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In Distressed Economy, Spaniards Are Trading Traditional Commerce for Bartering

When you don't have any cash, swapping an hour of moving boxes for a lift to your relatives' place is pretty attractive.

Bartering, that old process of swapping stuff with other people in an ad hoc way based on who needs what, is actually been having a bit of a moment in troubled Spain, reports the Wall Street Journal:

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In the United States, Polluting Is Really Cheap

Activities that cause costly harm to our ecosystems and hurt public health enjoy a scandalously low tax rate.

You always hear about how various environmental "taxes" hurt business and industry and, thus, could cripple our economy. But what if we were to cut taxes across the board for businesses, replacing that revenue with the taxes applied on activities that actually cause costly harm to our ecosystems and our public health? In other words: what if we replaced some business taxes with some environmental ones?

That's an idea floated by The New Republic's Brad Plumer, writing in the Washington Post yesterday. Plumer includes this chart from a new IMF paper (PDF) on "Reforming the Tax System to Promote Environmental Objectives."

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Where Schools Really Get Their Money From, and Why It Needs to Change

Schools get the vast majority of their money from states. Federal funding just isn't a big factor right now. But the thing is, it should be.

Last week we compared the United States' spending on defense to spending on education and discovered that—surprise!—the federal education budget is a tiny fraction of the military budget. A commenter on that post pointed out, however, that education funding primarily comes from the states, not the federal government. That's true. The national debate about education funding is often focused on federal money, but it only makes up a small slice of any school's budget.

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Oregon's Gas Tax Experiment

In Oregon, declining gas tax revenues are prompting the state to look into some wacky new ways of getting money from drivers. The LA Times...

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