Author Archives: Scott Michelman

ProPublica: “For Nebraska’s Poor, Get Sick and Get Sued”

In Nebraska, ProPublica reports, debt collectors frequently sue over medical debts as small as $60 and a simple missed doctor’s bill can quickly land you in court. Filing suit is one of the most aggressive ways to collect debt, but no one tracks how frequently it happens or to whom. An examination of Nebraska’s courts, […]

On pastoral medical credentials and concerns about deception

NPR reports: The Texas-based Pastoral Medical Association gives out "pastoral provider licenses" in all 50 states and 30 countries. Some providers call themselves doctors of pastoral medicine. But these licenses are not medical degrees. That has watchdog organizations concerned that some patients may not understand what this certification really means. Listen here.

Should the government just give everyone money, no strings attached?

Yes, argue proponents of basic income, the policy proposal to scrap social welfare programs in favor of just cutting everyone a check. Fivethirtyeight summarizes the arguments: Efficiency-minded libertarians like the idea of streamlining the bureaucracy of the welfare state. Silicon Valley techies hope a guaranteed income would cushion the blow as automation replaces human jobs. […]

Income inequality is so extreme, states rely on a handful of wealthy taxpayers

The New York Times, in an article titled, "One Top Taxpayer Moved, and New Jersey Shuddered," explains: Our top-heavy economy has come to this: One man can move out of New Jersey and put the entire state budget at risk. Other states are facing similar situations as a greater share of income — and tax […]

NYT profiles first “climate refugees” in the U.S.

A sign of things to come, reports the Times: In January, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced grants totaling $1 billion in 13 states to help communities adapt to climate change, by building stronger levees, dams and drainage systems. One of those grants, $48 million for Isle de Jean Charles [in southern Louisiana], […]

Are there too many occupational licensing laws?

A piece in Fivethirtyeight last week highlights the challenges occupational licensing laws pose for younger job-seekers. These are rules, usually at the state or local level, that require workers to get a government-issued license to hold certain jobs. That makes sense for doctors and accountants, but the requirements are increasingly spreading to barbers, cosmetologists and even […]