Jared Bernstein notices that Rep. Paul Ryan wants to reduce "improperly-claimed tax credits" to working families -- and who doesn't? -- but has not advocated taking similar steps to force businesses to report all their income. So, again, for Republicans, rules are for the little people, not for big corporations. Yes, I'm going to keep pointing this hypocrisy out until everyone is able to recite it in their sleep.
David Cay Johnston finds that as older businesses have come to dominate the economy, the income gap between rich and poor has grown, and wages and growth have become stagnant. And get your surprised face ready: it started to get that way in the early 1980s, and now it's to the point where businesses 11 years or older now account for about half of all businesses in America (up from a third in 1987). Lesson: laws and regulations that protect older firms stifle our economy. And you know the powers-that-be will still blame our slow economy on laws and regulations that actually protect people.
In Other Completely Surprising News, Fingerhut makes renting-to-own look more affordable by jacking up retail prices. You'll see, among other things, a 58" LED TV offered for $59.99 monthly over two years, one that supposedly costs $899 ("down from $999," naturally!) go for a little over $600 on Amazon. And at $59.99 a month for two years, you'd wind up spending over $1,400 for that
$999 $899 $609 TV! I should add that if the infernally cautious Sen. Casey (D-PA) is calling on the FTC and CFPB to investigate this matter, it must be bad.
Scott Klinger at the Center for Effective Government covers the 102 years of the federal income tax. You'll learn how tariffs on imported goods were the main source of federal government revenue for many years (and, naturally, that meant our government raised most of its revenue from the middle and lower classes, since they spent more of their income on imported goods than rich folk). You'll also learn how the Supreme Court struck down a modest tax on the rich -- and how a constitutional amendment permitted the income tax.
Arkansas legislators pass bill prohibiting municipalities from enacting any anti-discrimination law that might benefit gays. Because TEH GAYZ!!!!! And, I guess, RELIJUZ FREEDUMZ!!!!! Yes, in some parts of America, only bigots have religious freedoms. And yes, I'm going to make sure you can recite that in your sleep, too.
Finally, scientists have found a natural material even stronger than spider silk -- millimeter-long teeth of aquatic snails. Imagine a strand of spaghetti holding up a one-pound bag of sugar and you'll get a sense of how strong this stuff is. Granted, it's tough to simply extrapolate what's strong at one millimeter and make it similarly strong at, say, three feet, but it's still worth it to study it, and to try it.