Hot Docs: Treasury's New Financial Regulatory Scheme, Pet-Related Injuries

Today's selection of timely reports.

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Treasury Reveals More Details of New Regulatory Scheme: The Treasury Department's plan for a new system to keep tabs on financial institutions represents a fundamental shift in government regulations, encompassing such things as hedge funds and derivatives markets and setting standards on capital and risk management. The department released a fact sheet laying out the Obama administration's vision for regulatory reform, which calls for an independent regulator who will oversee financial institutions, registration of hedge fund advisers, and new requirements for money market funds. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, in testimony before the House Financial Services Committee, comes down hard on firms like AIG, saying the "days when a major insurance company could bet the house on credit default swaps with no one watching and no credible backing to protect the company or taxpayers from losses must end. In our proposed regulatory system, the government will regulate the markets for credit default swaps and over-the-counter derivatives for the first time."

GAO Undercover at Labor Department: The Government Accountability Office recently went undercover to test whether the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division was doing its job when it comes to investigating and enforcing minimum-wage and child-labor laws. The results were less than reassuring. The GAO, in "Department of Labor: Wage and Hour Division's Complaint Intake and Investigative Processes Leave Low Wage Workers Vulnerable to Wage Theft," reports that investigators filed 10 fictitious cases in WHD offices in Alabama, California, Florida, Maryland, and Texas. "WHD successfully investigated 1 of our 10 fictitious cases, correctly identifying and investigating a business that had multiple complaints filed against it by our fictitious complainants. Five of our 10 complaints were not recorded in WHD's database and 2 of 10 were recorded as successfully paid when in fact the fictitious complainants reported to WHD they had not been paid." The GAO has also posted audio with transcripts of some of the calls.

Man's Best Friend? The lovable and pampered family pet is responsible each year for some 86,629 fall-related injuries requiring a trip to the emergency room, according to an analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC analyzed fall data collected in emergency rooms for the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System All Injury Program for 2001-2006. The data are collected at 66 representative hospitals and then extrapolated for the nation as a whole. According to the findings, published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 88 percent of the injuries were associated with dogs or one of their pet items, such as a toy or food bowl, and women were two times as likely to be injured as males. Of falls involving dogs, 31.3 percent resulted from falling or tripping over the pet and 21.2 percent from being pushed or pulled by the pet. With cats, the overwhelming reason for the fall was falling or tripping over the pet, representing 66.4 percent of falls. Incidents such as "patient jumped off a fence and fell on a doghouse" were excluded. Also excluded were cases involving both dogs and cats. The CDC analysis identified 23 such cases of mixed-species falls.