Today’s Links: September 20, 2011


Dahlia Lithwick: “A Killer Issue: Republicans Like Rick Perry Are Skeptical of Everything the Government Does—Except When it Kills People
“In recent weeks, leading Republicans have made plain they don’t believe in government-run health care (lo, even unto death). They don’t believe in inoculating children again HPV (lo, even unto death). They don’t believe in government-run disaster relief (ditto, re death), the minimum wage, Social Security, or the Federal Reserve. There is nothing, it seems—from protecting civil rights to safeguarding the environment—that big government bureaucracies can’t foul up.But there is one exception: killing people. These same Republicans who are dubious of government’s ability to do anything right have an apparently bottomless faith in the capital-justice system. Everything is broken in America, they claim—except the machinery of death.”

Richard Rahn: “Stealth Wealth Tax
“The stealth wealth tax may be the single-largest tax ever imposed on the American people, yet virtually no one knows about it. What is particularly unconscionable about this tax is that it has been imposed upon the most responsible citizens and the elderly in a most disproportionate way, and the real tax rate on American savers has soared to record levels.”

Veronique de Rugy: “Who Wants to Tax a Millionaire?
“The Obama administration needs money — a lot of money — to pay for past and future stimulus, particularly because its so-called stimulus proposals have failed to reduce unemployment and will continue to fail. That’s why it’s not surprising that the president is once again trying to get tax revenue from the people with the most money to spare, hence the new proposal for a tax meant to hit millionaires – in this case the so-called Buffett tax, named after billionaire Warren Buffett— which would prevent millionaires from paying lower tax rates than middle-class Americans.”


PATENTS – Study: Patent Trolls Have Cost Innovators Half a Trillion Dollars
“Three Boston University researchers have produced a rigorous empirical estimate of the cost of patent trolling. And the number is breath-taking: patent trolls (“non-practicing entity” is the clinical term) have cost publicly traded defendants $500 billion since 1990. And the problem has become most severe in recent years. In the last four years, the costs have averaged $83 billion per year. The study says this is more than a quarter of US industrial research and development spending during those years.”

POST OFFICE – Obama Endorses Ending One Day of Mail Service
“President Barack Obama said Monday the U.S. Postal Service should be allowed to reduce mail delivery to five-days-a-week to help cut its massive losses.The Postal Service lost $8.5 billion last year and is facing even more red ink this year as the Internet siphons off large amounts of first-class mail and the weak economy reduces advertising mail.”

PRISONS – U.S. States Seek to Privatize Prisons
“US states are set to privatise scores of prisons as they try to close gaping budget deficits, creating significant new markets for the industry’s biggest private contractors. In Florida alone, 29 state prisons are set to be privatised. This represents the largest prison privatisation programme in US history, according to Tobey Sommer, an analyst covering the private prison market at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, an investment bank based in Atlanta.”