Congress cuts LIHEAP — because giving billions to the rich is no fun unless you also get to screw the poor

Susie Madrak notes that the shutdown deal in Congress cuts winter heating aid for low-income families. I used to be confused as to why LIHEAP was always among the first programs on the chopping block when states or the federal government wanted to cut the budget. LIHEAP, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, helps low-income [Read More...]

Ludwig von Mises smacks down latest religious-right talking point

Right-wing hero Ludwig von Mises approaches the Jesus of the Bible the same way that Chuck Colson does — which is to say that he’s primarily interested in whether or not it will rile up the peasants or keep them sedate. But where Colson invokes Jesus as a helpful moralist who can keep the peasants [Read More...]

Banks behaving badly

Matt Stoller: “Mortgage Servicers: Getting Away with the Perfect Crime?“ The bad behavior is so rampant that banks think nothing of a contractor programming fraud into the software. This is shocking behavior and has led to untold numbers of foreclosures, as well as the theft of huge sums of money from mortgage-backed securities investors. Here’s [Read More...]

An index for the 99%: 12 items of Christmas with the family will cost you $79.81

The Consumerist reports on an annual holiday tradition from PNC Financial: According to the folks at PNC Financial, who have spent decades tracking the ups and downs of the gifts rattled off in the seemingly endless tune, the total cost of realizing the full “12 Days of Christmas” has crossed the $100,000 mark for the [Read More...]

The search for new ways to take our money

Banks used to take more than $36 billion a year from their customers. They just took it. They did this by reaching into those customers’ accounts and removing the money $30 at a time. This was called “overdraft protection,” and the banks pretended it was a service for those customers. That practice has been reined [Read More...]

Looking beyond their needs to determine fault

It’s been several days and I’m still a bit gobsmacked by the perverse audacity of Herman Cain’s oddly lovely rendition of “He Looked Beyond My Faults.” Cain is the frontrunner in a Republican presidential primary characterized above all by the opposite impulse from what that song is about. Amazing grace shall always be my song [Read More...]


Doug Curlee of The Santee (Calif.) Patch brings us the story of what every manufactured-home owner fears: a sudden increase in the rent they pay on the land beneath their homes. Happily, for now, the City of Santee has a Manufactured Home Fair Practices Commission, and that commission voted to enforce fair practices. But as [Read More...]

Smart people saying smart things

John Quiggin: “Keeping the state out of your bedroom” If you really want personal freedom, you can achieve it only by constraining property rights. Dahlia Lithwick: “Occupy the No-Spin Zone” I spent time this weekend at Occupy Wall Street and my husband spent much of last week adding his voice to the protesters there. I [Read More...]