Exploding Water Pipe – Fraud Alert

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Forty-five government entities are now joining whistleblower John Hendrix’s suit against JM Eagle. The suit alledges that the largest PVC pipe manufacturer committed fraud by intentionally selling pipe to governments, where the company’s internal quality controls showed 50 to 80 percent failure rates. Questions: 1. What was Hendrix’s position with the firm and what did… Read more »

The Cost Disease

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Much of our political debate is fueled by the rise in the cost of healthcare, education, and other necessary services. Interestingly, the new book “The Cost Disease” is based on the work of William Baumol, who as a young economist in the 1960s promoted the idea tagged “Baumol’s Disease,” which explains that our current predicament… Read more »

Interesting Educational Strategy

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At U.S. colleges, like NYU and Northeastern, some freshmen are beginning their studies abroad during their first and even second semesters. According to Bloomberg, the strategy is one used by universities to enroll larger classes and get more tuition dollars. How? The universities use the students and their tuitions to fill the beds of midyear… Read more »

Angie’s list

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By now you have probably heard of Angie’s List. Angie Hicks started the company in 1995 after a friend moved and had trouble finding reliable contractors. Originally started in Columbus, Ohio, the company has expanded to other national markets. There is a subscription fee to belong to this list that includes personal recommendations. Questions: 1…. Read more »

Labor Department Violations

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On Tuesday, the Labor Department announced that it had levied a $34,000 fine on C. J.’s Seafood for safety violations. This is the company that supplies crawfish to WalMart. In addition, the agency also ordered C. J.’s to pay $214,000 for wage and hour violations. Questions: 1. Where is the company based? 2. Specifically, how… Read more »

Reported to be the largest antitrust settlement in history

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Visa, MasterCard and major banks agreed Friday, July 13, to pay at least $6 billion to settle a lawsuit brought by retailers. A banking industry trade group said the settlement would allow stores to charge customers more to pay with a credit card. Questions: 1. According to the article, what is the average credit card… Read more »

Jail is not for Big Pharma

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In the largest health care fraud settlement in U.S. history, A federal judge on approved an agreement to fine British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline for criminal and civil violations involving 10 drugs. Questions: 1. Do you think fines can deter unlawful behavior at Big Pharma? In your opinion, why didn’t anyone go to jail for these violations?… Read more »

The Price of Transparency in Hospitals

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One of the biggest problems today is that consumers have no way of figuring out how much a particular health care service costs. Unfortunately, a recent Arizona bill to encourage hospitals and doctors to become more transparent about the prices they charge for services was just killed by the state legislature. The bill would have… Read more »

Brazil’s Technology Expansion

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The depreciation of the Brazilian real, which is the worst-performing major currency this year, may be helping reignite economic growth in Brazil after a “weak” first quarter of 2012. Economic growth in Brazil, the world’s sixth biggest economy, has been recovering more slowly than anticipated even as the government steps up interest rate cuts and… Read more »

The Economic Downturn Hits J.C. Penney’s Hard

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About 600 employees were laid off at the corporate headquarters of J.C. Penney this week. Under the leadership of the new CEO, Ron Johnson, one of its three call centers in Pittsburgh, PA, will also be closed later this year, which eliminates 300 more jobs. Questions: 1. What type of business is J.C. Penney? Research… Read more »