According to the Associated Press, U.S. prosecutors filed a criminal charge against the CEO of Bumble Bee Foods as part of an ongoing investigation into price fixing in the packaged seafood industry.
1. During what period did the firm allegedly conspire with others in the industry to eliminate competition by setting prices for canned tuna?
2. For more than 2 years, the government has been investigating what three companies for this type of problem?
3. Besides the new charges for Christopher Lischewski at Bumble Bee, how many other executives at Bumble Bee have pleaded guilty in the price-fixing scheme and what has the company paid in fines for them?
Associated Press staff. (2018) Bumble Bee CEO Charged With Fixing Canned Tuna Prices. Time, May 17 (Retrievable online at http://time.com/5280535/bumble-bee-tuna-ceo-price-fixing/)
According to Wired.com and ARS Technica, the California attorney general’s office charged four people with extortion, money laundering, and identity theft for their alleged involvement with the website Mugshots.com, which posts people’s mugshots, but will take them down for a fee.
1. Nationally, how much did the owners receive from people wanting their mugshots removed?
2. What is the sister sit for Mugshots.com and how much did they charge for each picture?
3. In the most basic terms, what does the pay-for-removal scheme profit from?
4. Look at the 29-page affidavit (hyperlink in the Farivar article). Summarize the facts for probable cause, including how many interviews were listed and a sentence about the general facts of each interview.
Newman, L.H. (2018). Security News This Week: California charges owners of mugshots.com with extortion. Wired.com, May 19 (Retrievable online at https://www.wired.com/story/security-news-california-charges-owners-of-mugshotscom-with-extortion/).
Farivar, C. (2018). All of Mugshots.com’s alleged co-owners arrested on extortion charges. ARS Technica, May 17 (Retrievable online at https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/05/all-of-mugshots-coms-alleged-co-owners-arrested-on-extortion-charges/)
Jim Burton thought he was dying after lifting a box in his garage last and feeling a large jolt in his back. When his health insurer, Anthem, refused to pay for his E.R. visit of $1,722, citing that care was not needed right away, Jim learned that Anthem denied thousands of claims last year under its “avoidable E.R. program.”
1. What is this program and why are doctors and consumer advocates arguing against that policy?
2. Why is the E.R. the place where the incentives in health care break down? Explain.
3. State insurance commissioners have received some complaints about Anthem. What law or laws could they enforce against the avoidable E.R. policy?
4. What is the primary documentation basis used by Anthem to reject bills?
Ableson, R., M. Sanger-Katz, and J. Cresswell. (2018). As an Insurer Resists Paying for ‘Avoidable’ E.R. Visits, Patients and Doctors Push Back. (Retrievable online at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/19/upshot/anthem-insurer-resists-paying-emergency-room-visits-if-avoidable.html)
According to the New York Times, The Supreme Court struck down a federal law that effectively banned commercial sports betting in most states, boosting the prospect of such gambling across the nation.
1. Who are the winners in this decision?
2. Who are the losers in this decision?
3. According to the article, what was the thinking of the court in the majority and what was the vote?
Liptak, A. (2018). Supreme Court Ruling Favors Sports Betting. The New York Times, May 14 (Retrievable online https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/14/us/politics/supreme-court-sports-betting-new-jersey.html)
According to Slate.com, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, a sprawling health system that dominates much of western Pennsylvania’s health care market, announced that it would spend $2 billion to build a trio of new hospitals within its home city.
1. What was the purpose of each of the three hospitals?
2. What was the overall 5-year goal?
3. What do the Pittsburgh locals think about the move and why?
4. What type of economic trends and changes are happening in Pittsburgh in general?
Weissmann, J. (2018). Hyper Tension. Slate.com. May 11 (Retrievable online from https://slate.com/business/2018/05/pittsburghs-upmc-wants-to-be-the-amazon-of-health-care.html)
Alleged postal thief mastermind Dushaun Henderson-Spruce orchestrated the theft of thousands of pieces of mail from a global corporation, including corporate American Express cards, business checks and invoices, and rerouted them halfway across the country.
1. How did he do it?
2. How long did the scheme last?
3. What internal control could have prevented this mishap?
4. What penalty is Henderson-spruce facing?
5. Do you think the charges will hold up against him? Discuss.
Hannon, E. (2018). A Chicago Man Filled Out a Single Postal Change of Address Form and Redirected UPS Corporate Mail to His Apartment. Slate.com, May 10 (Retrievable online at https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/05/chicago-man-filled-out-a-single-postal-change-of-address-form-and-redirected-ups-corporate-mail-to-his-apartment.html)
According to Reuters, Tyson Foods (TSN.N), the largest U.S. meat processor, has invested in an Israeli biotech company developing a way to grow affordable meat in a laboratory that takes live animals out of the equation.
1. What does the technology focus on in order to provide the same texture as meat?
2. How much have costs decreased in the last few years by kilogram cost and by percentage?
3. What are the benefits of growing meat?
Staff. (2018). Tyson Foods backs Israeli startup to grow meat in the lab. Reuters.com, May 2 (Retrievable online at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-tyson-foods-israel/tyson-foods-backs-israeli-startup-to-grow-meat-in-the-lab-idUSKBN1I31DP)
According to Ed Kilgore, California, has by virtue of a decision by its Supreme Court adopted perhaps the toughest standard in the country for employer treatment of its basic human capital as contractors. In particular, it affects the “gig economy” model, notably California-based enterprises like Uber and Lyft, which treat their drivers as independent contractors.
1. According to the article, who bears the burden of proof as to the classification of contractors?
2. What can companies objecting to the law do as recourse?
3. How will this shift costs for some companies?
Kilgore, E. (2018) California Court Ruling Could Be Major Blow to ‘Gig Economy’ Firms. New York Magazine, May 1 (Retrievable online at http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/05/ca-court-ruling-could-be-major-blow-to-gig-economy.html
According to Axios, there was a 17% drop in international students in the U.S. last year, mostly due to the 28% decline in Indian students and a 24% decline in Chinese students receiving visas.
1. Is the trend in international students attributable to President Trump’s immigration policy changes and rhetoric? Explain.
2. What are the factors that lead to an overall decrease in F-1 visas?
3. What is the competition that the U.S. sees for these foreign students?
4. What will these declines mean for the U.S. economy?
Kight, S. (2018). The disappearing Chinese student visa. Axios.com, May 6 (Retrievable online at https://www.axios.com/foreign-student-visas-dropping-china-india-trump-81e70609-9fa7-43eb-8f40-ccfef9fe3fa5.html)
According to the Washington Post, Amazon is justifying Prime’s 20 percent price hike, to $119 a year, by saying it is more a valuable service than when the fee last rose four years ago.
1. How many Amazon customers are Prime members?
2. What did the article (April 27) offer as alternatives or ways to get around Prime fees? Will any work for you? Discuss.
3. What happened to Amazon 1st quarter profits for 2018? (April 26 article)
4. How much did shares spike in after-hour trading on April 26 and what was the stock price?
5. What has been an important cornerstone of Amazon’s retail business and why?
Bhattari, A. (2018) How to get around Amazon Prime’s new $119 fee. The Washington Post, April 27 (Retrievable online at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2018/04/27/how-to-get-around-amazon-primes-new-119-fee/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.151637954535)
Bhattari, A. (2018). Amazon doubles its profit — and hikes Prime membership fee 20%. The Washington Post, April 26 (Retrievable online at https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/amazon-doubles-its-profit—and-hikes-prime-membership-by-20/2018/04/26/31f5a14c-489a-11e8-827e-190efaf1f1ee_story.html?utm_term=.ac0cd81aeaa8)