Other News

Calif. retailer sentenced to prison for tax, workers comp fraud

Calif. retailer sentenced to prison for tax, workers comp fraud

The owner and operator of a Southern California retail chain was sentenced to two years in prison for sales tax evasion, false income tax returns, failure to pay taxes and workers compensation fraud, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced Wednesday.
Between 2010 and 2016, Jeong Kim, owner and operator of more than 50 Los Angeles-based Fashion Q and Q stores in Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, San Bernardino and Ventura counties, failed to report more than $29 million in taxable sales, more than $39 million in taxable income, more than $8 million in wages, and evaded payment of $5.6 million in sales, income and payroll tax.
The owner also failed to report more than $7 million in wages to his insurance carriers and evaded payment of $353,792 in workers compensation insurance, according to a press release.
“Failing to pay payroll taxes, sales taxes and workers compensation insurance hurts employees, our local communities and businesses that are playing by the rules,” said Attorney General Becerra in a press statement.
“The California Department of Justice will continue to hold criminals accountable and protect the pockets of Californians who pay their fair share.”

Like everything else, Congress is underfunding the Social Security Administration
Social Security Disability

Like everything else, Congress is underfunding the Social Security Administration

After all, they paid for those benefits during their working years through Social Security payroll taxes.
But thanks to draconian budget cuts to the Social Security Administration (SSA), too many applicants face long hold times and busy signals— or deadly-long waits for disability hearings.
You don’t have to be an actuary to figure out: When workloads increase and funding is cut, service suffers.
Senators, demanding that Congress restore adequate funding for the Social Security Administration.
“You wait and wait and wait, and then you die,” he said.
SSA has severely cut back on the number of Social Security Statements mailed out to current and future beneficiaries, from 153 million in 2010 to ten million in 2017.
The average national wait time for a Social Security disability insurance hearing is the highest ever.
The House-approved fiscal 2018 appropriations legislation would continue underfunding the agency, freezing SSA’s operating budget for another year.
The Senate Appropriations Committee has proposed an even more painful reduction of some $460 million, nearly 4 percent of the agency’s operating budget.
So why continue to cut the agency’s budget?

Where Netflix goes, Big Tech may follow

Where Netflix goes, Big Tech may follow

Traders work on the floor of the NYSE in New York Thomson Reuters By Noel Randewich SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Netflix Inc’s quarterly report on Monday may offer an advanced preview of whether Facebook Inc , Amazon.com Inc and other heavyweights behind much of the U.S. stock market’s record-breaking rally can keep delivering.
Many of the S&P 500’s largest companies – Microsoft Corp , Apple Inc , Alphabet Inc , and Amazon.com – have outperformed in the first 12 trading days of 2018, with investors betting strong earnings growth will justify tech valuations at their highest levels in a decade.
As of Thursday, Netflix, which is due to report its quarterly results on Monday after the stock market closes, had jumped nearly 15 percent this year, outpacing the S&P 500’s 5 percent increase.
Netflix’s 53 percent surge in 2017, along with rallies by shares of Amazon.com and Silicon Valley’s largest tech companies, helped propel the stock market to new highs. “Netflix is going to be a great early indicator of risk appetite for these high-volatility growth names,” said Wedbush trader Joel Kulina.
But investors remain optimistic about its ability to beat expectations.
Its stock recently traded at 95 times expected earnings for the next 12 months, versus AMC Entertainment at 44 times earnings and Time Warner Inc at 14 times earnings, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Analysts on average expect S&P 500 technology companies to deliver a 15.9 percent increase in earnings for the December quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Analysts on average expect a 32.5 percent jump in revenue to $3.28 billion, and net income of $186.3 million, up 179 percent.
Facebook will post quarterly results on Jan. 31, followed by Amazon.com, Apple and Alphabet on Feb 1.

Jobless claims crash to 45-year low, fall 41,000 to 220,000

Jobless claims crash to 45-year low, fall 41,000 to 220,000

The numbers: Initial U.S. jobless claims tumbled by 41,000 to 220,000 in mid-January, marking the biggest one-week decline since 2009.
The number of new claims also touched the lowest level since February 1973.
Economists polled by MarketWatch has forecast claims to total 250,000 in the seven days ended Jan. 13.
The level of claims gives a rough idea of how many people are losing their jobs.
The more stable monthly average of claims, meanwhile, declined by a smaller 6,250 to 244,500, the government said Thursday.
What happened: In early January claims fell sharply in New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia.
They’ve been under the key 300,000 threshold for 150 straight weeks, the longest stretch since the late 1967 to 1970.
Unemployment is likely to dip below 4% this year for the first time since the winter of 2000.
: “The role of claims as a leading indicator of the unemployment rate remains intact and the signal is for further declines in the jobless rate,” said Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at MFR Inc.
The unemployment rate stood at a 17-year low of 4.1% in December.

When politicians exploit inequality
Social Security Disability

When politicians exploit inequality

In a market economy, some inequality is necessary to reward innovation and hard work, but too often class differences are abused by cynical politicians.
Inequality can be too extreme.
Future prosperity is not well served when the children of the poor and working classes are trapped in dysfunctional communities and denied access to decent schools, universities and other means for escape.
In a democracy, politicians can exploit those conditions with quite destructive consequences.
Fraudulent social security disability pensions, food stamps, subsidized housing and free health care are significantly responsible for many able bodied adults dropping out of the workforce.
Democrats have a simple explanation for inequality — it is the maniacal outcome of a culture dominated by white males.
Hence, it is immoral and should be slain by an elaborate system of redistributionist policies and regulations that relentlessly punish a whole class defined at birth by gender and race — white males.
Affirmative action, regulations imposed by the California Fair Pay Act, Labor Department mandates for quotas on hiring and firing and federal rules enabling university accuse-to-convict rape tribunals and bold-faced persecution of conservative scholars form only a short list of rancid acts and insidious violations of universally embraced principles of justice and human rights.
Overall, the Trump administration and Republican Congress — much like President Bush and his Republican Congress before them — are hardly addressing the genuine concerns of the great mass of voters who put them in power.
Yet, the clients and executive class of the liberal state see the GOP as an existential threat to their systems of privileges and persecution so carefully erected during the Clinton and Obama years.

Health care environment named top concern in comp survey

Health care environment named top concern in comp survey

Rising costs, advances and uncertainty in health care were named top concerns for 2018 among workers compensation executives surveyed recently, the National Council on Compensation Insurance announced Wednesday.
The Boca Raton, Florida-based ratings agency conducts the annual survey of senior insurance executives to help the industry identify key issues for workers compensation insurers, the group said in a press release.
For the fourth consecutive year, insurance executives identified the health care environment as their top concern for 2018.
Concerns that followed included political, regulatory, legislative and legal environment; maintaining profitability both today and tomorrow; the changing workplace and workforce; the future of the workers compensation industry; and opioid abuse and medical marijuana. “The results of our (survey) help us focus our research and analytical efforts in the year to come on the issues that matter most,” said Bill Donnell, NCCI president and chief executive officer, in a press release. “In 2018, NCCI will focus more than ever on providing stakeholders the information and key insights they need to navigate through the complex workers compensation environment.”
NCCI conducted the annual survey in September 2017, polling the most senior executives at more than 100 insurers across the United States.

Governors Ask Trump and Congress to Do More for Fight Against Opioids

Governors Ask Trump and Congress to Do More for Fight Against Opioids

(CHERRY HILL, N.J.) — Less than three months after President Donald Trump declared the U.S. opioid crisis a public health emergency, the nation’s governors are calling on his administration and Congress to provide more money and coordination for the fight against the drugs, which are killing more than 90 Americans a day.
The list of more than two dozen recommendations made Thursday by the National Governors Association is the first coordinated, bipartisan response from the nation’s governors since Trump’s October declaration.
The governors praised him for taking a first step, which included a pledge to support states’ efforts to pay for drug treatment through Medicaid, the joint federal-state health insurance program for low-income people.
But the governors also called for more action.
Trump’s emergency declaration came in response to recommendations from a commission he appointed to address the toll of opioids, a class of drugs that ranges from prescription painkillers to illegal drugs such as heroin and illicit fentanyl.
It was chaired by former New Jersey Gov.
Chris Christie, a Republican who left office this week.
“The opioid and heroin epidemic knows no boundaries, and governors across the country are keenly aware of the challenges it poses for our communities and the growing need for comprehensive, bipartisan solutions to help end the epidemic,” Massachusetts Gov.
A spokesman for the White House Office on National Drug Control Policy said the administration is committed to working with states and addressing their recommendations.
The governors also called for the White House to put someone in charge of a coordinated effort on opioids.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker pushes welfare overhaul to include work requirement for parents on food stamps

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker pushes welfare overhaul to include work requirement for parents on food stamps

The GOP governor is pushing for a series of welfare bills, including requiring able-bodied parents of children on food stamps to work or get training to receive more than three months of benefits and increasing the existing work requirement for all able-bodied adults from 20 hours a week to 30.
This existing requirement — offered by Walker in 2013 — has led so far to about 3.5 recipients losing benefits for every one that secured a job through the program.
“We want to remove barriers to work and make it easier to get a job, while making sure public assistance is available for those who truly need it.”
Walker has referred to Tuesday’s loss in Wisconsin’s 10th Senate District as “wake-up call for Republicans” and this week the governor has pushed aggressively to remind his voters about his records and goals.
Republicans say these proposals would make individuals more self-sufficient and help employers find workers at a time when the state unemployment rate is at 3%.
Taking parents’ food stamps will lower the household’s income and have an inevitable effect on their kids, they said.
The other bills deal in part with the food stamp program known as Food Share, in which federal taxpayers pay for benefits and the state helps pay for administrative costs.
The state’s existing training requirements for childless adults cost the state roughly $18 million in state money over two years and have led to 24,420 able-bodied Food Share participants in the state finding work through the program and 86,000 state residents losing their federally funded benefits.
The state could use the money to pay contractors for reaching big cost savings or improvements in performance.
“Public assistance was never intended to be permanent,” Vos said in a statement.

5 Ways Social Security Protects You and Your Family
Social Security Disability

5 Ways Social Security Protects You and Your Family

As you prepare for a financially secure future, you should know about these five benefits that you, your spouse, and your children may become eligible for through Social Security: Retirement benefits provide you with a continuous source of income later in life.
If you’ve earned enough credits, you can start receiving your full retirement benefits at age 66 or 67 — depending on when you were born.
Learn more at: www.socialsecurity.gov/disability.
Child benefits support your minor children while you’re receiving Social Security retirement benefits or disability benefits.
This financial support also is available to adult children who become disabled before age 22.
Grandchildren and stepchildren may qualify in certain situations.
Spousal benefits supplement a couple’s income if one of the two never worked or had low lifetime earnings.
It’s likely the survivor benefits you have under Social Security carry greater value than your individual life-insurance policy.
Currently, Social Security provides benefits to more than 66 million American workers and their families.
Learn more about all of our programs at www.socialsecurity.gov.

Who Can Take Social Security Before Age 62?
Social Security Disability

Who Can Take Social Security Before Age 62?

There are several situations where you can get Social Security benefits even if you’re much younger than early retirement age.
More than 8.7 million disabled people under age 65 receive monthly benefits from Social Security.
Spouses can also sometimes receive benefits on account of a worker’s disability if they’re caring for a child under age 16 who’s getting children’s benefits under the program.
If the surviving spouse is disabled, then the benefits can start as early as age 50.
In addition, surviving spouses can claim benefits at any age if they’re caring for a child under age 16 who claims children’s Social Security benefits, as long as they don’t remarry.
The Social Security Administration counts nearly 4 million surviving spouses who claim benefits, but not all of these people make their claims before they turn 62.
Disabled children are entitled to lifelong survivor benefits as long as their disability began before their 22nd birthday and remain disabled.
Younger spouses and children of those receiving retirement benefits In very limited circumstances, benefits are available to spouses and children after a worker claims retirement benefits, even when those family members are younger than age 62.
In order to qualify, the following requirements must be met: Children can receive benefits if they’re under age 18, still in high school and 19 or younger, or disabled.
Spouses can receive benefits before age 62 as long as they’re caring for a child under age 16 who’s receiving Social Security benefits on the worker’s earnings history.