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EPA Says Clean Air Act will Result in $2 Trillion of Benefits

According to a study recently released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Clean Air Act will result in $2 trillion in annual benefits by the year 2020. The study found the rules in the Clean air Act prevented about 160,000 deaths last year. It projects that over the next 10 years, that number will increase to 230,000. In that year, the new pollution controls are estimated to prevent 2.4 million asthma attacks, 22.4 million missed work and school days and 200,000 heart disease cases.  The study was ordered by amendments to the Clean Air Act which were signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1990. Many of the harsher limits on soot and smog came from those amendments. The amendments passed with support from both Democrats and Republicans. EPA administrators say the benefits of keeping healthy far exceed the costs of implementing the Clean Air Act. Environmentalists and public health groups say the new study is proof the EPA should be allowed to continue its work to curb smo ...

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Supreme Court Rules to Extend Benefit Deadline for Deceased Vet

The United State Supreme Court recently unanimously ruled a deadline for military veterans who appeal the federal government’s denial of benefits does not need to be rigidly enforced. In this case, the Supreme Court Justices sided with a mentally ill Korean War vet. Veteran David Henderson’s appeal was blocked due to the fact he missed a 120-day deadline for judicial review by 15 days.   The high court overturned a decision that was made by the Federal Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. Veterans Court judges said even though a veteran’s illness contributed to his delayed appeal, they could not make exceptions to the deadline.   Henderson was found 100 percent disabled with paranoid schizophrenia after his service in the 1950s. His attorneys stated he missed the 120-day deadline because he was bedridden. This case began 10 years ago when Henderson sought monthly benefits for in-home care, related to his mental illness. Henderson died this past October, at the age of 81. At t ...

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How to use a meeting to communicate challenging news.

While there is no easy way to deliver your employees bad news, there are certainly some ways that are better than others. If you have bad news to share, do not send it in an e-mail. This is much better handled in person. It’s always better for your workers to hear the news from your mouth. Then, they can immediately respond to their questions and concerns. Here are some tips when delivering bad news to your employees: Contact those people who are impacted in advance. If the bad news will mean personal repercussions for specific employees, be sure to let them know ahead of time so they can process the information. Anyone who has their job on the line should always be notified as far in advance as possible. Always consider the best time of the day to hold the meeting and make the announcement. Most managers believe it’s best to hold such meetings at the end of the work day. However, there may be some cases where the meeting would be best held first thing in the morning. This would be applicable i ...

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New Loan Programs for Small Businesses

  The Small Business Association (SBA) will soon introduce two new loan programs that will give money to underserved entrepreneurs through nonprofit microfinance organizations. Two of the new programs will be Community Advantage and Small Loan Advantage. They will provide easier ways for lenders to make small loans and get a SBA guarantee of up to 85 percent. These new programs will be for $250,000 or less, and will be open to people who qualify for a SBA loan (with no geographical restrictions). One of the goals of the SBA is to get small dollar amounts into women-owned and minority-owned businesses in underserved and lower-income communities. SBA executives say they hope to reverse a trend (from 2008 to 2010) that saw a 5 percent decrease in SBA lending to underserved communities. SBA’s Small Loan Advantage will be for more than 600 preferred lenders (including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, U.S. bank, as well as regional banks). The same process will be used for Community Advantage, but it wil ...

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Social Security Retirement Benefits Debate Brewing

    Congress is having a hard time agreeing how best to reform the Social Security program, which has been in place since 1935. It’s not clear yet whether President Barack Obama will support a reform effort. Though he has encouraged a conversation on Social Security reform, no proposals have yet been discussed. According to government estimates, if left untouched, retirement benefits will flow until 2037. Social Security had been generating surplus tax revenues. However, due to new retirees and since that money has been used to finance government program, the money is now disappearing and will need to be paid back. Though exact details have not been disclosed, experts say a potential age adjustment would raise the age for full retirement benefits from the current level (which is gradually increasing to 67 years of age). They are also looking at means testing, which would diminish Social Security benefits for the wealthy. Many people believe now is the time to deal with this topic since com ...

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