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JK Rowling on the good of paying taxes

The whole thing honestly is a must read. She's gone from being virtually homeless and broke to being one of the wealthiest women in the world. She has truckloads of perspective. The single mother's manifesto | J.K. Rowling - Times Online
I chose to remain a domiciled taxpayer for a couple of reasons. The main one was that I wanted my children to grow up where I grew up, to have proper roots in a culture as old and magnificent as Britain’s; to be citizens, with everything that implies, of a real country, not free-floating ex-pats, living in the limbo of some tax haven and associating only with the children of similarly greedy tax exiles. A second reason, however, was that I am indebted to the British welfare state; the very one that Mr Cameron would like to replace with charity handouts. When my life hit rock bottom, that safety net, threadbare though it had become under John Major’s Government, was there to break the fall. I cannot help feeling, therefore, that it would have been contemptible to scarper for the West Indies at the first sniff of a seven-figure royalty cheque. This, if you like, is my notion of patriotism. On the available evidence, I suspect that it is Lord Ashcroft’s idea of being a mug. Child poverty remains a shameful problem in this country, but it will never be solved by throwing millions of pounds of tax breaks at couples who have no children at all. David Cameron tells us that the Conservatives have changed, that they are no longer the “nasty party”, that he wants the UK to be “one of the most family-friendly nations in Europe”, but I, for one, am not buying it. He has repackaged a policy that made desperate lives worse when his party was last in power, and is trying to sell it as something new. I’ve never voted Tory before ... and they keep on reminding me why.

Chart: Lowering taxes on the rich does not help create jobs

If anything, the opposite seems to be true. CHART: Lower Taxes On The Rich Don’t Lead To Job Growth | ThinkProgress

June 27, 2011

Pretty much all the librarians are getting laid off

Schools Eliminating Librarians as Budgets Shrink - NYTimes.com
The schools superintendent in Lancaster, Pa., said he had to eliminate 15 of the district’s 20 librarians to save full-day kindergarten classes. In the Salem-Keizer school district in Oregon, all 48 elementary and middle school librarians would lose their jobs under a budget proposal that faces a vote next week. In Illinois’s School District 90, which spans several rural and suburban communities in the southern part of the state, parent volunteers have been running the libraries in the district’s seven schools since September, in what the schools superintendent, Todd Koehl, described as “a last-ditch effort” to avoid closing their doors. And in New York City, half of the secondary schools appear to be in violation of a state regulation requiring them to have a librarian on staff, with the city currently employing 365 licensed librarians. “The dilemma that schools will face is whether to cut a teacher who has been working with kids all day long in a classroom or cut teachers who are working in a support capacity, like librarians,” the city’s chief academic officer, Shael Polakow-Suransky, said in an interview.

Government to send "mystery shoppers" to see how difficult it is to get health care

Hospitals and doctors oppose this plan because it may lead to accountability. U.S. Using ‘Mystery Shoppers’ to Check on Access to Doctors - NYTimes.com
WASHINGTON — Alarmed by a shortage of primary care doctors, Obama administration officials are recruiting a team of “mystery shoppers” to pose as patients, call doctors’ offices and request appointments to see how difficult it is for people to get care when they need it. The administration says the survey will address a “critical public policy problem”: the increasing shortage of primary care doctors, including specialists in internal medicine and family practice. It will also try to discover whether doctors are accepting patients with private insurance while turning away those in government health programs that pay lower reimbursement rates. Federal officials predict that more than 30 million Americans will gain coverage under the health care law passed last year. “These newly insured Americans will need to seek out new primary care physicians, further exacerbating the already growing problem” of a shortage of such physicians in the United States, the Department of Health and Human Services said in a description of the project prepared for the White House. Plans for the survey have riled many doctors because the secret shoppers will not identify themselves as working for the government. “I don’t like the idea of the government snooping,” said Dr. Raymond Scalettar, an internist in Washington. “It’s a pernicious practice — Big Brother tactics, which should be opposed.” . . .