Ending the “Doctor Shortage”

navydoc

We Americans do not have the world’s “best” health care, just the most expensive.

Health Care reform must consider skyrocketing costs if any progress is made. We walk a tightrope between cost and quality.

When I slung gin over the bar, one learnt rather quickly from frazzled nurses that “M.D.” too often stood for “Me, Doctor!”  The human body is a complex beastie, but we need choices other than which expired medico to raise from the dead, Dr.… [Read more]

Criminal Charges and Civil Inquiries for JP Morgan? No surprise…

JP Morgan Chase

Banks behaving badly (now referred to as BBB) should be the title of an on-going saga with the nation’s largest financial institutions. It’s also the reason why harsh penalties and strict regulations are needed to keep Wall Street from running amok.

In the latest episode of ‘BBB’, J.P. Morgan Chase, the nation’s largest bank based on its asset size, is back in the news again. … [Read more]

Another stop on the state of the economy road trip

President Obama

“How about a ‘grand bargain’ for middle-class jobs?” Indeed, that is the question. While Congress spends its time on the time-wasting activity of yet another ‘down with Obamacare‘ vote (does this latest vote make 40 attempts to snatch healthcare coverage from the country’s previously uninsured citizens?), President Obama spoke at a another stop on his ‘state of the economy’ road trip.… [Read more]

Banks *still* behaving badly

Energy Markets and JP Morgan Chase

Yesterday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) — the independent agency responsible for  assisting consumers in “obtaining reliable, efficient and sustainable energy services at a reasonable cost through appropriate regulatory and market means” — released a notice on the allegations against a J.P. Morgan Chase affiliate. JPMC has been accused by  federal energy regulators, after a investigation that began approximately one year ago, of using ”eight manipulative bidding strategies” to garner what the regulators deem to be “excessive payments” from electricity markets.… [Read more]

Municipal Debt and Congressional Hypocrisy

GOP Hypocrisy

Since the City of Detroit made history by declaring the largest municipal bankruptcy in the nation’s history, there has been much talk about credit ratings, debt burdens and the legalities of bankruptcy, which allows those who declare it to take time to restructure their financial obligations and, often, to repay less than what was previously owed.… [Read more]

How to Weaken Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform…One Bill at a Time

Dodd-Frank Act: How to weaken it

H.R. 1105, the Small Business Capital Access and Job Preservation Act, was introduced by Congressman Robert Hurt (R-Virginia). The purpose of the Act is to exempt advisers to certain private equity funds from the new registration requirements required by Title IV of the Dodd-Frank Act, the Wall Street reform act that is supposed to regulate the practices of Wall Street to prevent another financial crisis. … [Read more]

Fifty years and counting for paycheck fairness

pay check fairness?

Fifty years ago, President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act of 1963 as part of his New Frontier program. The federal law amended the Fair Labor Standards Act that was directed at abolishing wage disparity based on gender.

Today, 50 years to the day, President Obama marked the anniversary of the Equal Pay Act.… [Read more]

Flogging the Taxman Redux

irs1040

Congressional Republicans are trying to keep alleged White House “scandals” simmering well past al dente doneness. As facts unfold, it’s more like vainly trying to keep a wave upon the sandy beach.

Let’s remember last year’s GOP presidential primaries. Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) made a seemingly intoxicated tirade about a tax return the size of a postcard.… [Read more]

The next big financial bubble can be popped.

Senator Elizabeth Warren

Education can be an individual’s or a nation’s greatest investment. We talk about the disparity between the  public education provided to students with fewer economic resources and those who have greater financial means. We also talk about gender differences in that young women are often steered away from  Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields of study.… [Read more]

Immoral…

Immoral Budget Cuts

Religious leaders have called it immoral; some have even suggested that Jesus himself would oppose it. Various leaders of the Republican party have opposed it and even David Stockman, Ronald Reagan’s budget director, called it a fairy tale. Many on the left have referred to it as ‘austerity on steroids.’

What has all of these different people so upset?… [Read more]

Budget Bargaining

Obama Budget

Many of us are watching the next move in the political game of financial chess. Today, President Obama will submit his long-awaited budget proposal. Keeping focus on deficit reduction in the face of a slowly recovering economy and unemployment figures that hover in the upper end of the 7 percent level, the president’s proposal includes $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade, which is expected to bring in total deficit savings to $4.3 trillion.… [Read more]

Can anyone imagine Congress taking a pay cut?

Sequester

President Obama’s salary and pension may be exempt from sequestered cuts but that hasn’t stopped him from taking the same cut that other federal employees are being subjected to due to budget sequestration. Today, it was announced that the POTUS plans to return 5% of his $400,000 annual salary in response to and in support of federal workers who are going to be furloughed.… [Read more]

Paid Sick Leave: Approved.

Paid Sick Leave Deal Made

A few days ago, the issue of earned sick days for workers was in the news. Its was noted that, for example, more than a million residents of New York who do not have paid sick days and that suffering an illness means losing out on a pay check at best and a job at worst. … [Read more]

Earned Sick Days for Workers – Will the idea catch on?

Christine Quinn

Legacies. If or when elected officials think about how their constituents will remember them once they’re out of office, what thoughts cross their minds? Do they think about how they could have left their jurisdictions better than they found them? Do they give thought to how they could have reached back a little bit more to help those who were most in need of their support?… [Read more]

The Economy’s Back! But for Whom?

In-the-Money

Though the news this week is of the election of Pope Francis and what this means for the Catholic Church’s Legacy following the resignation of Benedict XVI, I want to focus on the big news last week. Last Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit the astronomical all-time high of 14,253.77, and has continued breaking records for nine straight trading days.… [Read more]

Beware of elephants bearing ‘gifts’

Boehnerquester

So the Republican-controlled House of Representatives proposed a $982 billion bill to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year instead of more brinksmanship.  Before we start dancing in the streets, and name a few golf courses and watering holes  after House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the devil is again in the details.

As a former Federal agency budget analyst and before that, a military comptroller, we need to look beyond the spin platitudes and delve into the numbers.… [Read more]

When the going gets tough, the tough go on vacation.

USA BOEHNER SEQUESTER

Two-time Pulitzer winning cartoonist Mike Luckovich, of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, sketched an appropriate cartoon the other day on the string of inept GOP brinksmanship showdowns. Yes, America is tired of it. Making a mess in the kitchen, and leaving it for the missus is not a path to domestic bliss.

Kowtowing to the Tea Terrorists, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Oh.) “led” his ‘Party of No’ on another sabotage raid on the American economy.… [Read more]

All the wrong talking points…but they still won’t shut up.

fox-gop425

How many times must the GOP and its laughable public relations firm, Fox News, be wrong before they realise that it’s a good idea to remain silent?

When an announcement came from the office of the Israeli President, Shimon Peres, on Monday that President Obama will receive the Presidential Medal of Distinction – the first time ever that Israel has given this honour to a sitting US president – I wondered just what will it take?… [Read more]

Obama’s Stirring SOTU Speech

sotu_cc

For a guy who never has to face another election to keep his job, President Obama confidently strode to the dais to deliver a bright, ambitious smorgasbord of public needs and his answers to a weary, but recovering, nation saddled by an obstructionist Congress.

State of the Union

In a stirring address, the President told the Joint Session of Congress, America, and the world, that while much has been accomplished, much remains to be done. … [Read more]

What makes *them* so important? Bankers are not too big to jail!

wall street: the untouchables

FRONTLINE documentary titled “The Untouchables” aired on PBS stations last night. The focus on the financial system meltdown of over four years ago may have been eye-opening to anyone who hasn’t been paying attention to the financial services industry but, for the rest of us who have a Wall Street-sized chip on our shoulders, the excellent documentary served to heighten our disgust at the fact that no bankers were jailed for crumbling the U.S.… [Read more]