"As part of ongoing research into national healthcare spending, the Deloitte Center For Health Solutions recently published their findings based on health data from 2012." • "'One of the most interesting aspects of this study was the relative and significant increase in out-of-pocket health related expenses that consumers will continue to see. It is quickly becoming a driver of health spending growth for most consumers ‒ and we see this continuing to increase in the foreseeable future.' Sarah Thomas, MS ‒ Research Director at Deloitte Center for Health Solutions"
"The distribution of income and wealth in the United States has been widening more or less steadily for several decades, to a greater extent than in most advanced countries.1 This trend paused during the Great Recession because of larger wealth losses for those at the top of the distribution and because increased safety-net spending helped offset some income losses for those below the top. But widening inequality resumed in the recovery, as the stock market rebounded, wage growth and the healing of the labor market have been slow, and the increase in home prices has not fully restored the housing wealth lost by the large majority of households for which it is their primary asset. • The extent of and continuing increase in inequality in the United States greatly concern me. The past several decades have seen the most sustained rise in inequality since the 19th century after more than 40 years of narrowing inequality following the Great Depression. By some estimates, income and wealth inequality are near their highest levels in the past hundred years, much higher than the average during that time span and probably higher than for much of American history before then.2 It is no secret that the past few decades of widening inequality can be summed up as significant income and wealth gains for those at the very top and stagnant living standards for the majority. I think it is appropriate to ask whether this trend is compatible with values rooted in our nation's history, among them the high value Americans have traditionally placed on equality of opportunity."
"A new study shows that the chemical can seep into beverages and raise blood pressure within a few hours." • "Because of growing consumer concerns, some bottles and packaged food products now carry 'BPA free' claims on their labels. However, these products often contain chemically similar alternatives – like bisphenol S. One study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that plastic products advertised as BPA-free still leached chemicals with estrogenic activity – and some of these chemicals were even more potent than BPA. • Dr. Michels, at Harvard, who published a prominent study on BPA exposure , said she tries to avoid eating or drinking foods from cans and plastic bottles, and drinks carbonated water from glass bottles. She said labels that say 'BPA free' do nothing to assuage her concerns. • 'It doesn’t have bisphenol A, but on the other hand I worry that the new chemical they put in there may also be a problem,' she said. 'Exchanging one chemical for another doesn’t make me feel comfortable.'"
The United States is confronted with real foreign-policy challenges that will prove hard to resolve: militant Islam; the Palestine conflict, which is now in its seventh decade; an aggressive Russia, insisting on asserting its power, at least in its own neighborhood; continuing threats of nuclear proliferation. We will need the cooperation of China to address many, if not all, of these problems.
We should take this moment, as China becomes the world’s largest economy, to “pivot” our foreign policy away from containment. The economic interests of China and the U.S. are intricately intertwined. We both have an interest in seeing a stable and well-functioning global political and economic order. Given historical memories and its own sense of dignity, China won’t be able to accept the global system simply as it is, with rules that have been set by the West, to benefit the West and its corporate interests, and that reflect the West’s perspectives. We will have to cooperate, like it or not—and we should want to. In the meantime, the most important thing America can do to maintain the value of its soft power is to address its own systemic deficiencies—economic and political practices that are corrupt, to put the matter baldly, and skewed toward the rich and powerful.
A new global political and economic order is emerging, the result of new economic realities. We cannot change these economic realities. But if we respond to them in the wrong way, we risk a backlash that will result in either a dysfunctional global system or a global order that is distinctly not what we would have wanted.
"WASHINGTON — INDIVIDUAL taxpayers aren’t supposed to claim shady deductions on their taxes. But between 2008 and 2013, Congress allowed many business owners to do just that. This year congressional Republicans have tried to make this audacious dishonesty permanent, and a number of Democrats have gone along. • This license to steal goes by the sunny moniker “bonus depreciation.” Shorn of its mind-numbing complexity, bonus depreciation allows a business to pretend that its buildings and equipment wear out far faster than they actually do. Even without bonus depreciation, businesses routinely receive large deductions for their capital investments long before they have used up those investments — and often before they have even finished paying for them."
"Smashing the assumptions about what it's really like to live in poverty in America." • "Last year, Linda Tirado wrote an online essay called 'Poverty Thoughts' as an answer to the question, 'Why do poor people do things that seem so self-destructive?' Drawing on her own experiences with poverty, and written with sharp black humor, it went viral with blazing speed, and has now been read by more than six million people. A year later, she’s got a new book – and it’s a funny, angry, personal appeal for empathy and humanity for the millions of Americans in poverty. This hour, On Point: Linda Tirado on 'Hand to Mouth' America."
"Attorneys general have become the object of pursuit by lobbyists who use campaign contributions, personal appeals and other means to sway investigations or negotiate favorable deals, an investigation by The New York Times has found."