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Daily Archives: August 5, 2014

SIGAR – Afghanistan: Quarterly Report to the United States Congress

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. Quarterly Report to the U.S.  Congress. July 30, 2014

“This report summarizes SIGAR’s oversight work and updates developments in the three major sectors of Afghanistan’s reconstruction effort from April 1 to June 30, 2014. It also discusses whether the reconstruction is sustainable. During this reporting period, SIGAR published 30 audits, inspections, alert letters, and other reports assessing the U.S. efforts to build the Afghan security forces, improve governance, and facilitate economic and social development. These identified a number of problems, including a lack of accountability, failures of planning, construction deficiencies, and other threats to health and safety. The monetary results from SIGAR’s ongoing investigations totaled $3.1 million from criminal fines, restitutions, forfeitures, contract monies protected, and civil settlement agreements. SIGAR investigations also resulted in two arrests, three criminal informations, three plea agreements, and two sentencings in the United States. In Afghanistan, one subject was arrested, three Afghans were barred from access to military installations, and two government contractors were terminated. SIGAR’s suspension and debarment program referred 16 individuals and 39 companies for suspension or debarment based on allegations that they engaged in fraud and non-performance in contracts valued at over $180 million.”

Formerly Manufacturing Entities – Piercing the ‘Patent Troll’ Veil

Osenga, Kristen Jakobsen, Formerly Manufacturing Entities — Piercing the ‘Patent Troll’ Veil (August 5, 2014). Connecticut Law Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: “Everyone hates patent trolls, those companies that “hijack somebody else’s idea” and use the patents to “extort some money” from companies that actually make things. But not all patent trolls are created equal.… Continue Reading

How Increasing Income Inequality Is Dampening U.S. Economic Growth, And Possible Ways To Change The Tide

S&P Capital IQ – ‘The topic of income inequality and its effects has been the subject of countless analysis stretching back generations and crossing geopolitical boundaries. Despite the tendency to speak about this issue in moral terms, the central questions are economic ones: Would the U.S. economy be better off with a narrower income gap?… Continue Reading

Becoming More Alike? Comparing Bank and Federal Reserve Stress Test Results

Beverly Hirtle, Anna Kovner, and Eric McKay – Federal Reserve Bank of New York “Stress tests have become an important method of assessing whether financial institutions have enough capital to operate in bad economic conditions. Under the provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, both the Federal Reserve and large U.S. bank holding companies (BHCs) are required to do annual… Continue Reading

McKinsey – China’s digital transformation

“As individual companies adopt web technologies, they gain the ability to streamline everything from product development and supply-chain management to sales, marketing, and customer interactions. For China’s small enterprises, greater digitization provides an opportunity to boost their labor productivity, collaborate in new ways, and expand their reach via e-commerce. In fact, new applications of the Internet… Continue Reading

BIS Conference – Challenges from changing international financial conditions

Background – “On 22-23 May 2014 the BIS held a conference on “Challenges from changing international financial conditions”, the fifth under the auspices of the BIS Consultative Council for the Americas (CCA). It brought together researchers from the central banking community in the region and distinguished academics and was hosted by the Bank of the Republic (Colombia) in Bogotá. A… Continue Reading

IRS IG Audit Report – Affordable Care Act

Affordable Care Act: Accuracy of Responses to Exchange Requests for Income and Family Size Verification Information and Maximum Advance Premium Tax Credit Calculation. July 3, 2014, Reference Number: 2014-43-044. “As of March 31, 2014, the IRS received more than 27 million IFSV [Income and Family Size Verification] information requests and more than 11 million APTC requests. Our review of the… Continue Reading

GAO Report: TARP – Government’s Exposure to Ally Financial

TROUBLED ASSET RELIEF PROGRAM: Government’s Exposure to Ally Financial Lessens as Treasury’s Ownership Share Declines, GAO-14-698: Published: Aug 5, 2014. Publicly Released: Aug 5, 2014. “The Department of the Treasury (Treasury) reduced its ownership stake in Ally Financial Inc. (Ally Financial) from 74 percent in October 2013, to 16 percent as of June 30, 2014. As shown in… Continue Reading

Barack Obama’s Secret Terrorist-Tracking System, by the Numbers

Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux – The Intercept “Nearly half of the people on the U.S. government’s widely shared database of terrorist suspects are not connected to any known terrorist group, according to classified government documents obtained by The Intercept. Of the 680,000 people caught up in the government’s Terrorist Screening Database—a watchlist of “known or suspected terrorists” that is shared with… Continue Reading