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July 08, 2011

The Real Cost of Text Messaging

A text costs the telecoms a fraction of a penny. Why do you pay so much? What's in a text message? The real cost of SMS and just how badly wireless carriers are ripping you off - Techvibes.com
Texting your friend "Hey, what's up, Joe?" costs a wireless carrier roughly 1/1,000 of a penny. That is to say, sending roughly 1,000 text messages should cost, at wholesale pricing, about a single cent. If you send a lot of lengthier texts, it might round up to two cents. The number crunching at this point is simple: unless you're sending 500,000 text messages per month, your wireless carrier is profiting. Most people send under 1,000, and many send less than 100—all the while paying $5.00 per month. Myriad people have pointed out the unfathomable markup of text messaging. In 2007, one suggest markup was 7,314 percent. In 2009, a markup of 4,900 was calculated. In 2010, in an article titled "America's Biggest Ripoff," the markup was believed to be around 6,500. The trouble is that consumers don't have a clue about what a text message is really worth—or rather, how damn little a text messaging is really worth. A Simon-Kucher & Partners survey found that consumers believed a multimedia message or email containing photo(s) and/or video(s) was worth roughly 3 to 4 times what a basic text message was worth. In reality, an MMS or email is anywhere from a thousand to a hundred thousand times more data than an SMS.

July 05, 2011

Borrowers sue after bank ignores renegotiated mortgages

Borrowers sue over apparent loan mod mishaps
Weeks after making her first payment under the new rate, the school district staffer began receiving past-due notices, documents showing wildly inaccurate loan balances and letters threatening foreclosure. She now fears she'll lose her home. "How can they take away what I have worked so hard for?" Campusano said. Campusano is one of two named plaintiffs in a proposed class-action lawsuit alleging breach of contract by Bank of America NA and subsidiary BAC Home Loans Servicing LP. The suit, which was filed in Los Angeles federal court because BAC is located in nearby Calabasas, is among a growing number of legal complaints accusing banks of disregarding what should be binding agreements to reduce the monthly mortgage payments of troubled borrowers. The suits involve permanent modifications through the U.S. Treasury-administered Home Affordable Modification Program, which offers incentives to loan servicers who extend modifications, as well as so-called proprietary modifications, which banks offer independently of the government guidelines. They represent a new wave of complaints against banks that have already weathered years of criticism for their reluctance to modify loans and for foreclosing on borrowers after offering them trial modifications.

July 03, 2011

The average CEO has seen his pay rise 23% since 2009, despite the economy sucking

BUT TAXING MILLIONAIRES IS WRONG!!1111!!!! Executive Pay at Big Companies Rose 23% Last Year - NYTimes.com
The final figures show that the median pay for top executives at 200 big companies last year was $10.8 million. That works out to a 23 percent gain from 2009. The earlier study had put the median pay at a none-too-shabby $9.6 million, up 12 percent. Total C.E.O. pay hasn’t quite returned to its heady, prerecession levels — but it certainly seems headed there. Despite the soft economy, weak home prices and persistently high unemployment, some top executives are already making more than they were before the economy soured. Pay skyrocketed last year because many companies brought back cash bonuses, says Aaron Boyd, head of research at Equilar. Cash bonuses, as opposed to those awarded in stock options, jumped by an astounding 38 percent, the final numbers show.

July 02, 2011

Krugman explains the debt ceiling

To the Limit - NYTimes.com
Let’s talk about how we got here. The federal debt limit is a strange quirk of U.S. budget law: since debt is the consequence of decisions about taxing and spending, and Congress already makes those taxing and spending decisions, why require an additional vote on debt? And traditionally the debt limit has been treated as a minor detail. During the administration of former President George W. Bush — who added more than $4 trillion to the national debt — Congress, with little fanfare, voted to raise the debt ceiling no less than seven times. So the use of the debt ceiling to extort political concessions is something new in American politics. And it seems to have come as a complete surprise to Mr. Obama. Last December, after Mr. Obama agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts — a move that many people, myself included, viewed as in effect a concession to Republican blackmail — Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic asked why the deal hadn’t included a rise in the debt limit, so as to forestall another hostage situation (my words, not Mr. Ambinder’s). The president’s response seemed clueless even then. He asserted that “nobody, Democrat or Republican, is willing to see the full faith and credit of the United States government collapse,” and that he was sure that John Boehner, as speaker of the House, would accept his “responsibilities to govern.” Well, we’ve seen how that worked out.
More at the link.