Some bits and pieces from here and there:
- Some adorably civic-minded dolts in the United States actually voluntarily donate money to the government in order to reduce the federal government’s debt — amounting to a couple of million dollars a year (in the neighborhood of one one-millionth of the total officially-acknowledged debt, or one percent of one day’s worth of interest on that debt). You can find instructions on how to do this in your 1040 instruction booklet, under the title “Gift To Reduce Debt Held by the Public,” and you’d do this by sending a check to “Bureau of the Public Debt.” You probably won’t be surprised to learn that contributions to that fund do not, however, go to pay off the debt, but are just lumped in with all other contributions to the general fund to swell the purse that Congress overspends from.
- CIA agents went undercover in Pakistan on a fake vaccination campaign in order to collect intelligence during their campaign to target Osama Bin Laden. Tom Scocca explains how this recklessly puts real health workers at risk. “[T]he single act is a metonym for the total moral collapse of the people and the system responsible for it… The anonymous official [who justified the program] was not merely describing the thought processes behind one immoral, ineffective, and destructive stunt. The same people, thinking the same way, have been making decisions about life and death — mostly death — all over the world.”
- Squabbling in Congress has meant that they have failed to renew many excise taxes on air travel. So, temporarily anyway, you can fly in the U.S. without paying these taxes (certain other federal taxes still apply).
- Fred Reed contemplates disengagement, or “domestic expatriation — the recognition that living in a country makes you a resident, not a subscriber.”