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  • FCC NET NEUTRALITY ORDER PROTECTS THE OPEN INTERNET | PennPIRG
    small or narrowly held is digitally equal and cannot be relegated to a slow lane or otherwise throttled by Internet gatekeepers The FCC also took another important step today By overriding state laws that denied localities the opportunity to build out fast lower cost broadband networks the FCC took a major step to close the digital divide and make the Internet available to more Americans while ensuring that consumers have more choices in the marketplace We commend President Obama Chairman Tom Wheeler and Commissioners Rosenworcel and Clyburn for listening to the voices of over 4 million Americans who want the Internet to be open and free We now need to make sure that Congress at the behest of the cable and telephone companies does not hinder the FCC s ability to enforce its new orders holding that there is just one Internet that works for everybody 30 U S PIRG the federation of non partisan non profit state Public Interest Research Groups is a consumer group that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety our financial security or our right to fully participate in our democratic society Search form Search About Issues Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics Campaign for Safe Energy Democracy For The People Stop the Highway Boondoggles Close Corporate Tax Loopholes Making Health Care Work Protecting Consumers Label GMO Foods Reining in Wall Street Act Now Jobs Donate Newsroom Resources Reports Get our RSS feed Our Affiliates Our Sister c 3 Are you a student Our Federation Featured Position PennPIRG Internship Work on some of the hottest political issues of the day from fighting the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms to promoting campaign finance reform and tackling Citizens United improving voter access for students and underrepresented communities and advocating for a 21st

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/news/usp/fcc-net-neutrality-order-protects-open-internet (2016-04-27)
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  • USPIRG Commends Department of Labor's Rule On Conflicted Retirement Advice | PennPIRG
    Each year hardworking Americans lose as much as 17 billion when they receive advice to purchase investments with high fees low returns and excessive risks according to a White House Council of Economic Advisors report released today The Department of Labor s proposed rule would require investment professionals to act in the best interests of their clients American workers who work hard and play by the rules should be rewarded said Mario Salazar Legislative Director for U S PIRG Workers who spend their entire careers saving for their retirement should have the peace of mind that they are not being exploited by the financial professionals they hire to provide them with sound financial advice U S PIRG thanks the DOL for moving ahead to protect hardworking Americans saving for retirement Closing loopholes and requiring Wall Street to put consumers first makes sense concluded U S PIRG Consumer Program Director Ed Mierzwinski We are also excited that both the President and Senator Elizabeth Warren will be fighting Wall Street s attacks on the proposal as it moves through Office of Management and Budget OMB review to a public comment period U S PIRG the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups is a consumer group that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety our financial security or our right to fully participate in our democratic society If you wish to stop receiving U S PIRG media announcements please reply to this email with stop in the subject line Search form Search About Issues Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics Campaign for Safe Energy Democracy For The People Stop the Highway Boondoggles Close Corporate Tax Loopholes Making Health Care Work Protecting Consumers Label GMO Foods Reining in Wall Street Act Now Jobs Donate Newsroom Resources Reports Get our

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/news/usp/uspirg-commends-department-labors-rule-conflicted-retirement-advice (2016-04-27)
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  • Some Good, Some Bad in Obama Executive Order on Protecting Antibiotics | PennPIRG
    off the farm and into the surrounding environment threatening public health across the country Experts around the globe from the World Health Organization to the CDC agree that steps to immediately and significantly reduce antibiotic use on factory farms are essential to curb the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria However the Executive Order issued today does not recommend such action Instead it orders the U S Food and Drug Administration and the U S Department of Agriculture continue to take steps to eliminate the use of medically important classes of antibiotics for growth promotion purposes in food producing animals The order does not ask the agencies to tackle the use of antibiotics for disease prevention in food producing animals As detailed in a recent report released by U S PIRG entitled Weak Medicine such an approach is unlikely to lead to a significant reduction in antibiotic overuse on animal farms Farmers already purchase a majority of antibiotics under FDA rules that allow them to feed drugs to their healthy livestock to prevent diseases rather than to treat existing infections And all classes of antibiotics that can be used to promote growth can also be used to prevent diseases Therefore these voluntary guidelines may do nothing more than simply require factory farms to claim that these drugs are being used for disease prevention rather than actually address their overuse The report also found that experience with similar rules in Europe shows stronger action is necessary to realize real reductions in antibiotics use in livestock production For more than 30 years European regulators took action similar to the FDA s recommendations yet antibiotic use in animals did not decline because farms increased the antibiotics fed to animals for disease prevention In 2011 the European Parliament adopted a resolution stating that the ban was insufficient to protect human health from the overuse of antibiotics Meanwhile both Denmark and the Netherlands took stronger actions than was required and have seen huge reductions in antibiotic use in animals We urge the administration to go further to limit the use of antibiotics to when animals are truly sick or directly exposed to illness said Jahagirdar The medical community consumers and even many in the food industry would likely stand and applaud such a move The Executive Order directs federal agencies to take several actions that will combat the accelerating spread of superbugs that are increasingly resistant to antibiotics and are more difficult expensive and sometimes impossible to treat These include Asking agencies to strengthen surveillance of antibiotic use and resistance patterns in food producing animals and inter species disease transmissibility Asking the U S Department of Health and Human Services to propose new actions as appropriate that require hospitals and other healthcare facilities to implement robust antibiotic stewardship programs These steps will greatly aid in assessing the extent of the problem and while not tackling the largest overuse of antibiotics will still result in some reductions U S PIRG the federation of state Public Interest Research

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/news/usp/some-good-some-bad-obama-executive-order-protecting-antibiotics (2016-04-27)
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  • Report Shows PA Urbanized Areas Driving Less, Using Transit and Alternatives More | PennPIRG
    decreased by 14 1 percent The decrease in Harrisburg was the 4th largest percent decrease among America s 100 largest cities The number of passenger miles travelled on transit per capita increased 3 6 percent in Philadelphia between 2005 and 2010 In Harrisburg transit passenger miles per person increased by 68 2 percent the 5th largest percentage increase among the 100 largest urban areas in that category Measured in terms of the number of trips taken on public transit per capita Harrisburg witnessed a 18 2 percent increase from 2005 to 2010 The proportion of households without a car increased 5 percent in the Philadelphia urbanized area between 2006 and 2011 This proportion fell in 84 of the largest 100 urbanized areas Likewise the proportion of households with two or more vehicles fell in 86 out the 100 most populous urbanized areas during this period including Philadelphia where it fell 1 3 percent The study found that cities with the largest decreases in driving were not those hit hardest by the recession On the contrary the economies of urbanized areas with the largest declines in driving appear to have been less affected by the recession according to unemployment income and poverty indicators It s time for politicians in Harrisburg to support transportation initiatives that reflects these travel trends said Afranie Sakyi Instead of wasting taxpayer dollars continuing to enlarge our grandfather s Interstate Highway System we should be investing in the kinds of transportation options that the public increasingly favors Philadelphia is one of our nation s most urbanized areas with a growing number of residents who depend heavily on multimodal forms of transportation including bi cycling and public transit Similarly Harrisburg and Pittsburgh are also experiencing an increase in commuters reliance on multimodal traveling said Representative Parker Democratic Chair of the Subcommittee on Public Transportation To ensure our Commonwealth s economic growth our funding priorities must meet the demands of the residents who live work shop and patronize services in Pennsylvania The PennPIRG report released today establishes a need for future investment ensuring that Pennsylvanians have access to safe and reliable modes of travel that will keep our economy growing Across the nation young people have shown the steepest reductions in driving Americans 16 to 34 years of age reduced their average driving miles by 23 percent between 2001 and 2009 This report should be reviewed by anyone with an interest in transportation policy said Representative McGeehan Chairman of the Transportation Committee In order to build systems that work in the real world we need to understand how people are getting to work to school and to all the places they go Transportation trends are changing due to a more health conscience society and one that looks closer at quality of life issues that we have control over said Senator John Wozniak Democrat Chairman Transportation Committee Communities that have alternative transportation amenities whether it is bike and pedestrian trails or reliable transit available attract motivated people with a higher

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/news/pap/report-shows-pa-urbanized-areas-driving-less-using-transit-and-alternatives-more (2016-04-27)
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  • Food Safety Scares 2013 | PennPIRG
    on some of the hottest political issues of the day from fighting the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms to promoting campaign finance reform and tackling Citizens United improving voter access for students and underrepresented communities and advocating for a 21st century transportation system Job Description Archives Blog Media Hits News Releases Reports Resources Results Take Action Donate Join Us Priority Action We re teaming up with big restaurant chains

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/reports/pap/food-safety-scares-2013 (2016-04-27)
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  • Private Loans, Public Complaints | PennPIRG
    tendency to reach out to the CFPB Excluding Sallie Mae whose size and dominance of the PSL market renders comparison to other lenders difficult AES PHEAA was the most complained about lender in 28 states Wells Fargo was the most complained about private lender other than Sallie Mae in seven states while Citibank was most complained about in three and Discover in one Sallie Mae was the most complained about lender in every state other than Alaska and Minnesota tied for first Information on ties can be found in Appendix X Student loan borrowers in Northeastern states are most likely to complain about PSL lenders while borrowers in the Midwest and South are least likely The District of Columbia had the highest complaint to borrower ratio followed by New Hampshire Connecticut Massachusetts New York Maryland and Vermont The variation in the ratio of complaints to student borrowers by state may reflect differences in the propensity of residents of each state to rely on private student loans States with higher average student loan debt tend to have borrowers who complain more frequently about private student lenders to the CFPB Private student loans are primarily used by high debt borrowers The District of Columbia Vermont Massachusetts Connecticut Maryland New York and New Jersey all ranked among the top 10 for complaints per 100 000 borrowers in both categories of issues that attracted large numbers of complaints to the CFPB problems related to inability to pay and loan repayment However some states experienced large numbers of complaints in one category but not the other Rhode Islanders were seventh most likely to complain about problems resulting from an inability to pay for example but were 40th in complaints about loan repayment Pennsylvanians were in the top ten for complaints about loan repayment but 22nd in complaints about problems resulting from inability to pay The CFPB is making a significant difference for student borrowers facing difficulty with their financial institutions The CFPB has helped enable more than 330 consumers to receive monetary compensation to resolve their student loan complaints with a median amount of monetary relief of 700 and maximum relief of over 75 000 More than 500 additional consumers have had their complaints closed with some form of non monetary relief Lenders vary greatly in the degree to which they respond to consumer complaints with offers of monetary relief Almost 15 percent of consumers complaining to the lender Discover received offers of monetary relief compared with slightly fewer than 2 percent of complaints regarding Nelnet About 20 percent of responses received from banks to complaints filed with the CFPB were deemed unsatisfactory by consumers and were subject to further dispute Of lenders with more than five overall complaints the lender with the greatest proportion of disputed responses was First Loan Associates LLC with 40 percent of complaint responses disputed by consumers Of these same lenders PNC Bank had the highest proportion of complaints resolved without dispute with less than 6 percent of complaint responses

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/reports/pap/private-loans-public-complaints (2016-04-27)
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  • TOP TWENTY PAY-FOR-DELAY DRUGS | PennPIRG
    or chronic conditions ranging from cancer and heart disease to depression and bacterial infection These payoffs have delayed generic drugs for five years on average and as long as nine years These brand name drugs cost10 times more than their generic equivalents on average and as much as 33 times more Combined these brand name drug companies have made an estimated 98 billion in total sales of these drugs while the generic versions were delayed Impact of Pay for Delay on Consumers While the specifics of pay for delay are only now beginning to be understood by the public the consequences of this price inflating practice are all too real for consumers and taxpayers The drug Provigil prescribed for sleep disorders and multiple sclerosis related fatigue offers a case study Experts expected a generic version of Provigil to go on the market in late 2005 but brand name manufacturer Cephalon paid more than 200 million to four different generic drug manufacturers who kept their generics off the market until 2012 2 In the meantime many patients had to pay up to 1 200 each month for the drug or manage without it In 2010 the FTC estimated that a pay for delay deal for a single drug could cost an individual consumer and their health plan an extra 4 590 over 17 months Extended over the average five year length of a pay for delay deal that amounts to 16 200 in wasteful spending per patient per drug due to pay for delay This not only forces consumers to pay higher premiums and out of pocket costs it also means that taxpayers foot higher drug bills in Medicare and other programs The FTC estimates that these deals cost consumers and taxpayers 3 5 billion each year in higher drug costs

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/reports/pap/top-twenty-pay-delay-drugs (2016-04-27)
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  • Offshore Shell Games | PennPIRG
    in offshore tax havens Oracle The tech giant reports having 20 9 billion booked offshore The company discloses that it would owe 7 3 billion in U S taxes on those profits if they were not offshore That means they pay a tax rate of less than one percent to foreign governments suggesting that most of the money is booked to tax havens Oracle maintains 5 subsidiaries in offshore tax havens Only 21 of the top 100 publicly traded companies disclose what they would expect to pay in taxes if they didn t keep profits offshore All told these companies would collectively owe over 93 billion in additional federal taxes To put this enormous sum in context it represents close to the entire state budget of California and more than the federal government spends on education The average tax rate these companies currently pay to other countries on this income is just 6 9 percent far lower than the 35 percent statutory U S corporate tax rate suggesting that a large portion of this offshore money is booked to tax havens Some companies that report a significant amount of money offshore maintain hundreds of subsidiaries in tax havens The top three companies with the greatest number of tax haven subsidiaries Bank of America reports having 316 subsidiaries in offshore tax havens Kept afloat by taxpayers during the 2008 financial meltdown the bank keeps 17 2 billion offshore on which it would otherwise owe 4 5 billion in U S taxes Morgan Stanley maintains 299 subsidiaries in offshore tax havens The bank which also received a taxpayer bailout in 2008 reports holding more than 7 billion offshore on which it would otherwise owe 1 7 billion in taxes Pfizer the world s largest drug maker operates 174 subsidiaries in tax havens and currently books 73 billion in profits offshore The company made more than 40 percent of its sales in the U S between 2010 and 2012 but managed to report no federal taxable income in the U S for the past five years This is because Pfizer uses accounting gimmicks to shift the location of its taxable profits offshore Corporations that disclose fewer tax haven subsidiaries do not necessarily dodge fewer taxes Since 2008 the last time a study of this scope was done many companies have disclosed fewer tax haven subsidiaries all the while increasing the amount of cash they keep offshore For some companies their actual number of tax haven subsidiaries may be substantially greater than what they disclose in the official documents used for this study For others it suggests that they are booking larger amounts of income to fewer tax haven subsidiaries Consider Citigroup reported operating 427 tax haven subsidiaries in 2008 but disclosed only 20 in 2012 Over that time period Citigroup increased the amount of cash it reported holding offshore from 21 1 billion to 42 6 billion ranking the company 9 for the amount of offshore cash Google reported operating 25 subsidiaries in

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/reports/pap/offshore-shell-games (2016-04-27)
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