Here in the United States, our mobile phone carriers are trying to wean consumers off phone subsidies, so we will begin to understand how much our phones really cost. Meanwhile, over in Samsung country, stores have been charging artificially low prices for the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, something that is kind of illegal in South Korea. [More]
Laid-off workers who relied on COBRA subsidies to help pay for health insurance saw the benefits end Wednesday. Under the program, the government paid 65 percent of COBRA costs with federal stimulus dollars. Wednesday saw the end of 15 months of extended subsidies for those who lost their jobs between September 2008 and May 2010.
The FCC has long subsidized access to land lines in rural areas, but will vote Tuesday to possibly shift the funding toward high-speed internet access.
A new study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston says that credit card reward programs have a sneaky hidden cost that the card holder doesn’t have to bear. This occurs because the fee that a retailer pays to run a credit card varies with every card, and reward cards cost more to process–in other words, the card issuer passes the cost of the rewards program on to the retailer. The retailer adapts by raising prices across the board, which distributes the cost of the reward program among all shoppers.
This is why you’re fat.
Health vs. Pork: Congress Debates the Farm Bill [Good Medicine]
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provided a 65% reduction in premiums for health benefits under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, which you probably know as COBRA. Now the benefits are ending for the first wave of unemployed people who signed up at the beginning of the program.
Kiplinger lists four ways you can still get some cash back from the government, although you’d better get a move on if you want to qualify. Included are a first-time home buyer’s credit that goes away November 30th, a new car tax credit, a COBRA premium subsidy for people laid off, and a slight unemployment payment benefit.
If you’re thinking about getting that new 3G iPhone, you might want to hold off a few more months and see what happens with the other carriers. BusinessWeek has an article about how AT&T’s aggressive subsidizing of the iPhone will have a negative impact on handset makers and carriers, because it’s going to force them to increase subsidies and reduce service fees. Translation: good times for the consumer bold enough to stay off the iPhone train.
The federal government continues to bungle the transition to digital television, this time by making it difficult for consumers to redeem subsidy coupons for DTV converter boxes.
The USDA likes to pay dead farmers to grow corn, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office. Some of the dead farmers received in excess of $500,000 in government subsidies. Hmm! How very mysterious!
- Draw a map of Chicago-area communities where businesses have received state subsidies. Now draw another of places plagued by joblessness.