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The Morning Grumpy – 3/27/12

Filed under: Morning Grumpy

All the news, views, and filtered excellence fit to consume during your morning grumpy.

internet_grandma

1. It’s tax season and most of you, like Tim Geithner, have paid to use TurboTax to file your return. But, wouldn’t it be cool if you didn’t have to file a return?

Imagine filing your income taxes in five minutes — and for free. You’d open up a pre-filled return, see what the government thinks you owe, make any needed changes and be done. The miserable annual IRS shuffle, gone.

It’s already a reality in Denmark, Sweden and Spain. The government-prepared return would estimate your taxes using information your employer and bank already send it. Advocates say tens of millions of taxpayers could use such a system each year, saving them a collective $2 billion and 225 million hours in prep costs and time, according to one estimate.

The idea, known as “return-free filing,” would be a voluntary alternative to hiring a tax preparer or using commercial tax software. The concept has been around for decades and has been endorsed by both President Ronald Reagan and a campaigning President Obama.

It’s being done in many places around the world and Intuit (the makers of TurboTax) has spent a lot of money to make sure it’ll never happen in America.

Intuit has spent about $11.5 million on federal lobbying in the past five years — more than Apple or Amazon. Although the lobbying spans a range of issues, Intuit’s disclosures pointedly note that the company “opposes IRS government tax preparation.”

I’m sure Tom Bauerle fans and other right-wing lunatics would oppose the idea of government-prepared returns anyhow and claim the IRS is going to mark you with the number of the socialist beast to better identify you in a FEMA camp, but Intuit is hedging it’s bets and paying off Congress to keep things difficult for taxpayers.

2. America’s health-care prices are ludicrous: “We pay much, much more than other countries do for the exact same things.”

3. The ascendance of liberalism is due to generational change and the economy.

4. Alternative weekly newspapers are dead, long live alt-weeklies!

5. It’s become clear that Americans, broadly speaking, have little idea as to the scale of our “drone war”. Well, problem solved. The Guardian has a great interactive visual showing every drone attack in Pakistan.

6. I think I linked to this last month, but a recent Buzzfeed article got me thinking about this magnificent piece of journalism again. The extraordinary science of addictive junk food.

7. Generation Naïve: Why Young People Can’t Help Falling for Strangers Online

8. The day that TV news died was the day Phil Donahue was fired by MSNBC for opposing the war in Iraq.

Fact Of The Day: Mother Teresa believed suffering brought people closer to Jesus and therefore withheld pain killers from her patients.

Quote Of The Day: “Teach the children so it will not be necessary to teach the adults.” -Abraham Lincoln

Video Of The Day: Russians make the best music videos. Ever. “Bad Motherfucker, Insane Office Escape 2” – Crazy violence.

Song Of The Day: “Busman’s Holiday” – Allah-Las

Follow me on Twitter for the “incremental grumpy” @ChrisSmithAV

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Email me links, tips, story ideas: chris@artvoice.com


  • sconnors13

    “I’m sure Tom Bauerle fans and other right-wing lunatics…”

    Never-mind being called a lunatic, he is going to be pissed that you associated him with the right. #CrankMob

  • Mary/Bruce Beyer

    #8 The day TV news died…………..TV news may have died but Phil Donahue didn’t. His film “Body of War” about Iraq Veteran Against the War, Tomas Young, is not only prescient but remindful of the fact that most of “our” WNY Democrat politicians were in lockstep with war criminals Bush and Cheney. How politicians like Higgins, Schumer, and Clinton appear in public is beyond me. You would think the shame dripping from their bloody hands would be enough to quiet them.

    While these war pigs continue to govern, Mr. Donahue sits by the side of Tomas Young as he lies in a hospice bed waiting for the end of his life. As Donahue points out, Tomas’s situation is no different than thousands of other severely wounded Iraq War vets. Unable to commit suicide without assistance and with the support of his wife, Mr. Young has refused nourishment in a desire to end his prolonged suffering and agony.

    Nowhere in the mainstream media is any mention made of Tomas Young, yet, Phil Donahue remains steadfast in his indictment of US policy in Iraq and Afghanistan and his commitment to the telling of Tomas Young’s odyssey from gung-ho recruit to outspoken anti-war activist.

    The news is there if you choose to look for it but you do have to look in places other than shopping malls.

    • Charley_Tarr

      With respect and appreciation for your knowledge of this film’s existence…..Thought I would mention that Yahoo! actually devoted two days to posting the story of the film as a leading item on their homepage, linked from a photo of Mr. Young and his beautiful wife. Prior separate articles posted stories regarding the letter and the announcement of Mr. Young’s decision to end his life…

      http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/iraq-war-vet-letter-bush-cheney-tomas-young-154541674.html