoubtedly be familiar with some of it -- résumés with "black-sounding" names getting less attention than identical ones with "white-sounding" names, blacks getting worse offers at used car lots than whites, blacks getting shown fewer apartments than whites, et cetera. You may also find the author's description of the difference between "fast" and "slow" thinking illuminating.
Finally, Catholic League President Bill Donohue satisfies his craving for attention for at least a few minutes by saying the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists "provoked" the terrorist attack that left a dozen folks (including two police officers) dead. BFD that Mr. Donohue condemned the violence, like that's the bar to which we should aspire -- people who massacre others over perceived insults are much worse than diaper-loaded brats, yet a virulent strain of immaturity still sits at the center of these acts, and I'm pretty sure that's why Mr. Donohue seems to have a place in his heart for them. Have we vowed never again to speak of Mr. Donohue yet? If not, let's do that now.