Denny Hastert: Uh, About That $500,000 Statue…

Denny Hastert: Uh, About That $500,000 Statue…

Former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Dennis Hastert is surrounded by officers as he leaves federal court after pleading not guilty to federal charges of trying to hide large cash transactions and lying to the FBI in Chicago, Illinois, United State
© Jim Young / Reuters
By Brianna Ehley, The Fiscal Times

Illinois state lawmakers are hitting the breaks on a proposal to spend half a million dollars for a statue honoring former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert after the Justice Department indicted the Illinois Republican on multiple charges Thursday.

About a month before the DOJ announced the indictment against Hastert,

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan introduced a bill to allocate $500,000 from the Illinois Development Fund for a statue of Hastert, who represented Illinois’ 14th Congressional for 20 years after serving as a state representative. 

Related: Lying, Cheating, Stealing: How Corrupt is America?

However, Madigan’s spokesperson, Steve Brown, said Hastert contacted lawmakers asked that they defer the proposal because of the state’s financial condition. Illinois currently is running a $9 billion deficit. Still, the bill, which passed through a house committee, was placed on the calendar for a third reading on May 18.

In the indictment released Thursday evening, federal investigators allege that Hastert paid $3.5 million in hush money to “cover up misconduct.” The money allegedly went to someone in Yorkville, Ill., where he previously coached high school wrestling. The seven-page indictment also accused him of lying to the FBI.

Following the announcement, Hastert reportedly resigned from his current position at Washington, D.C., law firm Dickstein Shapiro, as well as a board member at CME Group, according to Reuters.

Chart of the Day: Dem Candidates Face Their Own Tax Plans

Senator Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren participate in the 2020 Democratic U.S. presidential debate in Houston
MIKE BLAKE/Reuters
By The Fiscal Times Staff

Democratic presidential candidates are proposing a variety of new taxes to pay for their preferred social programs. Bloomberg’s Laura Davison and Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou took a look at how the top four candidates would fare under their own tax proposals.

Quote of the Day: The Health Care Revolution That Wasn’t

Benis Arapovic/GraphicStock
By The Fiscal Times Staff

“The fact is very little medical care is shoppable. We become good shoppers when we are repeat shoppers. If you buy a new car every three years, you can become an informed shopper. There is no way to become an informed shopper for your appendix. You only get your appendix out once.”

— David Newman, former director of the Health Care Cost Institute, quoted in an article Thursday by Noam Levey of the Los Angeles Times. Levey says the “consumer revolution” in health care – in which patients shop around for the best prices, forcing doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical firms to compete with lower prices – hasn’t materialized, but the higher deductibles that were part of the effort are very much in effect. “High-deductible health insurance was supposed to make American patients into smart shoppers,” Levey writes. “Instead, they got stuck with medical bills they can't afford.”

Congressional Report of the Day: The US Pays Nearly 4 Times More for Drugs

A pharmacist holds prescription painkiller OxyContin, 40mg pills, made by Purdue Pharma L.D.  at a local pharmacy
REUTERS/George Frey
By The Fiscal Times Staff

The House Ways and Means Committee released a new analysis of drug prices in the U.S. compared to 11 other developed nations, and the results, though predictable, aren’t pretty. Here are the key findings from the report:

  • The U.S. pays the most for drugs, though prices varied widely.
  • U.S. drug prices were nearly four times higher than average prices compared to similar countries.
  • U.S. consumers pay significantly more for drugs than other countries, even when accounting for rebates.
  • The U.S. could save $49 billion annually on Medicare Part D alone by using average drug prices for comparator countries.

Read the full congressional report here.

Chart of the Day: How the US Ranks for Retirement

Ken Bosma / Flickr
By The Fiscal Times Staff

The U.S. ranks 18th for retiree well-being among developed nations, according to the latest Global Retirement Index from Natixis, the French corporate and investment bank. The U.S. fell two spots in the ranking this year, due in part to rising economic inequality and poor performance for life expectancy.