Weekly Roundup 7/31/12

6 Ways Big Banks Screwed Grandma in the Price-Fixing Scandal That's Rocking the World
Alexander Arapoglou and Jerri-Lynn Scofield, Alternet, July 26, 2012

Synopsis: When British banks tampered with interest rates, the result was sharply lowered earnings for bank CDs and pension-fund investments. That harmed ordinary people, especially the elderly.

Takeaway: Why, with interest rates declining, did so many elderly people lose their homes? One reason: while returns on fixed income investments plummeted, reducing the income the elderly have to pay their bills, many were locked into fixed-rate mortgages. “Since Grandma has probably left the workforce and therefore lacks a salary, she’s unlikely to be able to refinance her house."

For related material, see the following CQ Researcher reports: Financial Misconduct (Jan. 20, 2012), Financial Industry Overhaul (July 30, 2010), Financial Bailout (Oct. 24, 2008; updated July 30, 2010), and Mortgage Crisis (Nov. 2, 2007; updated Aug. 9, 2010).

-- Marcia Clemmitt, Staff Writer


Hope in the Wreckage
Suzy Hansen, The New York Times Magazine, July 29, 2012

Synopsis:  An Iranian approach to health care is being used in impoverished rural Mississippi, and it seems to be saving lives.

Takeaway: The HealthConnect network in the Mississippi Delta, where there are few if any doctors, runs “health houses” modeled after an Iranian approach. Health aides at small health centers advise local residents on nutrition and family planning; take blood pressure, monitor environmental conditions like water quality and keep track of prenatal care needs. People who become very sick are referred to a district hospital.

For related reading, see the CQ Researcher report Health-Care Reform (June 11, 2010, updated May 24, 2011).

-- Thomas J. Colin, Contributing Editor