NPR's Planet Money explains the history of the sales tax in the United States by tracing what kinds of sandwiches get taxed and why: How the Burrito Became a Sandwich. Bonus: In-N-Out Burger history in the podcast.
A former magazine writer in his late fifties moves to San Diego and lives on very little money indeed. In the October 1977 issue of The Atlantic, he describes the stratagems behind his thriftiness. [more inside]
[E]ven if you are unemployed you still receive a base amount of [vacation money] from the government, the reasoning being that if you can’t go on vacation, you’ll get depressed and despondent and you’ll never get a job.After a year and a half of living in the Netherlands, American writer Russell Shorto compares the Dutch "welfare state" to the tax, health care and social security systems of the United States.
But does the cartoon image of [the Dutch system] — encapsulated in the dread slur "socialism," which is being lobbed in American political circles like a bomb — match reality? Is there, maybe, a significant upside that is worth exploring? [...] I think it’s worth pondering how the best bits might fit.
The Average Man's Tax Dollars from thetoiletpaper.com
A flood of red ink This time the turnaround will be much tougher. There will be no “peace dividend” from the end of the cold war (indeed, the pressure on military spending may continue to increase). America is unlikely to see another stockmarket bubble, with its surge in tax revenues. As baby-boomers retire, the pressure from entitlement spending will be more acute. Set against this background, the path back to a sustainable fiscal policy will be extremely painful, even without any dramatic fiscal crisis. Long after Dubya is back on his ranch, Americans will be trying to recover from the mess he created.
22 year old schizophrenic Farrah Russell was rebuilding her life. But when the plug was pulled on the state program that allowed her to subsist, she took her life. Her heartbreaking story is a cautionary tale of the dark consequences of state budget cuts. While politicians argue over tax stimulus proposals that benefit the wealthy, while wild numbers are applied to war budgets, the States have been forced to cut social programs in order to survive. Whether it's California teachers, Connecticut and New York residents dreading tax hikes, Pennsylvania public transportation, or Texas prescription drug coverage for the poor, the States, supposedly United, have been left out to dry. While the States have been forced to cut their programs, groping for survival, Washington remains silent in its mission. It does not remember history. Why do we turn a blind eye to the hidden costs? What can be done about this? And how do we make it stop?