Everything You Need to Know about Entitlement Reform

International Liberty

Most people have a vague understanding that America has a huge long-run fiscal problem.

They’re right, though they probably don’t realize the seriousness of that looming crisis.

Here’s what you need to know: America’s fiscal crisis is actually a spending crisis, and that spending crisis is driven by entitlements.

More specifically, the vast majority of the problem is the result of Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security, programs that are poorly designed and unsustainable.

America needs to fix these programs…or eventually become another Greece.

Fortunately, all of the problems can be solved, as these three videos demonstrate.

The first video explains how to fix Medicaid.

The second video shows how to fix Medicare.

And the final video shows how to fix Social Security.

Regular readers know I’m fairly gloomy about the future of liberty, but this is one area where there is a glimmer of hope.

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What do Americans do with their tax refunds?

50fa1mdeAccording to a recent National Retail Federation study, almost 55% of young adults plan to turn their refunds into savings. If you are getting a refund this year, think about adding to your savings account or investing in a CD.

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US Sends 3 Nuclear Stealth Bombers to Pacific

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WASHINGTON — The United States has deployed three B-2 Spirit nuclear stealth bombers to support U.S. Pacific Command, U.S. Strategic Command announced Wednesday.

The aircraft are the United States’ most advanced bomber and part of its nuclear deterrent defenses.

It is not the first time that the United States deployed the B-2 bombers to the Pacific Command. Last fall, the U.S. Air Force deployed three B-2s to Guam. In March 2013, the U.S. sent two B-2s to conduct a flyover near Seoul, South Korea. All three bomber deployments followed North Korean missile tests.

In recent weeks, U.S. and South Korean officials have publicly discussed providing additional strategic defenses for South Korea, including deploying the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile defense system. The officials announced they were discussing its deployment in response to long-range missile launches in early February by North Korea.

Previously, U.S. and South Korean officials had not publicly acknowledged any discussions on the deployment of the THAAD missile defense system due to pressure placed on South Korea by China not to accept the system. U.S. officials now emphasize the deployment of THAAD would be to protect South Korea and the approximately 28,500 U.S. soldiers based there.

On Tuesday, North Korea announced it has developed the capability to put a miniaturized nuclear weapon on a ballistic missile, the same day that the Air Force deployed the B-2s. The Air Force did not specify where the B-2s would be based.

“Recent events demonstrate the continued need to provide consistent and credible air power throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region,” said Gen. Lori J. Robinson, Pacific Air Forces commander. “Our ability to demonstrate credible combat power while training and inter-operating with our network of like-minded partner nations is vitally important.”

 

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2015 Report: How much H-1B visa holders make in the U.S.

shutterstock_268850816Ever wondered how much H-1B visa holders make? Now’s your chance to find out: San Francisco-based engineer Theo Negri has released a database of H-1B applications, searchable by company.

Whenever a firm based in the United States wants to bring in a worker via an H-1B visa, it must subm50fa1mdeit a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the U.S. government. Every LCA features the potential worker’s proposed salary; compile enough LCAs into a database, and you can get a pretty good idea of how much companies are shelling out to bring in H-1B workers.

Quartz combed through Negri’s LCA database and came up with a list of the average salaries for H-1B holders at a number of tech companies. Topping the list was:

  1. Netflix, where the average H-1B holder could expect to earn $214,693 in 2014
  2. Box ($143,318)
  3. Etsy ($135,595)
  4. Twitter ($134,221)
  5. Airbnb ($134,039)

 

Many of these firms are willing to pay above the industry average for H-1B talent. Earlier this year, for example, Netflix applied for a senior database platform engineer at a $250,000 annual salary, nearly $100,000 above the average wage for that position (according to Negri’s data). Based on the LCA database, Airbnb seems willing to pay anywhere from $10,000 to $60,000 above the average for data scientists, software engineers, and other H-1B holders.

Many of these firms are willing to pay above the industry average for H-1B talent. Earlier this year, for example, Netflix applied for a senior database platform engineer at a $250,000 annual salary, nearly $100,000 above the average wage for that position (according to Negri’s data). Based on the LCA database, Airbnb seems willing to pay anywhere from $10,000 to $60,000 above the average for data scientists, software engineers, and other H-1B holders.

Earlier this year, developer Swizec Teller crunched H-1B data from the U.S. Department of Labor and concluded that the average engineer with the visa makes $87,000 a year, while developers and programmers earn $74,000 and $61,000, respectively. His visualizations also suggested that the number of H-1B workers in the United States has increased over the past two years, even if their average salaries have dipped.

Declining salaries or not, Negri’s data suggests that some H-1B holders can expect some pretty lucrative paydays.

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Large Iceberg spurs mini Tsunami

Iceberg breaking up in the Ilulissat icefjord, close to an archaeological site called Sermermiut.

*A quick note – some of the external links to this video have mixed information. To be more precise, this is a large iceberg breaking up, which had already calved from the icecap. The large ones often collect at the end of the fjord, where it is a bit shallower. The NASA image at the end of the video shows this a bit more clearly

For more information about the Ilulissat Icefjord visit http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1149

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VIDEO REPORT: Unhealthy Summertime Ozone Levels Ahead?

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Air quality expected to get way worse over the next 35 years in the continental United States due to current climate change trends.
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Huge Arctic Waves

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Scientists have recently measured huge waves where you would never suspect.

Watch this video on The Scene.

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Russia Planning to Build Permanent Base on the Moon

https://news.yahoo.com/video/russia-planning-build-permanent-moon-023300273.html?format=embed

Russia’s eventual manned mission to the moon will involve the payload and the upper stage of the Angara A5 heavy lift carrier rocket. The rockets, all launched in pairs, will carry a piece of equipment essential to the moon mission.

Each rocket can carry up to 700 tons. The first pair will carry a lunar lander and a lunar rocket stage to the moon. The second stage will carry another rocket stage, along with an advanced crew transportation system. The third pair will carry another rocket stage, along with a lunar base.

Another component of the mission includes sending a lunar probe to the moon’s surface. The probe will look for water deposits on the surface that can be used by a future human colony.

Manned missions will begin orbiting the moon in 2028 and 2030. Humans are expected to find a land on the moon and establish a permanent moon base there at that time.

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New Legislation Enables Commercial Exploration and Use of Space Resources

The United States Senate just recently passed legislation that significantly advances the cause of opening space resources to humanity. Title IV of S.1297, also referred to as the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitive Act of 2015, promotes the right of U.S. citizens to engage in commercial exploration for, and commercial recovery of, space resources in accordance with international obligations and subject to supervision by the U.S. government.

“We are pleased to see the beginnings of legal clarity in the field of space resource utilization,” said Rick Tumlinson, Chair of Deep Space Industries. “This bill is a historic step forward and demonstrates that Congress can effectively and quickly pass legislation that is important to the country’s economic future. The hard-working legislators and their staff on Capitol Hill are to be commended.”

Title IV will spur an influx of capital into the industry and encourage entities to further develop plans and technologies to extract minerals from the vast numbers of asteroids and other resource-rich bodies in the solar system.

“This is a very thoughtfully worded piece of legislation that is sensitive to the existing Outer Space Treaty, and yet moves the ball far forward in terms of giving companies like DSI the legal certainty we need to invest in capitally intensive missions and equipment” said Daniel Faber, DSI’s CEO.

Establishing a solid legal foundation for the development of space mineral resources is a necessary first step in opening the frontier. This legal framework is essential for serious investment to occur in what may become one of the biggest industries of all time.

“We have the team, the technology and the science,” continued Faber. “This legislation gives us the legal assurance to put it all together into a successful business.”

DSI leaders and other members of the commercial space industry are impressed by the tone of the legislation, and point out that everyone involved, no matter their party, company or interest has been working hard to get this right.

“It is good for the country, and it is good for all mankind,” continued Tumlinson. “We encourage other nations to support similar legislation, enabling the space resource utilization industry to build a robust space economy and a better future for all citizens of the world.”

deep_space_indistries_logoAbout Deep Space Industries
Deep Space Industries is an international space resources company, utilizing the most advanced nanosatellite technologies to realize asteroid mining. To learn more about DSI’s asteroid mining projects, innovative technology, or world-renowned team of experts, please visit: www.DeepSpaceIndustries.com.

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Can we afford to go to space?

DSI-Processor-conceptSpace is not a government program; it’s the rest of the Universe. Private space business is now a major factor, bent on finding investors interested in generating profits by making space more accessible to more people.

Space business pays taxes to governments; it does not consume tax revenues. Further, space business can offer launch services to government agencies at highly competitive rates, thus saving taxpayer dollars. How can they do this, competing with government-funded boosters with a 50-year track record? Simple: governments have no incentive to cut costs.

Traditional aerospace industry giants have a huge vested interest in boosters that were developed to military and NASA standards, among which economy was not even an issue. But innovative, competitive companies such as XCOR Aerospace and Mojave Aerospace, without such baggage (and overhead) can drive costs down dramatically. This is a proven principle: notice that we are no longer buying IBM PCs with 64 k of RAM for $5000 a unit.

Even more important in the long view, space is a literally astronomical reservoir of material and energy resources. The profit potential of even a single such resource, such as solar power collectors in space beaming microwave power to Earth, is in the trillions of dollars. What would it be worth to the world to reduce fossil fuel consumption by a factor of 20 or 100 while lowering energy costs? Can we afford to continue pretending that Earth is a closed system, doomed to eke out finite resources into a cold, dark future?

Can we afford space? Wrong question. Can businesses afford space? Yes. We get to reap the benefits of their innovative ideas and free competition without footing the bill.

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