GREENE: OK, it's just a fantasy. But actually, in some countries taxpayers can sign up to receive simply a bill. The government sends you a tax bill, you pay it and, voila, that's it.
Now, there was an effort to bring return-free filing to the United States, but that effort came up against stiff opposition. And to find out why, we called Liz Day of ProPublica. She's been digging into this issue.
Loneliness hurts, but social isolation can kill you. That's the conclusion of a study of more than 6,500 people in the U.K.
The study, by a team at University College London, comes after decades of research showing that both loneliness and infrequent contact with friends and family can, independently, shorten a person's life. The scientists expected to find that the combination of these two risk factors would be especially dangerous.
Since the Supreme Court made the Medicaid expansion under the federal health law optional last year, states' decisions have largely split along party lines. States run by Democrats have been opting in; states run by Republicans have mostly been saying no or holding back.
It's a visual no parent wants to picture: a child describing what it's like to live in a house with no power for lights, heat or cooking. For many middle-class American parents, it's hard to imagine their family ever facing a situation like that. But a new HBO documentary suggests that many seemingly prosperous parents are only a few misfortunes away from dark houses and empty refrigerators.
Outside the Supreme Court, lines began forming nearly a week ago. By Monday, the line had snaked down the court steps and to the corner, with people braving freezing temperatures and snow in anticipation of the historic arguments on same-sex marriage on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The justices are first hearing a constitutional challenge to California's ban on same-sex marriage. A second day is devoted to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal benefits to same-sex couples married in the nine states where such unions are legal.
Secretary of State John Kerry is putting his diplomatic skills to the test this week. He is dealing with some difficult partners and trying to revive Israeli/Palestinian peace talks. Kerry spent the day yesterday in Baghdad and today he made an announced trip to Afghanistan to try to smooth over the latest disputes with President Hamid Karzai. NPR's Michele Kelemen is traveling with the secretary and joins us now from Kabul. Hey, Michele.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. We've been hearing a lot of stories of the new pope's modesty, and now this. The pope called a Buenos Aires newspaper kiosk to cancel his own subscription. The shocked kiosk owner thought it was a joke until his holiest customer said, seriously, I'm calling you from Rome. The news vendor told an Argentine daily of another humble habit. The then-cardinal always collected and once a month returned the rubber bands from his newspapers. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Pro golfer Sergio Garcia hit a ball into a tree at the Arnold Palmer Invitational this weekend. The easy choice: Just take a one-stroke penalty. Drop the ball to the ground. But Garcia did it the hard way. He climbed 15 feet up the tree and played the ball from there. Balancing himself with one hand on the club, he somehow knocked the ball onto the fairway. Well, what is the best club in such a situation? One PGA announcer suggested a tree iron.
Both housing and the stock market have been on the upswing in recent months. But a full recovery in the housing market would be more significant to the overall economy. That's because more Americans have something at stake in home values than in stock prices.
Despite the enormous destruction Hurricane Sandy caused to the Jersey Shore, realtors who specialize in the region say business has been steady. Plenty of home buyers and investors appear eager to jump into the market. Damaged homes and lots have been selling for discounted rates, while prices are inching up on houses that survived since there are simply fewer properties available.