March 10, 2014 |
Will "Obamacare," for all its start-up pains, ultimately prove a boon to the economy beyond its chief purpose: providing universal access to affordable health insurance, as in every other industrialized nation? I argued so last month, after widely misportrayed projections by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would reduce "job lock," the impetus to stay in a job only for health coverage, say, for a hard-to-insure spouse. Ending job and entrepreneurship lock should spur people to pursue their talents and ambitions, to all our benefit.
March 3, 2014 |
Consumers have always had a twisted relationship with the credit-reporting industry. The three key national players - Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion - each maintain files on more than 200 million Americans. But their primary business has always been about us, not with us. And that has led to maddening, costly, and even financially harmful results - say, when they get something wrong in your records but don't seem to care much about fixing it. Thankfully, the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has stepped into the breach, by trying to untangle this Gordian knot of commercial interests and lack of interest.
February 27, 2014 |
Many business concepts begin with a market problem. For partners Aqil Jones, Saiyd Muhammed, and Ladia Hinton, it was a design flaw in the standard-issue niqab , or Islamic face veil - which, it turns out, is ideal for maintaining modesty, but less so for eating or drinking. Their solution: The ZipNiqab. Instead of lifting, flicking, or tucking her veil, a woman can zip it open and snap the fabric in place behind her head for hassle-free dining. In 2011, they tapped their savings, ordered the first run of ZipNiqabs, and began selling them to clients in Europe, Asia, and here in Philadelphia.
February 27, 2014 |
DELANCO The New Jersey Economic Development Authority has offered Dietz & Watson Co. $30.8 million in tax credits to rebuild a meat storage plant in Delanco destroyed by fire last year. Officials of the Philadelphia-based cold-cuts company did not return requests for comment Tuesday, or indicate if they were considering offers from other states for assistance to rebuild. The blaze started on the roof of the firm's main distribution plant early Sept. 1, and took 11 area fire companies two days to bring under control.
January 26, 2014 |
Public Service Electric and Gas Co. in New Jersey announced Friday a one-month bill credit that will cut the typical residential monthly bill by about 24 percent in February, or about $40. The credit of 25 cents per therm will reduce the current gas-supply rate of approximately 54 cents to 29 cents for usage in February. The supply charge is the largest component in the total bill. Although current market prices for gas have increased, the utility has purchased gas from Marcellus Shale producers during the past several months at rates that are below prevailing market prices due to the surplus of supply in the region.
January 24, 2014
SINCE THE major data breach at Target, many readers have asked how to best protect their credit. "My wife and I are vigilant and we replaced our debit cards because of Target," one reader wrote. "Our credit has been 'frozen' at the three credit agencies for years and we view the reports annually. Do you consider 'frozen' at the agencies as ample protection?" It's likely you've heard that if you're a victim of identity theft or you want to protect your files from fraud because you suspect you are vulnerable, you should put a fraud alert on your credit files at the major credit-reporting agencies - TransUnion, Experian and Equifax.
January 20, 2014 |
Credit-card debt can sneak up on you. If you think $20,000 in such debt is no biggie, you're wrong. If you think you'll never have to deal with that kind of number, better think again. For all but a few of those facing it, living with a credit-card debt of $20,000 or more is a major life problem. A Credit.com online survey this month found 5 percent of respondents had such debt - and a significant portion of that group thought most people were like them. The most common reason for running up such debt, the post says, is that people "don't have sufficient income to cover their expenses.
January 18, 2014 |
DARBY BOROUGH Police in Darby Borough are credited with rescuing 31 people - many of them children - from a rapidly advancing apartment fire Wednesday night. Five officers raced into a smoke-filled building and evacuated 13 families from the burning four-story structure in the 800 block of Main Street, their chief said Thursday. "It could have been a lot worse had they not gone in there and got the people out," said Police Chief Robert Smythe. "The whole place was filled with smoke from top to bottom.
January 11, 2014 |
MANTUA President Obama pointed to one of Philadelphia's most depressing statistics - nearly four in 10 children live below the poverty line - as one of the main reasons the city's Mantua section was chosen as one of the nation's first five Promise Zones. The president officially announced Thursday that West Philadelphia, in particular the Mantua neighborhood, would receive federal help from the new Promise Zones program, aimed at cutting unemployment, poverty, and crime, enhancing education, and attracting private-sector investment and jobs.
January 6, 2014 |
You may or may not think it's fair that your credit history could play a key role in setting your auto-insurance premiums - a long-running debate in insurance regulation, though a battle that insurers so far appear to have won. Only a handful of states - California, Massachusetts, and Hawaii - have limited credit scores' use in insurance pricing. If you pay bills promptly and have a top credit score, you likely benefit. But you suffer if you occasionally fall short, which is why groups such as the Consumer Federation of America contend that the practice discriminates against low- and middle-income drivers.