Medicaid Audits Cost 5-times as Much as it Saved

Medicaid Audits Cost 5-times as Much as it Saved

  • Posted on: 9 December 2015
  • By: admin

Medicaid Audit Cost 5-times as Much as it Saved

Although politicians regularly cite rooting out Medicaid’s waste, fraud, and abuse as a potential source of savings, a new government analysis finds most of the audits designed to identify and stop unnecessary losses in the federal health care system for the poor have cost the taxpayers much more than they saved. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the nonpartisan investigative arm of Congress, the cost of federal Medicaid audits to taxpayers included at least $102 million in auditing fees since 2008. But these audits only found roughly $20 million in overpayments, according to investigators—meaning the audits cost five times as much as the amount of Medicaid fraud and waste discovered. 
 

Read the full story here: http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2012/10/25/federal-medicaid-waste-and-fraud-audits-cost-five-times-much-they-saved
 

Why You Should Care

It never gets old to expose ridiculous and imprudent government waste. Anyone with the time, willingness, or inclination to could easily cut billions of dollars from government programs without meaningfully affecting the economy or necessary services. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why there is such a lack of discussion regarding cutting frivolous spending. Certainly, the two parties can agree on this, right?

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Barney Frank Defends JP Morgan against NY Attorney General

Barney Frank Defends JP Morgan against NY Attorney General

  • Posted on: 9 December 2015
  • By: admin

Barney Frank Defends JP Morgan against NY Attorney General

In an interesting twist, Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the co-sponsor of the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory legislation, is coming to the defense of JP Morgan which is caught up in lawsuits over Bear Stearns being brought by the NY Attorney General. You can read the CNBC article at http://www.cnbc.com/id/49536630

Why You Should Care

Let me be clear, JP Morgan was begged by the U.S. Federal Government to buy Bear Stearns in 2008 as the troubled investment bank teetered on bankruptcy. Now NY State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is bringing lawsuits against JP Morgan based on the past transgressions of Bear Stearns. Although I understand the need to prosecute members of the financial community for their role in the collapse of the financial system, going after a firm that did all of us a favor, as evidenced by the severely negative reaction the system had to the Lehman bankruptcy, is simply wrong. What happens the next time the U.S. Government needs someone to “take one for the team”? Who’s stepping up if they might have to face lawsuits by zealous state AG’s?

It is absurd that no one has seen the inside of a jail cell for their roles in the 2008 crisis. Those that participated and perpetrated the frauds that were credit default swaps, over-leverage, and subprime mortgages should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But let’s say “thanks” to JP Morgan for buying Bear when no one else could/would. Save the lawsuits for JP Morgan’s direct involvement in the crisis.

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U.S. Home Prices Rise Most Since 2006

U.S. Home Prices Rise Most Since 2006

  • Posted on: 9 December 2015
  • By: admin
U.S. Home Prices Rise Most Since 2006
According to Zillow, in the third quarter U.S. home values increased by 1.3% over the second quarter, which marks the highest quarter-over-quarter growth rate since 2006. You can read the Bloomberg article at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-10-23/u-s-home-values-jump-the-most-since-2006-zillow-says.html
Why You Should Care
Housing prices are a big factor when it comes to consumer confidence. For most, the home is the single largest asset on the balance sheet, and as values rise, there is a wealth effect that helps reinforce confidence, which then leads to higher consumer spending. In concert with rising home prices, retail sales have seen strong growth in the last 3 months, with the latest September figure showing a 1.1% month-over-month growth rate. Given that the U.S. economy is 70% driven by consumer spending, rising home prices bode well for economic activity.
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Taxpayers Fund Battery Plant Where Employees Play Cards and Watch Movies (Watch Video)

Taxpayers Fund Battery Plant Where Employees Play Cards and Watch Movies (Watch Video)

  • Posted on: 9 December 2015
  • By: admin

Taxpayers Fund Battery Plant Where Employees Play Cards and Watch Movies (Watch Video)

 

HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) - Workers at LG Chem, a $300 million lithium-ion battery plant heavily funded by taxpayers, tell Target 8 that they have so little work to do that they spend hours playing cards and board games, reading magazines or watching movies.   They say it's been going on for months. "There would be up to 40 of us that would just sit in there during the day," said former LG Chememployee Nicole Merryman, who said she quit in May. "We were given assignments to go outside and clean; if we weren't cleaning outside, we were cleaning inside. If there was nothing for us to do, we would study in the cafeteria, or we would sit and play cards, sit and read magazines," said Merryman. "It's really sad that all these people are sitting there and doing nothing, and it's basically on taxpayer money."

 

http://www.woodtv.com/dpp/news/target_8/Volt-no-jolt-LG-Chem-employees-idle

 

Why You Should Care

 

This is just another example of wasted taxpayer money-much like we discussed last week with the Waste Book blog post. We are not saying that the U.S. Government shouldn’t support job & growth initiatives, but there needs to be greater accountability. Spending taxpayer money on the dream of electric cars, when there is clearly limited demand is not the correct way to spend OUR money. Greater strategic thought regarding Federal Grant programs combined with intense economic feasibility studies on a project basis should precede any substantial distribution of Federal funds to private sector enterprise.

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Observing the 25th Anniversary of the 1987 Stock Market Crash

Observing the 25th Anniversary of the 1987 Stock Market Crash

  • Posted on: 9 December 2015
  • By: admin

Observing the 25th Anniversary of the 1987 Stock Market Crash

Today, October 19, 2012, marks the 25th anniversary of the 1987 stock market crash known as “Black Monday”. The lesson remains, crashes present a great opportunity to buy. You can read a MarketWatch story at http://www.marketwatch.com/story/remembering-stocks-1987-crash-but-not-the-loss-2012-10-19

Why You Should Care

Many will use the anniversary of the 1987 crash to try to scare individuals with “can this happen again” types of stories. I’d like to take the opportunity to remind people that great companies can be bought for cheap prices while others are panic. We’ve had many “crashes” since 1987 and in all cases the right move has been to buy with both hands as stocks eventually returned to levels that gave the correct value for the profits being earned by the companies being represented. Although the stock of a company and the business itself are connected, that doesn’t mean that stock prices can’t become disconnected, both to the upside and to the downside. Real companies earning real profits continue to push forward regardless of the short-term moves of their stock. You invest in great businesses, not in a piece of paper.

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Nike Cancels Lance Armstrong Contract – Sad End to a Sad Outcome

Nike Cancels Lance Armstrong Contract – Sad End to a Sad Outcome

  • Posted on: 9 December 2015
  • By: admin

Nike Cancels Lance Armstrong Contract – Sad End to a Sad Outcome

Nike announced that it was cancelling its contract with Lance Armstrong due to the overwhelming evidence that the cyclist used performance enhancing drugs to help him dominate cycling for the last 15+ years. You can read the Associated Press story at http://finance.yahoo.com/news/nike-severs-ties-armstrong-great-131417262.html

Why You Should Care

The rumors had been swirling for years, but the US Anti-Doping Agency’s report on their investigation into Lance Armstrong finally made what many had assumed, reality. Lance Armstrong has done an amazing amount of good in the world. From being an inspiration for cancer patients to push through and survive, to the almost $500 million the Livestrong foundation has raised for cancer research since 1997, he truly has altered the course of the world for the better. But Nike is a business built on the purity of sport, and all of Lance Armstrong’s good can’t offset the fact that he indeed cheated. It’s one thing for Nike to cut financial ties with Armstrong, but hopefully we can separate the sports transgressions from the amazing charitable work that has been done. Chastise Lance for cheating, make an example of him to your kids, but let’s also keep it in perspective and give credit for an amazing amount of goodwill.

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Government Waste Exposed in Coburn’s ‘Waste Book’ - $19 Billion of Wasteful Spending

Government Waste Exposed in Coburn’s ‘Waste Book’ - $19 Billion of Wasteful Spending

  • Posted on: 9 December 2015
  • By: admin

Government Waste Exposed in Coburn’s ‘Waste Book’ - $19 Billion of Wasteful Spending

Senator Tom Coburn released his latest Waste Book which identifies $19 billion of wasteful government spending. You can read the Fox News story at http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/10/15/coburn-waste-book-details-1-billion-in-eye-opening-government-expenses/

Why You Should Care

Although $19 billion is a small amount compared to an annual deficit of $1 trillion and a national debt of over $16 trillion, those that choose to expose the government waste continue to find new reasons why the Federal Government can’t seem to function within its means. 

The argument for cutting our deficit always seems to start with raising revenue, which is a nice way to say raising taxes. When Democrats talk about allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for those earning over $250,000, they hope to raise roughly $100 billion in new revenue. But, why are higher taxes the starting point for the debate when Senator Coburn can find $19 billion from pet projects like NASA’s $1 million annual spend on creating a food menu for manned missions to Mars?

Let’s stop talking about higher taxes as the panacea for all of our deficit ills and let’s get back to talking about what we don’t need the government to pay for. Once we can agree to cut these less than worthwhile line items and more efficiently distribute our current tax revenue, we can then turn the discussion back to taxes as many are willing to pay taxes if they feel that their money will actually be used wisely.

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Private Sector Helping Veterans get Jobs

Private Sector Helping Veterans get Jobs

  • Posted on: 9 December 2015
  • By: admin

Private Sector Helping Veterans get Jobs

In an attempt to fill vacant manufacturing jobs, the Get Skills to Work coalition, made up of manufacturing companies like GE, Alcoa, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, is working to re-train veterans and get them back to work. You can read the Daily Beast story at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/10/15/past-patriotism-a-coalition-to-train-veterans-for-manufacturing-jobs.html

Why You Should Care

A major complaint by companies is that they lack trained workers to fill their job openings, especially in manufacturing. The U.S. is a services-based economy, with 70% of our GDP coming from non-manufacturing. As U.S. manufacturing continues to build momentum, we face a shortage of skilled manufacturing applicants. The Get Skills to Work coalition is a great example of private sector companies coming together to help veterans get the training they need to fill those positions. Does it help the companies? Of course it does. But that is how our system works the bets, when everyone benefits.

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U.S. Warns of Growing Cyber Attacks and their Impact on Business and Life

U.S. Warns of Growing Cyber Attacks and their Impact on Business and Life

  • Posted on: 9 December 2015
  • By: admin

U.S. Warns of Growing Cyber Attacks and their Impact on Business and Life

U.S. Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, discussed the growing cyber threat that U.S. companies and Government face. You can read an AP recap at http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/panetta-iran-a-cyberthreat-article-1.1181748

Why You Should Care

Get used to it. Expect more stories of rogue nations trying to cripple governments and economies through the networks that interconnect us all, and unfortunately, make us all more vulnerable. Until we focus on this problem and companies work together and share information on attacks and vulnerabilities with each other, we will continue to suffer through attacks that cripple online services like the ones experienced by bank websites and Gulf of Mexico oil companies.

As a consumer, we may feel this only as a slight inconvenience today. Can’t get to your online bill payment system?  No big deal, you can pay the electric bill tomorrow. But the real tragedy is the amount of intellectual property that simply slips through our borders and could, at their very worst, be the cause of death and destruction.

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Foreclosures in U.S. at Lowest Level Since 2007

Foreclosures in U.S. at Lowest Level Since 2007

  • Posted on: 9 December 2015
  • By: admin

Foreclosures in U.S. at Lowest Level Since 2007

This morning RealtyTrac released data that showed foreclosure activity in the U.S. has dropped to the lowest level since 2007. Foreclosures in the third quarter of 2012 fell 5% quarter-over-quarter and 13% year-over-year. You can read a CNBC recap at http://finance.yahoo.com/news/foreclosures-plunge-states-now-suffer-133323756.html

Why You Should Care

With each subsequent data point it appears that the housing market in the U.S. has bottomed and is starting to climb out of the cellar. Aside from the home typically being the largest asset an individual will own, housing has remained a big drag on U.S. GDP. With the bottoming and firming of the housing market, U.S. GDP can once again benefit from housing. In fact, PIMCO believes that housing will add 0.6% to GDP in 2013. Given we are heading toward a fiscal cliff in the U.S. that could amount to 4% of GDP, we’re going to need it to cushion the blow.

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