Painful Lessons

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley (Photographer: Win McNamee via Getty Images)

If you have to give bad financial news, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley has a tip: don’t say the word “pain.” He says he’s learned never to say it in a speech — even in his recent State of the State address where he had to deliver the painful news that the state has a $1.4 billion budget gap. Meanwhile, NHL defenseman Jack Hillen has another strategy: just forget the pain. Hillen had his jaw shattered by a slapshot last year and was back on the ice in just a few weeks. And there’s Donald Redelmeier, a doctor who discovered he could ease the pain of colonoscopy by making the procedure last longer.

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In the latest Freakonomics Radio Marketplace segment Kai Ryssdal and Stephen J. Dubner meet again – this time to sort out how to handle the? pain in our pocketbooks. With Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke saying last week that financial pain will continue for several more years, we’ll take pain advice from anywhere we can get it, right?

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Not sure why the media never seems to mention one of the major causes behind the fiscal crisis we face: the regressive nature of taxation in America.

A Scientific American article from a few years ago points out that when all taxes are taken into account, the poor pay a higher percentage of their income to taxes than those in the upper echelons:
Undercutting Fairness: States and Localities Undermine Tax Progressiveness

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[...] the Freakonomics podcast Painful Lessons, Kai Ryssdal and Stephen J. Dubner report on doctors who trick patients undergoing painful [...]