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Showing posts from May 16, 2014

Recording seems to refute claims made by Anthem

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["That's covered by our insurance?" "Correct." A shining example of the kind of innovation and cost-cutting efficiency that makes it so important to keep private insurers at the core of the US health care system. *RON*]

David Lazarus, Los Angeles Times, May 15, 2014
We've all heard stories about health insurance companies refusing to budge after denying a claim, often asserting that the policyholder was in the wrong.

David Cienfuegos said his wife was told by Anthem Blue Cross that his doctor was part of the insurer's coverage network, but then was left with the tab for about $5,800 in medical costs after Anthem insisted that it never said any such thing.

In this case, though, Cienfuegos, 40, has a digital recording of the Anthem rep clearly saying his surgery would be covered.

And he's suing to hold the insurer accountable.

"It's shameful," Cienfuegos told me. "It's like they have a policy o…

Alberta Caribou Land Will Go Up For Sale, Says Government

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[Stephen Harper will sleep well tonight, telling himself "Mission Accomplished." *RON*]

By Bob Weber, CP / Huffington Post, 05/15/2014



EDMONTON - Some of Alberta's last remaining habitat for two endangered caribou herds has been sold off for energy development and auctions for more of it will proceed despite calls for a halt.

"There aren't any plans at this time for any further moratoriums," Alberta Energy spokesman Mike Feenstra said Thursday.

A lease auction that began Wednesday included 1,700 hectares in northwestern Alberta used by the Narraway and Redrock-Prairie Creek mountain caribou herds.

Feenstra said that, so far, leases on 181 hectares of caribou range have been purchased for $4,830.42, or $26.63 per hectare.

Earlier this month, both the herds were assessed as endangered by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, the highest threat assessment in Canadian law.

Scientists on that committee say…

Senators cash in big-time on corporate tax break

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This posting adapts information from the Canadians for Tax Fairness web site.


Tax havens aren’t the only problem with our tax system that ends up putting more money in the pockets of corporations and very rich people.

Many of the exorbitant CEOs salaries you read about have been inflated by including stock options as part of their compensation packages. Current tax rules allow 50 per cent of the proceeds from stock options to be tax free. Every year, this loophole drains a staggering one billion dollars from federal and provincial budgets – and over 90% of the benefit goes to the top 1% of the wealthiest people in Canada. This recent news report from the National Post echoes our concerns. Canadian Senators are cashing in - big time.

The Hamilton Spectator recently published the Canadians for Tax Fairness editorial on this situation. And their recent column in Huffington Post got this reaction from readers.
“Why are taxpayers subsidizing executive stock options? Why are executive stoc…

Canadians' use of tax havens grows to $170 billion, and that's just legal flows

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[The Canada Revenue Agency has been as clearly charged with solving this problem as it has been hobbled by the Harper government in getting it done. See the Auditor General's report on the "notable gaps" in the Canada Revenue Agency’s capacity to detect and deter "aggressive tax planning." And, Mr. Harper, if you truly intend to solve this problem, please provide the Parliamentary Budget Office with the information it requires to complete a meaningful tax gap estimate! *RON*]

By the Canadian Press, May 2, 2014

OTTAWA - Canadians' use of tax havens for both legal and illegal purposes appears to be growing despite government efforts to curtail the practice, says a new paper from a tax avoidance watchdog.

Canadians for Tax Fairness says new data shows the use of 10 offshore tax havens by Canadian firms and individuals rose to $170 billion last year, up $15 billion from the year before.

The data shows that Canadian money is f…

The Right Way to Control the Banks

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[I don't believe that this is "the" way to control the banks - which implies that there is only one way. But a 15% capital requirement for banks is one sensible way to keep banks from being too big to fail. Sooner or later, though, central banks are also going to have to stop the flow of free money and raise interest rates - there will ever be an improvement in the real economy without this because, without this, there will be no incentive for CEOs to actually do anything for their salaries and for their corporations. *RON*]

Roger E. Alcaly, New York Review of Books, June 5, 2014
The Bankers’ New Clothes: What’s Wrong with Banking and What to Do About It by Anat Admati and Martin Hellwig. Princeton University Press, 398 pp., $29.95 Why, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke asked rhetorically in an April 2012 speech, did the collapse of the trillion-dollar market for subprime mortgages set off the most severe financial and economic c…