Today’s Links: July 20, 2012


AMITY SHLAES: “Let States Do the Tax-Collecting Dirty Work
But the best ideas don’t spread spontaneously. That line from the New York Times columnist Bill Keller about state experiments involving President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act reflects a prevalent attitude: States that break away with original fiscal plans come up with subpar results that waste everyone’s time. […] Yet long before this administration came along, states began running off from their own pack of fellow states, experimenting with their own tax base. And these experiments, too, have often been condemned for squandering time and money. But what if the state experiments are worthwhile, and one of them uncovers the best idea in economic policy? Perhaps that idea could spread without coordinated help from officials in Washington.”

MICHAEL TANNER: “Obama Encouraging Americans to Get On Welfare
“The Obama administration clearly doesn’t believe that enough Americans are receiving welfare. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius last week issued an order giving the Obama administration greater authority to waive work requirements included in the 1998 welfare reform law. This comes on top of a new ad campaign, using Spanish-language soap operas, to encourage more Latinos to sign up for food stamps.”

WILL OREMUS: “Bad Idea of the Week: Install Tracking Devices on Every Car And Tax Drivers by the Mile”
“Looking for a way to raise money for roads and public transit, San Francisco Bay Area transportation officials have decided to look into a novel idea: Taxing drivers for every mile they drive. The hypothetical tax—which at this point is only being studied as part of a long-range plan—could run from as little as a penny to as much as a dime per mile, perhaps depending on the time of day, according to the Associated Press.”


GOVERNMENT SPENDING – Spanish firemen strip naked to protest spending cuts
“Eight firemen posed in the nude in a Spanish town on Thursday to protest against sweeping new government austerity measures that include public sector wage cuts and tax increases.”

SMOKING – Paris Wants Smokers to Kick a Bad Habit: Tossing Butts in the Street
“Ever since France banned smoking in public places more than four years ago, Parisians have felt little compunction about throwing their cigarette butts into the streets and gutters, overwhelming the city’s ability to keep them clean.”

STUDENT LOANS – Study: Private student loans parallel subprime
“Risky lending caused private student loan debt to balloon in the past decade, leaving many Americans struggling to pay off loans that they can’t afford, a government study says.”