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Consuming the Consumer?

Coming out of Thanksgiving, did you feel like this? Maybe I am blog confessing!



Of course, this ad tells us it’s that time of year, not to mention that it’s a bit creepy. Right? Hopefully he is just being funny!IMG_1582

Which brings us to the real topic of being a consumer (since we are being bombarded with ads online and on TV that we need to shop)  and whether or not the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is protecting us, or slowing down business. (Is it causing Air Jordans to go up in price?)

The Agency was originally created under the Obama administration. It’s first director touts its accomplishments by stating that nearly 12 billion dollars were returned to consumers who were “cheated or mistreated by banks or other large financial companies“.

President Trump tweeted that the leadership of the CFPB “has been a total disaster as run by the previous Administrations pick. Financial institutions have been devastated and unable to properly serve the public. We will bring it back to life!”.

Here’s the politics as described in USA Today (article) It’s a story about dueling appointments and why.

On Friday, the original Obama-appointed pick stepped down and appointed his own replacement, his chief-of-staff. (Leandra English)  Under the law, the appointment names an acting director until the Senate can confirm a new pick of President Trump.

On Friday, Trump announced that he was appointing his budget director to also serve as the new acting director of the agency. (Mick Mulvaney) Mulvaney once characterized the consumer protection agency as a “sad, sick joke“.  Mulvaney said that he intends to head the agency and continue his current job, until a new agency director is appointed.

So the question for the courts becomes, does President Trump have the right to name a replacement until the Senate confirms a nominee, or does the current appointment by the prior agency director stand, until confirmation of a new appointee.

Why is this appointment so important. Well, if the supporters of the agency are right, then this agency protects consumers. If the Trump administration is correct, then the agency must be changed or dismantled because it creates major obstacles with his burdensome regulations.

Politics! The article details more about the agency. But this story and the upcoming appointment fight?  It makes holiday shopping and crowds seem like a walk in the park!

Finally, I guess I felt that I had license to post our first holiday pic o’ day. Here we go!


Say No to Yes

A truly cautionary reminder about robocalls in a story from USA Today. The Federal Communications Commission has issued a consumer alert.

The scam starts with a phone call to your home. The caller on the other end asks, “Can you hear me?”. In reality, it’s a recording.  When the caller says, “Yes,” that they can hear the robocall, their reply is recorded. Then, the scammer uses that voice response to authorize fraudulent charges by telephone, on the victim’s credit card account.

There was a time that you might answer those calls and instruct to “please take me off your list”. Now, these scammers have taken it another step down the fraudulent ladder. (I refuse to say “up”)

According to the FCC chairman, “Robocalls are the number one consumer complaint to the FCC from the public. And it’s no wonder: Every month, U.S. consumers are bombarded by an estimated 2.4 billion robocalls”. It makes you almost want to just get rid of your phone. Of course, fraud by email also continues. It’s just a reminder that we have to be vigilant!

And for pic o’ day, I thought I would post a couple of pic ‘s… that are also not a good idea:



Some Poison and Rice


     A little known problem of significance is just now hitting the news. (Fox) In fact, it was on “The Today Show”, with Matt Lauer offering some hard questions.

     Consumer groups are now beginning to pressure the Food and Drug Administration to set federal guidance on rice. Arsenic is thought to be found in rice in dangerous levels; because it is naturally present in water, air and soil.

     For those who are against government regulation or involvement in our lives, this might be one time that they will want government to step in to our rice pudding!

     The Consumers Union reports studies that found 8.7 micrograms of arsenic, on average,  in 223 rice samples that were tested. Arsenic is known to cause lung, skin and bladder cancer. Based upon preliminary results, rice grown in Texas, Louisiana and Missouri could have the highest levels.

     Consumer Reports says that rice eaten once a day can drive up arsenic levels in the human body by 44 percent. There is even suggestion that this might be effecting the chicken industry.

     I am blogging on this just to make sure that you are aware. More is being reported. For now, the FDA does not regulate arsenic levels in rice and that is why consumer groups are asking the government to take action.

     For pic o’ day, I was looking for a rice picture and came across a medicine picture for pic o. Gotta stay away from the poisons!

Nexium, Prilosec and Fractures

     The commercial almost makes you long for vacation. Two people traveling on a purple RV, going around the country with a message about fighting heartburn. Unfortunately, there may be a bad trade-off for heartburn relief, if these products are overused.

     They are medically known as Proton pump inhibitors (PPI’s). Prescription PPI’s include Nexium, Dexilant, Prilosec, Prevacid, Protonix and Acihpex. Now, studies are showing that those taking one of these for long periods ( a year), or have been taking high doses in certain prescription formations, may face a higher risk of fractures.

     The FDA has warned that PPI’s may increase the risk of fractures of the hip, wrist and spine. As a result, the FDA is requiring these products to display warnings  reporting an elevated fracture risk. Previously, most were relying on a Canadian study that indicated that there was some risk for increased fractures, but that such risk was in users who already had susceptibility to osteoporosis and were using these products for a period of about 7 years. That study had little effect on whether most were going to seek a prescription that would help them combat their heartburn.

     Most of the reports of increased fractures from these studies are found in adults over the age of 50. The FDA is requiring these new package warnings after reviewing the results of six studies.  One other study also suggested  that these drugs could also raise the risk of exposure to bacterium that is capable of causing severe diarrhea. I’m guessing that the next “happy couple in the RV”  TV advertisement will be followed with some baritone announcer reciting a long list of warnings, followed by the ever comforting “talk to your doctor to see if it’s right for you”.


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