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Martin Shkreli, a former pharmaceutical executive notorious for increasing the price of Daraprim by 5,000 percent, along with mounting sneering defenses of his actions and even issuing a bounty for one of Hillary Clinton’s hairs, was sentenced to seven years in prison for fraud.

 

Questions:

  1. What had prosecutors sought for a sentence?
  2. What had the defense sought for a sentence?
  3. What were his fraud convictions related to?
  4. How much fine must Mr. Shkreli pay?
  5. What was the most interesting thing that you learned by reading the article?

Source:

Clifford, S. (2018). Martin Shkreli Sentenced to 7 Years in Prison for Fraud. The New York Times, Mar. 9 (Retrievable online at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/09/business/martin-shkreli-sentenced.html)

 

 

 

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The agency charged with monitoring such student loan bankruptcy declarations is facing concerns that its tactics have grown ruthless. Bankruptcy experts say that the group is wasting judicial resources because it brings legal challenges to those few who are desperate enough to seek bankruptcy relief.

Questions:
1. What is the name of this agency? Which part of the federal government gave this group the power to fight student debtors who file for bankruptcy on federal loans?
2. Explain the case that caused the bankruptcy judges to accuse the agency of abuse.
3. What has been the biggest impact of the agency in shaping the bankruptcy law for relief from student debts?
4. How is forgiven debt outside of bankruptcy treated for tax purposes?

Source:
Kitroeff, N. (2014).Loan Monitor Is Accused of Ruthless Tactics on Student Debt, The New York Times, Jan. 1 (Retrievable online at http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/02/us/loan-monitor-is-accused-of-ruthless-tactics-on-student-debt.html?hpw&rref=education&pagewanted=all&_r=0)
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Berkshire recorded a hefty windfall from the tax bill that Congress passed at the end of last year.

Questions:
1. According to the article, the 2017 tax cut was 2/3 of Berkshire Hathaway’s 2017 Earnings. How much were the earnings and how much (in dollars) was the tax cut?
2. In the past, how did Berkshire grow? In other words, what was their mechanism for growth?
3. What has Warren Buffet’s goal been for Berkshire and did he accomplish this? Explain.
4. What is Buffet’s advice about a mega-catastrophe? Why is it important for his company?
5. What was the most interesting part of this article for you?

Source:
Eavis, P. and S. Grocer. (2018). Buffett’s Annual Letter: Berkshire Records $29 Billion Gain From Tax Law. The New York Times, Feb. 24 (Retrievable online at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/24/business/dealbook/buffetts-annual-letter-berkshire.html)

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According to the Washington Post, a new research study (recently published in the journal Ergonomics) reported that the new standing desks may be bad for your health, since standing at a desk for a prolonged period of time will create “discomfort and deteriorating mental reactiveness.”

Questions:
1. What did the Newsweek article about a 12-year study of more than 7,000 office workers report?
2. So what is the bottom line of the article?
3. Have you seen advertisements for standing desks and would you buy them? Why or why not?

Source:
Marks, G. (2018) Study: Standing desks could be harmful to your productivity . . . and your health. The Washington Post, Feb. 26 (Retrievable online at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/on-small-business/wp/2018/02/26/study-standing-desks-could-be-harmful-to-your-productivity-and-your-health/?hpid=hp_hp-more-top-stories-2_standingdesks-555pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.218c0a14de82)

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According to the New York Times, baby boomers are growing older and with them comes a growing volume of unwanted keepsakes and family heirlooms; so, too, is the need for a number of delicate conversations about what to do with this stuff.

Questions:
1. What type of changes exist as we view the baby boomer generation to the evolving generation of current young adults?
2. Explain what the senior move management industry is.
3. One move manager said: “seniors have more needs than just the sale of their estates.” What are those needs?
4. Why is there so much growth in the self-storage industry?
5. What did you find the most interesting about this article?

Source:
Verde, T. (2018). Aging Parents With Lots of Stuff, and Children Who Don’t Want It. The New York Times, March 2 (Retreivable online at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/18/your-money/aging-parents-with-lots-of-stuff-and-children-who-dont-want-it.html)

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According to The Washington Post, Silicon Valley elites are becoming part of the nation’s preeminent local food movement, by owning egg-laying chickens. Having chickens is now on par with driving a Tesla!

Questions:
1. What was the most interesting cost that you read about regarding Silicon Valley chickens and all their amenities?
2. What did Ken Price mean when he said: “We’re moving toward a more sustainable cost structure?”
3. What was the most interesting thing you read in this article?

Source:
Holley, P. (2018). The Silicon Valley elite’s latest status symbol: Chickens. The Washington Post, March 2 (Retrievable online at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2018/03/02/feature/the-silicon-valley-elites-latest-status-symbol-chickens/?utm_term=.02cdb0fb50a1)

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According to the New York Times, to create a Super Bowl snack, their authors bought the same ingredients at a new Whole Foods 365 store and a Walmart. The prices were different and so were the outcomes.

Questions:
1. What did the authors want to cook?
2. What was the price difference?
3. Which cooked culinary delight won the contest?
4. What were the differences between the two cooked products?

Source:
Corkery, M. and S. Wichter. (2018). Amazon Effect, Meatball Edition. Then New York Times, Feb. 2 (Retrievable online at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/02/business/economy/amazon-effect-meatball-edition.html)

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According to the New York Times, laws prohibiting employers from asking job candidates about their past compensation before making a salary offer are gaining momentum, aimed at reducing pay disparities and other obstacles confronting women and minorities.

Questions:
1. What does the article say about the way some researchers see it?
2. What does some academic evidence suggest that the new laws and women?
3. What are employers trying to determine when they ask the question?

Source:
Scheiber, N. (2018). If a Law Bars Asking Your Past Salary, Does It Help or Hurt? The New York Times, Feb. 16 (Retrievable online at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/16/business/economy/salary-history-laws.html)

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In Sweden, “No cash accepted” signs are becoming an increasingly common sight in shops and eateries across the country as payments go digital and mobile.

Questions:
1. Why is going cashless bad for tax cheats?
2. Why are authorities in Sweden worried about the cashless society?
3. What percent of Swedes never use cash?
4. Do you think that could happen here in the U.S.? Discuss.

Source:
Bilner, A. (2018). ‘No Cash’ Signs Everywhere Has Sweden Worried It’s Gone Too Far. Bloomberg, Feb. 18 (Retrievable online at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-18/-no-cash-signs-everywhere-has-sweden-worried-it-s-gone-too-far)

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Under Mick Mulvaney, the CFPB, which once was the agency dedicated to preventing banks and credit-card companies from scamming ordinary Americans, now becomes an agency dedicated to protecting potential financial scammers from legal penalties.

Questions:
1. Since Mulvaney took over, what has the Bureau done for payday lenders?
2. Since Mulvaney took over, what has the Bureau done for installment lenders?
3. What is the World Acceptance Corp.?
4. What has happened to the World Acceptance Corp.’s stock since Mulvaney took over at the CFPB? Do you think this is linked to his appointment?

Source:

Levitz, E. (2018) The CFPB Is Now the Predatory Lender Protection Bureau. New York Magazine,Jan. 24 (Retrievable online at http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/01/the-cfpb-is-now-the-predatory-lender-protection-bureau.html)