Watch Out for On-The-Lot Financing

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Since many banks will not give auto loans to people with bad credit or no credit, due to increased restrictions or risk, on-the-lot financing has become more popular. Unfortunately, since Buy-Here-Pay-Here financing is not strictly regulated, interest rates can be quite high. Questions: 1. What are the benefits of on-the-lot financing? 2. What are the… Read more »

Justice for Dixon Illinois?

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In November 2012, Rita Crundwell, comptroller of Dixon, Illinois, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and admitted that she stole approximately $53 million, admitting she stole the money from the city of Dixon while she was comptroller. She still faces 60 separate but related state felony charges for theft in Lee County. She has pleaded not… Read more »

Survey Shows that Out-of-Network Providers Are Billing Consumers up to Several Thousand Percent more than the Government would pay for similar Medicare Services

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According to a new study from the Center for Policy and Research, the nation must address the soaring cost of medical care that continues to rise at an unsustainable rate. For consumers who choose to seek care out-of-network, their survey shows that the charges billed by some out-of-network providers can exceed several hundred or several… Read more »

The $10,000 degree – Innovation or Second Rate Degree?

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Texas may be experimenting with an initiative to help students and families struggling with the high costs of college: a bachelor’s degree for $10,000, including tuition fees and even textbooks. Under a plan unveiled in 2011, Republican Gov. Rick Perry is proposing a bachelor’s degree for $10,000, including tuition fees and even textbooks. The governor… Read more »

The Unveiling of the Future?

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Apple’s iPad Mini will likely be unveiled at a special event on October 23. The device is expected to ship with a 7.85-inch screen and costs about half of what the current starting price for an iPad. Questions: 1. According to both articles, what have iPad sales to the K-12 market been doing to PC… 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 »

The End to Red Ink?

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The struggling online company, Groupon, has just announced promotion that will allow them to stay afloat. It is a combination of hardware and software that will allow businesses to accept credit cards at rate far lower than what most merchants are currently paying. Instead of the usual credit card processing fee of between 2% and… Read more »

The Business Model of Overstating Benefits: How Harmful or Ethical?

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It is estimated that between 50,000 to 100,000 patients died or had a heart attack as a result of taking the drug Advandia. For seven years, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) failed to report data that indicated Advandia increases the risk of heart attack by 40%. As we reported back in July, in the biggest health care fraud… Read more »

Private Equity Firms and A Tax Strategy Investigation

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Eric Schneiderman, the New York attorney general, is investigating abusive tax strategies at some of the nation’s largest private equity firms. As part of these efforts, last week, he subpoenaed documents from more than a dozen firms hoping to uncover conversion of certain management fees collected from their investors into fund investments, which are taxed… Read more »

Coming to a store near you: What are the cost and benefits of good health?

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Hy-Vee is the only grocery chain in the country that posts a registered dietitian in almost every one of its 235 stores. In rural areas, some of its more than 190 dietitians serve a cluster of stores. By doing this it capitalizes on growing consumer awareness of the role food plays in health and wellness… Read more »