How Companies Should Raise Prices

An article in today’s WSJ talked about how companies should and should not raise their prices.

Honestly, I think the best way to do it, is just raise them. Don’t cover them up by trying to be sneaky. I hate size reductions and fewer products per package (even thigh the package stays the same size). Or, add new fees like AT&T did a couple months ago by adding an administrative fee of $.61 per wireless account. Or, start charging a rental fee for hardware like Time Warner did last year. ANNOYING.

If you have to raise prices, just do it.

Will More Doctors Dump Insurance Companies?

I like this idea: Doctors Dump Insurance Plans, Charge Patience Less.

Thirty-two-year old family physician Doug Nunamaker of Wichita, Kan., said after five years of dealing with the red tape of health insurance companies and the high overhead for the staff he hired just to deal with paperwork, he switched to a system of charging his patients a monthly fee plus the price of an office visit or test, CNN/Money reported.

For example, under Nunamaker’s membership plan — also known as “concierge” medicine or “direct primary care” practices — each patient pays a flat monthly fee to have unlimited access to the doctors and any medical service they can provide in the practice, such as stitches or an EKG.

For adults up to age 44, Nunamaker charges $50 a month, pediatric services are $10 a month, and for adults age 44 and older it costs $100 a month. Although Nunamaker calls the practice “cash-only,” he accepts credit and debit cards for the fees and services.

I have always thought that insurance was the reason health care was so expensive. If we could somehow cut out all the red tape, then prices could be lower. Looks like doctors are finally figuring it out.

Couple something like this with a proactive approach to health care (diet and exercise),it could be the formula of the future.

Chart of the Day: The Price of Gold – Wow

Gold Chart April 15, 2013

I only keep monthly records, but the last time that I can tell that gold was this low was way back in January/February 2011.

Supposed debt crisis stabilization has made gold less attractive. Selling has also dropped the price to the point that some investors are selling to meet margin calls. According to the WSJ, this money is going into stocks (but obviously not today with the Dow down 265 points).

The Unemployment Rate Magically Fell to 7.8%!

From US jobless rate falls to 7.8 pct., 44-month low:

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent last month, dropping below 8 percent for the first time in nearly four years. The rate declined because more people found work, a trend that could have an impact on undecided voters in the final month before the presidential election.

The Labor Department said Friday that employers added 114,000 jobs in September. The economy also created 86,000 more jobs in July and August than first estimated. Wages rose in September and more people started looking for work.

The revisions show employers added 146,000 jobs per month from July through September, up from 67,000 in the previous three months. The unemployment rate fell from 8.1 percent in August, matching its level in January 2009 when President Barack Obama took office.

Isn’t it amazing that ONE MONTH from the election, we’re seeing unemployment numbers at a 44-month low?

UPDATE: From the WSJ (bold mine):

The politically important unemployment rate fell to 7.8% last month from 8.1% in August. That was the lowest level since January 2009.

U.S. payrolls, obtained in a separate survey of employers, increased by a seasonally adjusted 114,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said Friday.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires expected a gain of 118,000 in payrolls and an 8.1% jobless rate.

So, the economy added 4,000 fewer jobs than were expected and yet the unemployment rate still fell .3%? Interesting…


UPDATE #2: From the BLS report:

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for July was revised from +141,000 to +181,000, and the change for August was revised from +96,000 to +142,000.

That’s a POSITIVE adustment of 28.4% for July and 47.9% for August.

Question: Why even release the survey if the numbers are that poor?

U.S. Adds 96,000 Jobs and Yet the Unemployment Rate Drops to 8.1%

I don’t know about you guys but I think it’s misleading the way the unemployment rate is calculated.

Today’s employment report shows that 96,000 jobs were added in August. I did a quick search and found that we need to add about 250,000 jobs per month in order to drop the unemployment rate. We added 96,000 jobs but 400,000 people are no longer counted in the numbers because they gave up looking for work.

So, what’s the real unemployment rate?

According to the last paragraph of this article, it’s around 14.7%, or nearly TWICE the official number.