Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals rules that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects gays from discrimination at the workplace. The word "gay" doesn't appear in the Civil Rights Act, but the Court ruled, essentially, that discriminating against gay workers isn't appreciably different from discriminating against workers because of their sex, which latter item is in the Civil Rights Act. An 11th Circuit panel reached the opposite conclusion last month, but don't bet that even a Neil Gorsuch-infused Supreme Court would strike down such a ruling, at least as long as Anthony Kennedy is still around.
One great economist, Paul Craig Roberts, briefly describes the work of another great economist, Michael Hudson. You'll learn how classical economists use the term "rent" (i.e., "an income stream that has no counterpart in cost incurred by the receipient of the income stream," not necessarily what you pay your landlord). Also, "(c)lassical economists, such as Adam Smith, understood a free market to be one in which taxation freed the economy from untaxed economic rents. In neoliberal economics, Hudson explains, 'free market' means freedom for rent extraction free of government taxation and regulation. This is a huge difference." And if you were to suddenly see rents everywhere in this economy, you wouldn't be alone.
Third-party private tax collectors will begin operating soon, and given all the The Consumerist tells you what you need to know. Long story short: the IRS won't outsource just any old tax collection effort, you'll still get written notices from the IRS and the private collector before you get any phone calls, the private collector still can't call you just any old time, you can opt out of working with the private collector, and private collectors will by law direct you to pay the IRS, not them. I'd still prefer the IRS just did all the work they're mandated to do, though of course they can't mainly because Republicans have been starving their budget for years.
From the "Racism is Not Dead" department: a ProPublica analysis of four states finds car insurance corporations charging higher premiums to folks in minority neighborhoods, though these folks don't actually cost car insurers more! This "may amount to a subtler form of redlining," they say, which is quite an understated way of putting it. You'll also find that the article includes many criticisms of its methods -- and refutes just about all of them. (That doesn't stop the trolls in the comment section, because what reason ever stopped a troll?)
Harold Meyerson at The American Prospect thinks "Republicans have made a key miscalculation in their decades-long strategy of attacking social programs," since their white working-class supporters need these programs more and more now. I'm sure the poll figures cited are quite accurate, but I remember saying a long time ago that folks would be more sanguine toward food stamps as they knew more people using them (or had to use them themselves) and I'm just not seeing it. All that seems to happen is that the 25% of this country that's bat-guano crazy (a sector which, sadly, overlaps pretty well with "downwardly-mobile whites") just gets crazier.
Finally, Republicans get rid of filibuster for Supreme Court nominees, clearing the way for the confirmation of Judge Gorsuch to the high court. And Sen. McConnell (E-KY) had this to say: "There cannot be two sets of standards: one for the nominees of the Democratic president and another for the nominee of a Republican president." Of course, the Republican standard for "nominees of the Democratic President" is to completely fail to even hold hearings, which they did in 2016, and were planning to do if Mrs. Clinton won the Presidency, and surely would have done in 2009, too, if they'd had a Senate majority then. Good citizens of Kentucky, could you please turn out this clown in 2020? And Democrats: how about running candidates who might inspire people to vote for them?