No, Single Mothers Are Not Breaking the Budget

Amanda Marcotte answers an increasingly common argument from the right about single mothers and how if they'd all just find a man and get married, they'd stop costing us so much in public assistance payments. Some examples of this argument being made: … [Read more...]

Welfare Fraud as Rare as Voter Fraud

We've seen several states run by Republicans launch major investigations to find voter fraud that they claim is rampant only to come up almost entirely empty. Maine Gov. Scott LePage decided to give it a try with welfare fraud and -- surprise, surprise -- finds only a tiny problem. But like always, they announce it as though it supported their initial claims. … [Read more...]

Teachers Offered Loans to Do Their Job

Sometimes a single image just sums up perfectly what is wrong with an issue or a society. This one certainly seems to capture the problems in our educational system. It's an email sent to teachers by a credit union offering to loan them money to buy school supplies they should already have. … [Read more...]

‘Defense’ Budget Remains Untouchable

The new budget deal struck by Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray leaves one part of the budget untouched by the knife, what we absurdly call the "defense" budget. While social spending is slashed, the military will still be getting far more money than they should have. … [Read more...]

Ryan’s Appeal to Right Wing on Budget Deal

Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray have reached a compromise budget deal that they hope will avoid another government shutdown and more bloodletting in Congress. Conservatives have reacted mostly with skepticism, but Ryan went on Meet the Press and offered this argument for why conservatives should support it: … [Read more...]

Rand Paul Tells Lies in Detroit

Jeff Wattrick, one of Michigan's best muckraking journalists, went to hear Rand Paul's speech to the Detroit Economic Club last week and asked him a simple question: Why did you vote to continue subsidizing crop insurance for tobacco farmers? His response was a rather blatant lie. … [Read more...]

Feds Sell Off Last Stake in General Motors

The Treasury Department has sold off the last of its stock in General Motors, closing the books on the nearly $50 billion in taxpayer money loaned to keep the automaker open. In the end, they got back all but $10 billion, which is one of the best bargains I've ever heard of. … [Read more...]

Study: Higher Corporate Taxes = Jobs

One of the most enduring myths of conservatism is that lower taxes on the wealthy and on businesses means more jobs. And it's certainly true at some point when taxes are extraordinarily high, but that situation does not exist. A new study finds that corporations who paid higher taxes created far more jobs over the last few years than those who paid none. … [Read more...]

Undocumented Workers Pay More Taxes Than Many Companies

A new study estimates that undocumented workers pay more than $11 billion a year in taxes (and would, of course, pay far more if they were given legal status and could come out of the shadow economy). ThinkProgress compares that to General Electric, which paid no taxes in 2010. … [Read more...]

The Other Side of the Parsonage Tax Exemption

Peter Reilly, a CPA and tax policy expert, makes a very good point in discussing the Freedom From Religion Foundation's so-far successful lawsuit against the parsonage tax exemption. It turns out that while this benefit helps ministers a lot, there are other provisions in the tax code that hurt them enormously and without justification. … [Read more...]

American Atheists Challenges IRS Religious Preferences

The Freedom From Religion Foundation won a very important lawsuit this week against the parsonage tax exemption for churches, with their argument being that because it applies only to Christian churches, it is a special benefit for churches and thus unconstitutional. American Atheists has a similar suit going on another case of disparate treatment, the lower reporting requirements for churches under section 501(c) of the IRS code. Kimberly Winston writes about that case at Religion News Service. … [Read more...]

Why Private Charity Can’t Replace Government Programs

One of the arguments from conservatives and libertarians that leaves me shaking my head is the claim that if the government would just stop helping poor people, private charity would make up the difference. Christopher Flavelle crunches the numbers and shows why this is nonsense. … [Read more...]