Reps. George Miller and Joe Courtney are calling on the Labor Department to investigate "allegations of misconduct by doctors and lawyers working on behalf of the coal industry" and their roles in benefits denied to coal miners with black lung disease.
In today's world, the banking experience is completely rebuilt. Long gone are the days of driving up to a window and getting a real live teller to help you cash your check.
Some big banks are replacing tellers with ATMs, while some people are avoiding banks completely, instead going to payday lenders and check cashiers.
But another route? Technology.
Simple is a tech company started by Josh Reich and Shamir Karkal that hopes to eliminate the hassle associated with traditional banks. "We think of ourselves really as a branchless banking service," says Reich. Customers get a card and access to ATMs, he explains, but "what we really do is provide customers with an informative web and mobile experience."
All customers of Simple must have a smartphone, Reich says. "We knew from day one that people's wallets were right next to their phones, and we wanted to close the information loop," he says. If you don't own an iOS or Android device, you can't access Simple.
What about the dangers of getting hacked?
"We take security very seriously, and the mobile phone allows us to be even more secure," he says. A mobile phone allows the company to provide services that traditional banks only give to their high-end clients, like multi-factoral authentication.
He says that they are able to reduce costs because of their technology.
"If you look at banking technology in 1990, it used to cost a bank around $250 a year in technology costs just to keep an account around. In 2010, that cost was still $250. Banks have invested so little in technology that they haven't been able to reap any of the cost savings."
Cost savings that, hopefully, could be passed on to the consumer.
California Rep. Mike Honda appears to have been caught dozing off twice in public recently. The optics could prove problematic for the veteran congressman, who is facing the toughest fight of his political career from a much younger challenger.
Here at Marketplace Money we get way more questions than we could ever hope to answer. That's why we created the Lightning Round. This week:
"My husband and I owe $42,000 in car loans and medical debt. Hubby makes $96,000 a year. I want to own a house one day. My husband's family feels we should file for bankruptcy. Do you agree?"
Chris on Facebook asks:
"What makes a home valuable? How about simply liking to live there?"
Sarah sent us an email:
"I have over $40,000 in college debt. I am expecting my first child in January and want to make a solid plan to pay back my loans. Is consolidation a good idea?"
"My mom is a pleaser; she'd prioritize happiness over pretty much anything else and the credit card balances showed that. Dad on the other hand has no problem saying no; when he handles the money, everyone knew exactly when the money was gone. Who was right?"
"What is your budgeting advice for people like real estate agents who are only paid when a sale is completed? Is there a formula for how much to save, how much to put away for taxes, how much to pay off bills?"
"I recently heard about this blog called www.MrMoneyMustache.com, written by a guy who retired at 30 and who says we all could do it too. My question: Can you interview him on the show?"
Tom on Facebook asks:
"I own a small business, of which my wife and I are the only employees. How does Obamacare affect us?"
To ask your own questions, leave us a Marketplace voicemail comment:
Rob Ford has admitted to smoking crack and to being drunk when he went on a profanity-laced rant. His brother said Friday that the mayor needs to take a break, and Ford's lawyer said his client may seek treatment for substance abuse.
The recent history of White House apologies teaches us a lesson: Being president means never having to say you're sorry. At least not in a convincing, soulful, direct way.
October's jobs report looks good. But many economists believe the economy is becoming too complicated and technologically advanced for the Bureau of Labor Statistics to measure accurately using current methods.
The recent discovery of polio in Syria and Israel should be a wake-up call to European health officials, scientists say. Low vaccination rates in some regions could offer the crippling virus a chance to reenter Europe and possibly gain a foothold. Vaccines used there also make it more likely that people can spread the virus.
The last time the monument's height was measured was in 1999. And with scaffolding in place for earthquake repairs, engineers have a rare opportunity to take official measurements of the iconic obelisk.
In exclusive footage published by the public television documentary program Frontline, billionaire hedge fund manager Steven Cohen -- founder of SAC Capital -- describes federal securities laws as "vague" and asks for repeated explanation on the specifics of insider trading.
It's especially relevant now, considering his firm pled guilty to insider trading and agreed to pay $1.2 billion in fines for the violation on Monday, making them the first major Wall Street firm in a generation to own up to criminal conduct.
The footage comes from a filmed deposition obtained by Frontline. In it, Cohen is read a portion of his own firm's rules against insider trading.
Although SAC Capital's own manual says the rules must be "strictly adhered to," Cohen contradictorily sees them as "guidelines."
The rules, Cohen says, "are very vague" and when he's asked if he's familiar with the specific insider trading rule (Rule 10b5-1), Cohen's answer isn't immediate:
Which leads the attorney to ask whether he's actually read the rules, to which Cohen replies "I might've read them. I just don't remember."
Insider information is knowledge of an event that’s going to affect a company’s stock price, things like bankruptcies; a merger with another company; and a drug getting approved or not -- so not understanding the rule in detail as a hedge fund manager of a giant firm is cause for serious concern. Although Cohen himself was not personally charged by federal prosecutors, he is facing a separte SEC investigation. For those of you still a bit confused, check out our Whiteboard explainer on insider trading.
You can watch more clips from the contentious deposition here.
It was prostate cancer, not an assassin's poison, that killed the famous Chilean poet, officials announced Friday. The Nobel laureate's body was exhumed this spring to investigate claims that he was murdered at age 69 in 1973.
Bank of America is testing out a new concept at one of its New York branches. Instead of a live teller behind the glass, it has a teller connected via videoconference in a souped-up ATM machine in the lobby.
This saves money because it allows the lobby to be smaller and a single teller to service multiple branches. BoA says it will open up five more of these branches this year in Charlotte, Boston and New York.
BoA is just one of many banks that are moving away from the traditional teller line, including megabanks like it and Wells, but also midsized financial institutions and even a fair amount of community banks. Each has taken a slightly different approach, but it's a system-wide trend.
If the concept proves popular, it may open even more next year, just the latest experiment from a big bank looking to reinvent its customer experience -- though there is some backlash by tellers themselves over the change. Is this another way for banks to cut costs and provide less service, or will virtual tellers improve the customer experience?
There are a number of startups out there looking to reinvent the banking experience using mobile technology, but security worries concern many Americans. Should consumers be worried? Or does new-age banking prevent the security lapses we've seen with traditional banking?
Mobile links and video chats are neat as ATMs go, but in many ways banks are just catching up. After all, many elderly people use Skype to see their great grandkids. As bankers view it, they don’t need to pay for all those teller desks because even grandma’s moving on.
CNN Money: What's next for retiree health care
The Barbershop guys meet us in St. Louis this week. They'll weigh in on the Miami Dolphins' bullying debate, and ask whether a California high school's mascot is offensive.
St. Louis might be known for legendary entertainers like Josephine Baker, or star athletes like Yogi Berra, but now there's something else putting the city on the map. It's known as the 'Chess Capital of the World.' Host Michel Martin learns more from St. Louis native and chess National Master, Charles Lawton.
Host Michel Martin continues the conversation surrounding Missouri's controversial school transfer policy with Don Marsh of St. Louis Public Radio; Ty McNichols, who leads the city's Normandy School District; and Eric Knost, Superintendent of Mehlville School District.
Missouri's state Supreme Court says that school districts that lose accreditation must pay for students to go elsewhere, if that's what their parents want. But in St. Louis, the process has opened up complicated questions of race and class. Host Michel Martin delves into the issue.
The New York Times reported yesterday that the CIA is paying AT&T $10 million a year for phone record data that could help counterterrorism efforts overseas. The new surveillance program is different from similar domestic and foreign efforts conducted by the NSA. Charlie Savage, the reporter for The New York Times who broke the story, tells Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson about the CIA's arrangement with AT&T, and what it means for the ongoing debate about government surveillance.
The latest jobs report defied expectations this morning: payrolls grew by 204,000 people in October, contrary to the 120,000-figure forecasted by surveyed economists. Does this mean the labor markets emerged from the government shutdown unscathed?
Down in the trenches of the labor market, people don't need a government forecast to tell them that times are still tough for so many. This is especially true in Nevada, where 9.5 percent of the workforce remains unemployed. After a five month stretch without work, 24-year-old Rebecca Farewell Prisaznuk finally found a job she likes working for the state in Carson City. But that wasn't the end of her unemployment nightmare.
The Labor Department reported this morning that employers added 204,000 workers to their payrolls in October, but the jobless rate rose to 7.3 percent from 7.2 percent. The report was delayed for a week due to last month's government shutdown, and was well above the dire predictions of many economists.
But down in the trenches of the labor market, people don't need a government forecast to tell them that times are still tough for so many. This is especially true in Nevada, where 9.5 percent of the workforce remains unemployed.
After a five month stretch without work, 24-year-old Rebecca Farewell Prisaznuk finally found a job she likes working for the state in Carson City. But that wasn't the end of her unemployment nightmare.
"It was tough. I mean, I want to look at it in perspective, because I think compared to a lot of people, I wasn't unemployed for that long," Prisaznuk says of her time as a unemployment statistic. "But when you're in that situation, you realize how hard it is to pay your bills and make sure you're putting food on the table."
Debts began to pile up while Prisaznuk was unemployed. Between student loans and some emergency medical bills, Prisaznuk says she was forced to take out a personal loan just to stay afloat. Despite that she's now employed again, Prisaznuk says her debts are so significant that her new job doesn't cover her expenses. She has no choice other than to find a second job, essentially to pay for the 5 months she spent without work.
"I've been looking since June for part-time work -- retail or food service -- because I know a lot of those will have more evening geared shifts so that's more along the lines of what my schedule will allow," she says.
And finding a decent part-time job is a challenge too, especially in a place like Nevada. Prisaznuk has had to struggle with potential jobs that offer low wages and not much time to think about whether it's a good fit for her.
"It's kind of an employers' market, I think, at this point in time," she says. "So, they can ask you to make a decision really quickly or offer you a lower wage just because there are so many other people who will jump at it, so they kind of put you in a tough spot."
Most holidays give businesses another excuse to target all consumers, but Veterans Day is different.
"This is actually something that people put lives on line typically, then earn the right to really celebrate," says David Berkowitz, Chief Marketing Officer for the New York marketing firm MRY.
Berkowitz says the holiday does give the rest of us a chance to recognize the country's 21.9 million veterans, but there are no hard rules for businesses that want to do it with discounts.
"It is going to be a bit of a moving target," he explains. "It’s not like 10 percent off is enough, but 20 percent -- that’s great. What is something that is a bit above and beyond what someone will find in a typical circular, or that veterans will be especially excited about. If it's something really good they'll want to spread the word about it, so another thing that's also really important today is having that hook to make it easy to share."
Military.com lists dozens of discounts this year for veterans and their families - everything from free admission to National Parks to a free meal at Hooters. But where’s the line between recognizing military service and boosting profit margins?
"We exist in a marketplace where consumers are very much concerned with authenticity," says Kelly Martin, Associate Professor of Marketing and Ethics at Colorado State University. She says it’s hard to tell which companies are trying to recognize veterans and which ones just want their money. "A lot of it comes down to how it makes them feel, right? If it doesn’t feel authentic, my guess is that it’s probably not."
Regardless of intent many veterans are grateful for the discounts, according to Joe Davis, spokesman for the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).
"Military folks, I mean they’re not driving up to these restaurants in Mercedes," says Davis. "For the most part, a lot of them are living paycheck to paycheck, so any discount that any commercial business can provide them is a good discount.
Besides, Davis adds, anytime Americans thank our veterans "that’s a good thing."