Obamacare News

Rich! Just really rich! That’s my reaction to House GOP Demands To Know What Obama Will Do If SCOTUS Guts Obamacare, posted at TalkingPointsMemo on January 28 and written by Sahil Kapur.

The issue is King v. Burwell, No. 14-114, the Supreme Court case to be argued on March 4. The plaintiffs claim subsidies cannot be provided to insureds in states without their own exchanges. Most of these states—which rely on the federal exchange—are red states, controlled by Republican governors and legislatures. (For more on the issues, read King v. Burwell: The Affordable Care Act and the Supreme… Continue reading

The Wednesday Curator – 1/28/15

I’m back about income/wealth inequality. (As one poster noted, “When Mitt announces in his rationale for running again that the gap and decline of the middle class will be his focus, (blames it on Obama), we can stop arguing about its existence.”) From the Center for American Progress is How the Government Subsidizes Wealth Inequality, written in June 2014 by Harry Stein, the Center’s Associate Director for Fiscal Policy. Call it the “smart” version of some of my recent pieces.

Is the Most Powerful Conservative in America Losing His Edge? by Molly Ball for The Atlantic—Jan-Fed 2015 issue—profiles Erick… Continue reading

Disparate Impact, and Unhappy People

Disparate treatment v. disparate impact is today’s subject. The concepts arise in discrimination laws passed mostly in the 1960s. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) offers a detailed explanation here; in simple terms, disparate treatment involves intentional action directed at someone on account of their status—race, color, religion, gender, etc. Contrariwise, disparate impact results from seemingly neutral activities which adversely affect people on account of their status.

Increasingly, disparate treatment claims are being undermined in courts. On January 21 the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities… Continue reading

Happy 91st Birthday, Tuck!

So maybe you’ve seen Tuck. Slight, old, with shorts in all kinds of weather, and bright red knee socks. If you’re in Tucson you’re almost surely seeing Dick Tuck.

Who is Dick Tuck? First of all, today, he’s “birthday boy,” 91 years young. Second, he’s the now retired political consultant, and the bane of Richard Nixon’s existence.

You know, political consultant really doesn’t accurately describe Tuck. There are lots of political consultants out there. Many are drawn to placing ads for candidates, with those fat 15% commissions. Others advise on reaching this or that segment of voters, helping candidates… Continue reading

Stuff You Wonder About

Reader and good friend Dick Luebke wondered about the origins of the bucket list. The term refers to those things you want/need to do or see before you die. The bucket list derives from kick the bucket, but where that term comes from is in dispute. The link will take you by beams, Shakespeare, holy-water buckets, a Latin proverb, etc. In other words, who knows! That all aside, my favorite “kick the bucket” moment comes early in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, and like every scene in the movie, it’s very, very, very, very funny!

When… Continue reading

Taxation at Death

Here’s plain talk about taxation at death, with a few words about inequality. Why? Because President Obama, in his State of the Union Address, has suggested changes to the tax code. Matt O’Brien for the Washington Post wrote President Obama Finally Has His Piketty Moment on January 17, before the speech was given. The article summarizes the Administration proposals very well.

Today I’m focused most on the stepped-up basis at death. Easy, really! Basis is the adjusted cost of property, and is a tax concept. Stepped-up basis at death means your estate’s basis equals fair market value at death, not your… Continue reading

The Wednesday Curator – 1/21/15

It’s Wednesday again, and we’re fast approaching the Curator’s one year anniversary. Four more posts!

I really, really, really hate to even think about guns. Nevertheless, they exist, and closing my eyes and plugging up my ears helps not at all. Here’s Exclusive: Inside the NRA’s Response to Newtown by Patrice Taddonio for Frontline on PBS from late December. There are several links within the post, and some very serious journalism. Remember, just as the oil companies exist to sell us gasoline—notwithstanding their lovely Sunday morning television advertisements—the National Rifle Association exists to help an industry sell its wares.

Olga Khazan… Continue reading

DeBoer v. Snyder: An Update

On Friday, January 16, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to several same-sex couples, all of them plaintiffs in DeBoer v. Snyder, et al., No. 14-571. The plaintiffs have asked the Court to overrule the opinion issued by the 6th Circuit on November 6, 2014. (MRW covered that issue in Same Sex Marriage in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee:  An Analysis of DeBoer v. Snyder.)

Certiorari was not unexpected, as the 4th, 7th, 9th, and 10th circuits have all ruled in favor of same sex marriage. Nothing requires the Court to resolve a split among the circuit courts,… Continue reading

Stuff You Wonder About!

Is there stuff you wonder about? For me the answer is a big YES, and the more trivial the better. (Many years ago a friend shared with me her bucket theory of the brain. Because of limited capacity, she said, I needed to keep filling, sifting, and refilling/positioning, to make sure I was only holding the best stuff. I took a pass, clearly!)

So … ever wonder why Bambi’s a male deer, and in the real world only women use that name? In fact, Felix Salten wrote Bambi, A Life in the Woods in 1923 in Austria. Earlier, in 1914,… Continue reading

I Have a Question

An old friend—both in age and years as a friend—often says “I have a question,” and when he does, everyone listens. Think about the old E.F. Hutton commercials, which had an announcer stating:  “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.”

My old friend and I are separated by 10,999 days—who knew?—but the age gap does not mean I can’t say “I have a question” every once in a while. So here’s mine:  If America is the greatest country ever, emblematic of exceptionalism and to be revered no matter what, why are we so broke?

My questions comes to mind for several… Continue reading

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