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Consumer Daily Reports

Trusted reliable news sources from around the web. We offer special news reports, topic news videos, and related content stories. Truly a birds eye view on news.
Student loan application
Photo (c) jayk7 - Getty Images
If Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) gets his wish, student loans could soon be fully tax-deductible. Paul says he plans to introduce the Tax Free Education Act, legislation that could change the face of student loan programs forever if passed.

In comments made to WDRB-TV in Louisville, Ky., Paul said his five-prong approach would include the following:

  • Make education expenses 100% deductible

  • Enable students to deduct the cost of their education from their income tax

  • Include student loans as “education expenses”

  • Apply to all colleges and technical schools

  • Apply to the cost of K-12 education

The rising cost of education is important to Paul. Less than two years ago, he introduced the Higher Education Loan Payment and Enhanced Retirement (HELPER) Act, a pro-taxpayer plan that he said would help Americans pay off their student loan debt more quickly and easily, plus give them an added opportunity to save more money for retirement.

"Making college tax deductible, I think, would help a lot of families," Paul said. "A lot of families are struggling. College tuition has doubled over the last decade. Loan payments are going up. I meet people in their 30s still trying to pay back their loans."

Student loans: a can of worms

We’re now in the fourth year of a prolonged battle over student loans, dating back to 2017 when a coalition of states pushed Trump Education Department appointee Betsy DeVos to take action on 25,000 loan forgiveness applications filed by students who were left stranded when for-profit schools like Corinthian Colleges collapsed.

After DeVos left that can of worms on her desk for her successor, the new Biden-appointed Education Secretary Dr. Miguel Cardona quickly forgave more than a billion dollars coming from 72,000 eligible claims from student borrowers -- the majority of whom attended Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institute.

That’s a nice start, but there’s still work to do. According to the Education Data Initiative’s deep dive into the situation, there’s still a lot to shore up -- including addressing the variety of loan forgiveness programs that have different qualifications, forgiveness amounts, and qualifications. 

Unfortunately, the process of making improvements has been painfully slow. In the last two years, the number of denied claims has more than quadrupled, and as many as 43% of applications have not yet been processed.

What about the for-profit schools still in business?

Another item on Cardona and Paul’s checklist might be to help students who have loans from for-profit institutions that are still in business. As an example, ConsumerAffairs reviewer Marnie from Massachusetts pegged Capella University for the problems she’s been fighting. 

“Terrible! They took $82K from me without even knowing about it with student loans so they could profit! I am getting a lawyer against Capella AND Nelnet. If you think after 15 years I am going to pay all of YOUR FRAUDULENT money back when I wasn't even able to graduate after seeing my bill, you're nuts,” Marnie wrote.

Another frustrated for-profit college student loan borrower -- Melissa of Maryland -- says she’s still trying to sort things out with Strayer University. She accused the institution of taking her money but then changing the name of the program she completed.

“Called the dean to advise. Was told he would get it straight. Received a email advising the program was switched to Business ADMIN. from HR. I took out student loans to receive a degree in HR not Business. I could have went to another school and Received the degree I wanted. Now stuck with over 50k in student loans with no job in HR,” she wrote.

NutriSource Pure Vita pet food
Photo source: FDA
Tuffy's Pet Foods is recalling approximately 1,600 cases of Pure Vita Salmon Entree Dog Food.
The product may contain elevated levels of Vitamin D, which can cause adverse reactions in dogs of all sizes, including symptoms such as vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, excessive drooling, and weight loss.

There are no reports of illness or injury to date.

The recalled product -- which comes in a 12.5-oz. TetraPak carton with a lot number between 0629101N1 and 0901101N1 and UPC 0 73893 96202 1 -- has “best by dates” of June 9, 2023, and September 1, 2023. It was shipped to distributors and retail stores within the U.S.

What to do

Customers who purchased the recalled product should stop feeding it to their pets immediately and return it to their retailer for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact Tuffy’s Pet Foods at (800) 525-9155 Monday – Friday from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm (CT), or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Fullei Fresh bean sprouts
Photo source: FDA
Fullei Fresh of Miami, Fla., is recalling bean sprouts and soy sprouts.
The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. No illnesses have been reported. 

The recalled products are listed below:
  • Conventional bean sprouts are sold in 5-lb bulk, 10-lb bulk and 8-oz retail packs.
  • Organic bean sprouts are sold in 5-lb bulk and 4-oz retail packs.
  • Soy sprouts are sold in 5-lb bulk and 10-lb bulk.

The lot numbers, running consecutively between 251 and 271, are printed on the retail packs and on bulk cardboard boxes in the barcode (the last 3 digits.)

The recalled products were harvested and shipped to distributors between September 14, 2021, and October 5, 2021.

What to do

Customers who purchased the recalled products should discard them.

Consumers with questions may contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

COVID-19 booster vaccine doses
Photo (c) SDI Productions - Getty Images
Coronavirus (COVID-19) ‌tally‌ ‌as‌ ‌‌compiled‌‌ ‌by‌ ‌Johns‌ ‌Hopkins‌ ‌University.‌ ‌(Previous‌ ‌numbers‌ ‌in‌ ‌parentheses.)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 45,312,103 (45,234,901)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 733,435 (731,541)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 242,698,743 (242,288,846)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 4,933,356 (4,925,854)‌

CDC signs off on booster shots

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has endorsed booster shots using vaccines produced by Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. The CDC agreed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recommendation to move forward.

The CDC also backed the FDA’s approval of “mixing and matching” vaccines, allowing someone inoculated with one type of vaccine to receive a booster of another type. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky issued her decision based on a unanimous recommendation of a CDC advisory committee.

“These recommendations are another example of our fundamental commitment to protect as many people as possible from COVID-19,” Walensky said.

FDA to consider Pfizer vaccine for younger children

An FDA advisory committee meets next week to decide if the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine should be given to children between the ages of five and 11. Today, the agency released data collected by the drugmakers that shows the vaccine is 90% effective in young children.

The clinical trials studied a dose of 10 micrograms of the vaccine given to children aged five to 11. The smaller dose, about a third of what adults receive, is aimed at reducing side effects while still generating robust antibodies.

The companies reported that the vaccine appeared to be more than 90% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 while producing minimal side effects in the primary clinical trial. The antibody response to the vaccine was comparable to the one seen in people 16 to 25 years old.

Experts worried about the pandemic’s mental health impact

The world can be a scary enough place for young people without a global pandemic. Health researchers, alarmed at rising mental health issues among teens and young adults, believe COVID-19 may be partly to blame.

The CDC recently reported that visits to emergency rooms for suicides and suicide attempts among girls aged 12 through 17 increased more than 50% in early 2021 compared to 2019.

In a statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) declared a national emergency in child and adolescent mental health. The group said the pandemic “has struck at the safety and stability of families.” 

Around the nation

  • Washington: Some state legislators say they are being blocked from entering certain parts of the state capital building after lawmakers passed a law requiring everyone to provide proof of vaccination. As many as 26 legislators have not yet complied, and officials say their key cards have been deactivated.

  • Massachusetts: State health officials report that the number of “breakthrough” cases, in which fully vaccinated people test positive for the virus, is declining. In the last week, health officials counted 3,431 new breakthrough cases, down significantly from the previous week's 4,034 cases.

  • Arizona: Health officials say they are already planning to vaccinate the state’s children between the ages of five and 11 in preparation for expected approval from the FDA and CDC. Jessica Rigler, an assistant director with the Arizona Department of Health Services, says the state will initially have a third of the doses needed to vaccinate Arizona’s 600,000 eligible children.

  • Kentucky: Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and the Kentucky Medical Association have launched a campaign called “Take it from me,” in which former vaccine skeptics who survived the illness urge people to get vaccinated. Marshall County resident Ethan Koeler, who was hospitalized for two weeks, said he would have gotten the shot if he had known how horrible the virus is.

  • North Carolina: The town of Garner will celebrate Christmas this year with a Christmas parade on Dec. 18. The parade was canceled the previous two years -- last year because of COVID-19 and in 2019 because of “threats of violence.”

Federal Reserve seal on money
Photo (c) Petr Vdovkin - Getty Images
After two presidents at the Federal Reserve banks crossed the line in trades they made, senior officials have put new restrictions on investments in place to prevent an overreach from happening again.

The new rules forbid both policymakers and senior staff members at the Fed from buying individual stocks in active trading. They are also prohibited from holding market products like individual bonds or derivatives -- in fact, they can no longer hold any investment that is secured and backed by the government.

What’s left isn’t much, but it’ll have to do. Starting immediately, the only investments Fed officials can make are to purchase diversified investment vehicles, like mutual funds.

"These tough new rules raise the bar high in order to assure the public we serve that all of our senior officials maintain a single-minded focus on the public mission of the Federal Reserve," said Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome H. Powell.

Who crossed the line?

NPR reports that the two Fed bank presidents who crossed the line were Robert Kaplan and Eric Rosengren. Kaplan, who works at the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank, bought or sold stock worth more than a million dollars in 2020 in nearly two dozen companies, including Amazon and Delta Airlines. Rosengren, who heads the Boston Federal Reserve Bank, bought or sold securities tied to real estate and made investments worth tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars in AT&T, Chevron, and Pfizer.

Those two were certainly in the right place at the right time, as the Fed was flooding the market with trillions of dollars. Both men tried to justify their trading by claiming they were in compliance with existing ethics rules. However, Kaplan and Rosengren won’t be putting themselves in danger anymore -- both have since announced their retirements.

Guarding against conflicts of interest

Powell said the Fed’s primary reason for drawing the new boundaries is simple: to help guard against even the appearance of any conflict of interest in the timing of investment decisions.

Going forward, policymakers and senior staff are obliged to provide 45 days advance notice for almost any financial investment purchase or sale they make. Plus, they have to hold on to those investments for at least one year. Additionally, no purchases or sales will be allowed during periods of heightened financial market stress. 

According to the Office of Financial Research, the U.S.’ financial stress level is in a safe zone, with the most recent stress spikes coming in March 2020, and April 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic started to flare.

Computer chip shortage and high prices concept
Photo (c) tommy - Getty Images
A shortage of computer chips, which began early in the COVID-19 pandemic and limited production of everything from cars to computers, won’t be ending anytime soon.

That’s the warning from Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger, who predicts the shortage will last until at least 2023. He also warned investors that Intel expects sales to fall 2% in the third quarter because of the shortage.

“We’re in the worst of it now; every quarter next year, we’ll get incrementally better, but they’re not going to have supply-demand balance until 2023,” Gelsinger told CNBC

Trade-ins have more value

Consumers have been negatively impacted by the shortage when they’ve shopped for a car. There are fewer new cars available, and that, in turn, has caused prices of used cars to rise. But Taylor, of Hugheston, W.Va., recently found that the chip shortage worked to his advantage when he used Carvana for a trade-in and learned he could trade up.

“Due to the current chip shortage, the sub-compact vehicle I had was worth some value,” Taylor wrote in a ConsumerAffairs review. “I decided to trade in for an SUV. Once I found the car I wanted, shopping on the app was very easy. In total, it took me around 40 minutes to complete what was needed.”

Shortages of anything usually result in higher prices. Jason, of Hartford, Wisc., shopped for a new gaming system and found generally higher prices, but he also found an exception.

“Given the chip shortage, the prices were really high,” Jason wrote in his review of CyberPower PC. “I had a budget of $5k and I had anticipated spending to obtain the CPU, GPU, and RAM requirements that I had for the device I wanted. I found this device on Newegg's site and not only did it meet my spec requirements but it was on sale.”

Exceptions may be rare

But in the months ahead, industry experts think these exceptions will become rarer. They point out that PC sales have been strong for the last year as consumers around the world purchased new laptops and desktops to work from home. Gelsinger said he believed that there will be little decline in demand for these devices in the months ahead.

“We do think the PC business is now just structurally larger, a million units-a-day kind of business,” Gelsinger said.

Consumers shopping for a new car will also find smaller selections as dealers struggle to fill their showrooms. Toyota cut production by 40% in September. The only silver lining for consumers like Taylor, who have a late-model car to trade in, is that the value of that trade-in may continue to go up.