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The 5 Best-Rated Credit Card Companies of 2014
I am always cautious when writing about credit cards, because I know some people get themselves in loads of trouble with their credit cards. But I trust that you are not one of those people and that you are smart enough to know that carrying a balance on a credit card is a no-no! Repeat […]
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26 Ways to Give Cash You've Never Thought of
When it comes time to gifting those in my life, sometimes it can be a bit of a challenge. Have you experienced this issue too? We all have that person in our lives that is hard to buy for. Or, the teen who only wants a pricey gadget. Or, that relative that has “everything.” Plus […]
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Should You Set Up Automatic Payments?
Today it is easier than ever before to set up automatic payments. I suspect our grandparents would be jealous to know all the many options we have to simplify the process of paying our bills. For those who struggle with organizing their finances, automation is a welcomed bit of technology.
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Juice Press shoots off on vegan vector with ProViotic
Juice Press believes its newest product line will exceed the expectations of even the city's biggest juice snobs. The chain is pitching ProViotic, a vegan-based probiotic product line derived from...
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Why your good night’s sleep may not just be up to you
sleep, sleep, sleepThey say a happy wife makes for a happy life, but what if the happiness of your partner could have an impact on your sleep quality, too?One new study found that when the wife is happier with her marriage, the spouse's sleep-wake schedule was more in sync.The Institute of Medicine estimates that over 50 million Americans ... Read MoreThe post Why your good night’s sleep may not just be up to you appeared first on Natural Health Care Products | Nutritional Health Supplements | Belmarra Health.
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Businesses honored for workplace wellness
CANANDAIGUA — The finalists for the 2014 Wealth of Health Awards — which honor businesses that promote workplace wellness — were announced Monday by Excellus BlueCross Blue Shield.The 12 local businesses organized healthy cooking sessions and weekly produce deliveries, and added healthy snacks to meetings and celebrations. Employees at the companies also took advantage of onsite fitness classes ...
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This Week in CTP – June 26, 2014
FDA released a new compliance training video for tobacco retailers pertaining to impersonal modes of tobacco sales, such as vending machines or self-service displays.
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Postmarket Drug and Biologic Safety Evaluations
Updated
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Ukraine Tensions Causing Spike in Gas Prices?
Gas prices are going up another five cents per gallon, a total increase of 26 cents in just six weeks.
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Public Notification: Toxin Discharged Tea Contains Hidden Drug Ingredient
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising consumers not to purchase or use Toxin Discharged Tea, a product promoted and sold for weight loss on various websites and possibly in some retail stores.
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Triumph and Tribulation: How Progressives Might Approach Changes to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security
For U.S. progressives, the 20th century was a triumph. They fought for social insurance, and they won. They supported many income-tested benefits to ameliorate poverty, which became law.In retrospect, one can identify at least four reasons for these successes. First, the Great Depression taught usually individualistic Americans that the harsh discipline of capitalism is acceptable only if softened with economic protections. Second, the monumental collective victory in World War II made clear to a traditionally government-phobic nation that collective action could deliver the goods. Third, starting in 1940, the United States enjoyed nearly four decades of almost continuous economic growth. Over that period, most people enjoyed improved private living standards even as they collectively helped others. Fourth, the defense budget shrank from more than 10 percent of GDP after the Korean War to less than 4 percent after the collapse of the Soviet Union. That contraction allowed domestic spending to increase without the need to raise taxes.These conditions endured long enough to seem normal, but they were not. The deceptions and failures of the Vietnam War began to undermine trust that government is honest and effective. Watergate accelerated disillusionment. The first oil shock in 1973 caused stagflation. Stock prices remained depressed for years. For a time it seemed that the economic triumphs of the Clinton presidency might initiate a new progressive era, but Clinton’s personal indiscretions, the Nader candidacy, and a politicized Supreme Court intervened.The first decade of the 21st century was calamitous. George W. Bush pushed for and Congress enacted imprudent tax cuts just as the baby-boom generation began to retire. These cuts recklessly squandered fiscal surpluses laboriously created during the fiscally prudent 1990s. Two wars, one rashly and dishonestly begun and both mismanaged, sharply boosted federal government spending. Most of the fruits of economic growth accrued to the rich. The middle class languished. Unemployment and under-employment soared. Budget prospects deteriorated. Debt ballooned. Suddenly, the liberal successes—Medicare, Social Security, and income-tested programs such as Medicaid and Food Stamps—seemed to many to be unaffordable. Meanwhile principled opposition to the very concept of social insurance reemerged. When initially debated, Social Security and Medicare elicited political Jeremiads, warning that these programs would destroy personal freedom. President Obama’s health reform legislation has elicited the same absurd warnings. But even more, it seems to have aroused near-hysteria among libertarian conservatives that they are engaged in political Armageddon, a final struggle against freedom-destroying statism.With opposition to social insurance more intense than in decades, progressives need to consider carefully what extensions of social insurance they want to seek, what redesigns of the current system they should entertain, and what cutbacks in the current system they might tolerate in exchange for high-priority gains.A key baseline fact should be kept firmly in mind: U.S. social insurance is parsimonious, compared to that of other nations or to the domestic past. Social Security pensions are 30-40 percent lower than the average of other developed nations. Furthermore, Social Security benefits have been and will be cut about 15 percent under legislation enacted in 1983. There is no good reason to cut them more. In fact, the arguments for raising benefits, especially for the very old, are compelling. A recent poll indicates that large majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents are willing to pay enough in added taxes not only to sustain the current program, but also to raise benefits somewhat.Medicare is also far from generous. It covers barely 60 percent of its beneficiaries’ medical costs. Most people are driven to obtain supplemental coverage through other sources. The program could be improved and the lives of beneficiaries simplified if a super-Medicare program were offered at a premium that fully covers the cost of incremental benefits and thereby avoids any net impact on the federal budget. To be sure, Medicare spending has been rising excessively. But the reason is not that benefits are generous—they are deficient in many ways—but rather because U.S. healthcare system is rife with cost-increasing incentives. No reform of Medicare operating in isolation can transform the whole delivery system. The best hope for controlling growth of Medicare spending is systemic reform of the entire U.S. payment and delivery system. That is just what the 2010 health reform legislation has begun. In the meantime, money could be saved and the program improved if more were spent to police abusive practices and to ensure that physicians and hospitals use new technologies only in ways that generate proven benefits, not in unapproved ways that pad providers’ incomes.While the two major social insurance programs are lean, the arithmetic of ‘pay-as-you-go’ social insurance is sobering. The tax cost of these programs is directly proportional to growth of the wage base that is taxed to pay for them. Growth of both the labor force and earnings-per-worker has slowed recently. The result is that growth of the current wage bill has slowed. Slow growth means higher tax rates are needed to pay for benefits of given generosity. This arithmetic law is inescapable. When economic growth slows, annual taxes as a share of income required to pay for benefits goes up.That holds directly for pensions. It is magnified in the case of health care because per person health care spending has outpaced income growth. The larger the gap, the worse the problem.These arithmetic relations are the essence of what is loosely and inaccurately called the ‘entitlement problem.’ The most fundamental law of economics—the law of demand—predicts that people want to buy less of almost anything at high prices than they do at low prices, other things held constant. Few doubt that a similar principle governs political tastes. That is why supporters of social insurance—Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—should put at the top of their near-term political agenda measures to return the economy to high employment. It is why they should put at the top of their long-term agenda measures to promote economic growth and to control growth of per capita health care spending. Not only does rapid overall growth, if broadly distributed, enable people simultaneously to enjoy rising living standards and support social expenditures, it also directly lowers the price of social insurance.Trends in life expectancy pose a particular challenge to the design of social insurance. Longevity of those with higher-than-average education and incomes is rising a lot. Longevity of those with lower-than-average education and incomes is rising little or not at all. Not incidentally, those with comparatively high education and earnings are remaining economically active until later ages than in the past. Because the lifetime value of Social Security benefits is linked to how long one lives, a growing share of program outlays is going to those with comparatively high education and earnings.These trends contain both a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge is to maintain the progressivity of Social Security. The opportunity is to modify support for the elderly in ways that encourage those who can do so without undue hardship to remain economically active until later ages than in the past. These changes could include reductions in Social Security benefits paid when people with above-average incomes claim benefits at an early age. Such changes should be combined with increased access to and support levels in Supplemental Security Income and with incentives to encourage employers to retain older workers and with income-related incentives for older workers to remain in the labor force. The higher earnings from increased labor supply would flow disproportionately to older workers who otherwise would leave work. Added income from earnings would flow primarily to those with low education and earnings who now retire comparatively early. The increased tax revenues from the added output that these workers would produce would contribute noticeably to closing projected budget deficits.Nor should progressives resist Medicare changes that promote competition between properly compensated managed care organizations (MCOs) and traditional Medicare, provided that the rules of competition are designed to prevent premiums for traditional Medicare from being driven up by MCO cream-skimming.Hovering over any such reforms are the projections that the Social Security and Medicare Hospital trust funds face projected long-term deficits. Earmarked revenues will not indefinitely cover all currently promised Social Security or Medicare Hospitalization benefits. Opponents of social insurance use these projected shortfalls to cry that the fiscal sky is falling and that neither program is sustainable. These fears are groundless. Small tax increases—combined, if politically necessary, with small and selective benefit cuts—would close projected gaps. The sooner that is done, the sooner this bogus argument can be laid to rest.Abraham Lincoln famously said that “The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do at all, or cannot so well do, for themselves in their separate, and individual capacities.” That was and remains the essence of the case for social insurance. The two financial crises of the past 15 years have underscored the continuing strength of that case—for progressives, but even more for, all Americans. AuthorsHenry J. AaronPublication: American Prospect       
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He's My Brother
Two young boys walked into a pharmacy one day, picked out a box of tampons and proceeded to the checkout counter.The man at the counter asked the older boy, "Son, how old are you?""Eight," the boy replied.The man continued, "do you know what these are used for?"The boy replied, "not exactly, but they aren't for me They're for him. He's my brother. He's four. We saw on TV that if you use these you would be able to swim and ride a bike. Right now, he can't do either."
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Digital mammograms may not be better at diagnosing older women, study finds
The Yale review adds to the mixed report card on digital mammography, reports NPR. Meanwhile, big increases in vaccination prices are straining public health budgets and creating dilemmas for some doctors, finds The New York Times.
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This popular exercise won't solve your health problems after all
shutterstock_18500491Stretching and breathing your way through yoga poses is good for the body and spirit. I've tried it myself – getting into “corpse” pose at the end is like floating on cloud nine!This ancient practice has taken off in North America in various forms, like gentle yoga for seniors, yoga bootcamp and even laughter yoga that taps ... Read MoreThe post This popular exercise won't solve your health problems after all appeared first on Natural Health Care Products | Nutritional Health Supplements | Belmarra Health.
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Congressman Trey Gowdy at 65,000-Member Megachurch: Don't Expect Political, Social 'Messiah'; Answers to All Political Questions in Bible
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina, told campuses at Houston's 65,000-member Second Baptist Church June 28-29 that people who are hoping for an Abraham Lincoln or Ronald Reagan in the political sphere or a Martin Luther King in the social arena will be disappointed. Today's media, political, and cultural atmosphere focuses on tearing down people who seek leadership.
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FDA Secures Full Industry Engagement on Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy
Issues First Six-month Progress Report to Update Public on Current and Pending Drug Label Changes
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Latest News
Here you will find the most current News & Events for the Center for Tobacco Products.
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Flowers Foods Issues Allergy Alert and Voluntary Recall on Limited Quantity of Sunbeam, Bunny, Flowers Deli, and Ingles Bar-B-Q Bread Sold in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Tennessee
Flowers Foods (NYSE: FLO) is voluntarily recalling the following brands of Bar-B-Q bread because they may contain undeclared milk. People who have allergies to dairy products run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products. No illnesses have been reported to date.
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An Old Story About the War On Poverty
John Betar, 102, and his wife Ann, 98, are seen at their home in Fairfield, Connecticut (REUTERS/Michelle McLoughlin). Recent weeks have seen a blizzard of media stories and reports, including one from the Council of Economic Advisors, about whether the War on Poverty was a success. What a surprise—Democrats tend to say it worked wonders while Republicans judge it to be a flop. However, there is one impact of President Johnson's War on Poverty that everyone should agree has been a terrific success, although a future problem looms. I'm referring to the positive impacts of the War on Poverty on the health, life expectancy, and poverty rates of the elderly. The three programs that account for these impacts on the elderly are Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Johnson expanded the first and created the second two.Eligibility for Social Security is based primarily on insurance principles and does not involve a means test. Rather, the benefit is an earned insurance payment in the sense that money is deducted from nearly everyone's earnings, beginning with the first dollar, and credited to an individual account for nearly every worker in the U.S. Then at retirement, the Social Security Administration makes some complicated calculations to determine the size of each individual's Social Security benefit. The benefit bears a rough relationship with the history of an individual's earnings, with the important exception that the formula works in such a way that as a ratio of benefits to earnings, the benefits are progressive. Generally, Medicare works in similar fashion - people pay into an account in exchange for health insurance protection when they are elderly. As Eugene Steuerle and Caleb Quakenbush of the Urban Institute show in a 2013 report, an average two-earner couple retiring in 2010 will have paid lifetime taxes of $747,000 to Social Security and Medicare combined and will receive lifetime Social Security and Medicare benefits of $985,000. The ratio of benefits received to taxes paid is higher for low-income couples and lower for wealthy couples.The major benefit of the Social Security program is to increase retirement income and thereby help the elderly avoid poverty and all that poverty implies. The Census Bureau's annual poverty data show just how effective Social Security has been in fighting poverty. In 1966, a year after Johnson expanded Social Security and enacted Medicare and Medicaid, elderly poverty was 28.5 percent. By 2012, it had fallen to 9.1 percent, a decline of about 68 percent. An analysis by Gary Engelhardt and Jonathan Gruber of M.I.T. showed that virtually all the reduction in poverty among the elderly between 1968 and 2001 was due to Social Security benefits.But it is not only Social Security cash that protects the elderly from poverty. Related to poverty and equally important is the health care received by the elderly from Medicare and Medicaid. Health care is a major reason the elderly live and remain active longer than ever before. Life expectancy in 1965 was around 70 years. That figure increased to almost 79 years by 2011. Taking into account the fraction of the elderly's health care bill paid by Medicare (and in some cases Medicaid as well) shows how important government-provided health insurance is to the well-being of the elderly. An analysis by Gary Burtless and Pavel Svaton of Brookings found that elderly households in the bottom tenth of the income distribution received health insurance payments equal to 130 percent of their income. Obviously, the poor elderly would not have been able to afford all the health care they needed if it were not for Medicare and Medicaid, the programs that paid nearly the entire health care bill for elderly people at the bottom of the distribution. Nor are only the poor elderly helped. Even if we move up the distribution to the 60th percentile, the elderly are still receiving government health insurance benefits equal to about a quarter of their income. Finding a way to pay even a quarter of their income to purchase health care would impose a serious burden on these relatively well-off elderly households. Thus, it is not only the very poor elderly who are helped by Medicare and Medicaid. In addition to the cash value of health benefits received by poor- and moderate-income elderly is the psychic value of knowing that their health care needs are going to be met, in large part by the government's health care programs.We don't have an easy method of calculating how much these War on Poverty benefits mean to the physical and psychological well-being of the elderly, but the figures summarized above show that without these programs the elderly would have a greatly diminished quality of life—not to mention that their lives would be shorter. Unfortunately, both Social Security and Medicare rest on funding mechanisms that must be reformed for the long-term financial health of the programs themselves and of the entire federal budget. The federal budget cuts of recent years show that the great achievements of the War on Poverty for the elderly are now being purchased by imposing costs on other groups of Americans.AuthorsRon HaskinsPublication: Real Clear MarketsImage Source: © Michelle McLoughlin / Reuters       
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Retirement communities offer independence, but not all boomers are ready
Many baby boomers aren't ready for retirement – much less a retirement community. And some in this independent and free-spirited generation are indignant about even discussing the idea of someone so young moving to a community of, well, old
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This Week in CTP – June 17, 2014
The NIH-FDA Tobacco Regulatory Science Program (TRSP) will host a webinar this Friday, June 20, 2014, at 1:00 p.m. EDT to discuss the process for submitting comments on proposed FDA regulations to the public docket.
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Reader View: Reform Social Security — don't procrastinate
On August 14, 1935, President Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law. Five years later, Ida Fuller of Ludlow, Vt., was the first American to receive a monthly check, amounting to $12.54.
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A Nudge to Save a Bit More
If you're an active participant in social media, it's nearly impossible to avoid a running tally of everyone else's spending. New cars and home renovations are all over Facebook. Vacation photos, exotic meals and charity benefits are a fixture on…
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campo bahia - Catch Your Dream. Unique Sports and Nature Resort in Santo André, Brazil Opens With Hosting the German ...
campo bahia - Catch Your Dream. Unique Sports and Nature Resort in Santo André, Brazil Opens With Hosting the German National Football Team During the FIFA World Cup 2014
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South Africa's Welfare Success Story II: Poverty-Reducing Social Grants
Men hold placards offering temporal employment services in Glenvista, south of JohannesburgDespite being a middle-income country, by international standards South Africa has an extensive and progressively targeted social security system. But is the scheme genuinely contributing to declining levels of poverty and inequality in the country? And what of the concerns that grants and social assistance is an aggravating cause of the structural disequilibrium evident in the South African labor market?In 1980, the South African government committed itself to removing racial barriers in terms of many of its social benefits programs. By 1993, all individuals in need were more or less receiving the same grant level per beneficiary. This investment in the people of South Africa was well worth it—ensuring a better quality of life than any would have experienced without access to a grant, as well as the assistance given in terms of access to health services and education. South Africa’s social grant network has since grown to be among the largest in the developing world and, for this financial year, the scheme’s expenditure is projected to reach $12 billion. More importantly though, the system of social grants in South Africa is well targeted, ensuring that the elderly, the disabled and those looking after children receive a cash transfer of some form. The number of people receiving grants increased from 2.4 million in 1998 to 16 million in 2011. In terms of the number of grant recipients and the proportion by type of grant, the largest are made up of the child support grants (71 percent), old age grants (18 percent) and disability grants (7 percent). Others include the foster care grant and the care dependency grant. While the public discourse on social grants is often critical and negative, research indicates that social grants have actually had a tremendous and noticeably positive socio-economic impact on poverty and inequality outcomes in South Africa.Fiscal incidence estimates indicate that 76 percent of government spending on social grants is received by the poorest 40 percent of the population. In addition, the contribution of these transfers increases the share of total household income coming from grants to rise from 4.7 percent to 7.8 percent. Furthermore, the 2005-2010 expansion of the state’s social security system to include more grants for the elderly (by 23 percent) and child support (by 44 percent), significantly increased the levels of expenditure of the poor and contributed to declining household income inequality. Specifically, the data shows that if grants were not made available to South Africa’s poor, income inequality as measured by the Gini coefficient would have been considerably higher at 0.74 instead of 0.69. In Gini terms, this is a huge difference, and, indeed, the inequality-reducing effects of the social grants system cannot be over-stated. Ultimately, social grants stabilized income levels of the poor in the post-apartheid era in South Africa. Figure 1 below presents a picture of annual household real income growth between 1995 and 2010 for the 2nd to the 5th decile of the income distribution—including and excluding cash transfers in total household income. The figure clearly shows that the inclusion of social grant income kept real household income relatively stable across the distribution. However, had income grants not been available, real household income would have declined for those in the 2nd and 3rd decile by 12 percent and 7 percent per annum, respectively.Figure 1: The growth of real income with and without grant income by decile, 1995 – 2010Source: Own calculations using GHS 1995 and GHS 2010 data.In addition to being well targeted and contributing to declining levels of poverty and inequality in South African society, the social grant scheme is also accepted as one of the most technologically advanced in the world. The use of a biometric system of ATM-driven cash advances to recipients in all parts of South Africa, for example, has drawn international acclaim in terms of its innovation, accessibility and safety.Micro-econometric evidence further indicates that social grants aid investment expenditure by poor households and aid job search behavior among the unemployed. There is also very little evidence of labor supply disincentive effects arising out of the allocation of a grant [1][2]. Ultimately, the structural disequilibrium in the South African labor market cannot be viewed as arising from the country’s extensive and progressively targeted social assistance scheme. In fact, social assistance may well be just what many in South Africa need, enabling them to actively pursue a job search, move out of a poverty trap, and take control of and direct their futures, instead of being slaves to the circumstances in which they were born. [1] See Leibrandt, M. et al (2013) The influence of social transfers on labour supply: A South African and international review. SALDRU Working paper. Available at http://www.opensaldru.uct.ac.za/handle/11090/670[2] See Bhorat, H. et al (2013b), Poverty and Inequality in South Africa: A Consideration of Trends: 2005-2010, Development Policy Research UnitAuthorsHaroon BhoratAalia Cassim       
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