Banks fork over $17 billion for misdeeds in 2013

CNNMoney: The government is going hard after misbehaving banks, collecting billions of dollars more in fines this year than it did last year. Banks have agreed to fork over more than $17 billion in settlements with U.S. regulators so far in 2013. That's up from just over $10 billion in 2012. And that doesn't include the $8 billion that JPMorgan Chase may get hit with soon. Out of the $17 billion total, almost $9 billion will go to homeowners who were victims of illegal foreclosure practices. Most of the rest of the money will end up in the Treasury Department's general fund, which pays for everything from national parks to air traffic controllers and military forces.


Consumer prices increases slightly in September

MarketWatch: U.S. consumer prices rose 0.2 percent in September because of higher costs for medical care, shelter and all forms of fuel, the U.S. Labor Department said today, but there was barely a whiff of inflationary pressure in the broader economy. Separately, the Labor Department said the consumer price index on which the annual cost-of-living adjustment to Social Security is based rose 1.5 percent. The Social Security Administration said today the increase for 2014 will be 1.5 percent, down from 1.7 percent for 2013.


Obamacare site flaws due to government's innovation problem

CNNMoney: The endless number of Obamacare website screw-ups highlights the lack of innovation within the U.S. government, according to the man who used to be the Obama administration's chief tech guru. "It's embracing 1960s era technology," former U.S. Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra told CNNMoney. "A core issue there is a same set of problems we've seen in the past." Kundra has since left Washington for Silicon Valley where he serves as executive vice president of marketing at Salesforce, a company devoted to cloud technology. He said the government could have used Silicon Valley's help with the high-profile website. The site's many contractors may have contributed to its inefficiencies, technical errors and a lack of ownership over its problems, Kundra said.