Regulators are scrutinizing big banks which control commodities like aluminum and oil. The Federal Reserve is considering restricting their ability to trade and warehouse physical commodities. But Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee suggested the Fed isn't moving fast enough on rules to prevent banks from exploiting their holdings at the expense of the public.
Medical treatment in the emergency room is expensive, but there's a perverse incentive at work which encourages EMS workers to send more people there. Medicare reimburses for 911 calls only if the patient is transported to the ER. A pilot program at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City tries to keep patients from coming back to the ER.
President Obama has nominated Stanley Fischer to be vice chairman of the Federal Reserve. Fischer trained outgoing Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, and he spent much of the last decade running Israel's central bank. If confirmed, Fischer would take over the position being vacated by Janet Yellen, who was recently confirmed as Bernanke's successor.
Touting a rebound in manufacturing jobs, President Obama announced a public-private partnership to expand that momentum. He unveiled a manufacturing innovation institute in North Carolina, the first of three similar hubs he proposed in last year's State of the Union address. Though factory jobs are being added, economists say it's highly unlikely that manufacturing can become a significant source of future employment.
It isn't just Bitcoin. You can now choose from more than 70 virtual currencies, and people are using them partly because it could be a free way of transferring money online. Given more time and widespread use, that could change the playing field for companies like Western Union and banks.