Which Card Should I Choose?

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The first credit card offering frequent-flier miles made its debut over 30 years ago. Delta Airlines generated $3 billion from its relationship with American Express in 2017 and expects to hit $4 billion by 2021. Questions: 1. What did the frequent flier airline cards offer in the 1980s? How does that compare to now? 2…. Read more »

A Mysterious Amount of Net worth!

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In 2012, Forbes dropped J.K. Rowling after eight years on its authoritative billionaires list, saying high British taxes and large charitable contributions had eroded her fortune. Questions: 1. Why should Forbes rethink that? 2. If Rowling gets equivalent of Universal Studios Park ticket sales equal to Spielberg, how much of that would a $100 ticket… Read more »

Credit Card Chips

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Did you ever wonder why so many retailers have chip-readable machines for credit cards, but tell you to swipe your card anyway? This article explains this frustrating issue for retailers. Questions: 1. Merchants have spent incredible amounts of money to get new chip-reading machines, so what is the reason for not using them? 2. Since… Read more »

A New Concept

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Because of a scramble to locate baby food at night, Robert Ilijason decided to open Sweden’s first unstaffed convenience store. The 39-year old IT specialist now owns a 24-hour convenience store that has no cashier. Questions: 1. How do the customers pay for their purchases? 2. How is the store monitored? What types of controls… Read more »

Shkreli Smurks at Congress and Later Calls Them “Imbeciles”

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Martin Shkreli, the former chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals, repeatedly exercised his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination, infuriating members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Mr. Shkreli is facing federal securities fraud charges. Questions: 1. What is the scandal that Mr. Shkreli’s company is apart of? 2. What is the connection… Read more »

Release Cards: Another High Interest Problem?

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As this article points out, unlike consumer debit cards, prison-issued cards are unregulated and subject to exorbitant fees. Questions: 1. What are the typical charges for these cards? 2. For the person that had $120 and was able to use only $70, calculate the percentage of fees. 3. Who is making the money on these… Read more »

Amazon goes “brick and mortar”

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In an unusual move, Amazon opened a storefront bookstore in Seattle’s University Village mall. Questions: 1. What are the characteristics of the books sold in the “brick and mortar store”? 2. In addition to books, what other products does the store carry? 3. What do you see as the costs and benefits of this new… Read more »

“A Very Dangerous Process”

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Specialists in infectious disease are protesting a gigantic overnight increase in the price of Daraprim,a 62-year-old drug that is the standard of care for treating malaria and toxoplasmosis. Questions: 1. What are the causes of price increases for drugs like Daraprim? 2. What is the past controversy associated with Martin Shkreli, the founder and chief… Read more »

The Untouchable Alaska Bypass

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Under a federal program exclusive to Alaska, the Postal Service is responsible for shipping more than 100 million pounds a year of apples, frozen meat, dog food, diapers and countless other consumer items to off-road villages in the sparsely populated outposts known as the bush. Over three decades acting as freight forwarder, the agency has… Read more »

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall – Who is the Most Expensive of Them All?

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It is hard to fathom but the newest British royal boy who was born in fanciest hospital ward in Britain cost $15,000. However, that is nothing compared to the average U.S. birth, where new parents are billed $30,000 and eventually pay $18,000. Questions: 1. What drives the high pregnancy health costs in the U.S. as… Read more »