Friday, March 28, 2014

Lift Truck Driver Gets Covered With Fish...

Infomercial huckster Kevin Trudeau is off to prison for a decade

Infomercial huckster Kevin Trudeau is off to prison for a decade, but consumers aren’t getting any reprieve when it comes to scams, ripoffs and frauds.
Instead, they will just find those problems in new places and from new crooks.
The question is why consumers and investors continue falling for some of the oldest tricks in the book, and a quick look at Trudeau’s situation shows why the jailing of one huckster — or of a thousand swindlers — won’t keep ordinary folks from falling prey to scoundrels.
If you don’t know who Kevin Trudeau is, chances are you sleep well at night. Insomniacs, night owls and people who wake up before the crack of dawn, have had a hard time turning on their television without seeing his infomercials promising access to “secrets” that “they” don’t want you to know.
He started by targeting people’s health fears — “The Weight Loss Cure ‘They’ Don’t Want You to Know About” and “Natural Cures ‘They’ Don’t Want You to Know About” — but when the Federal Trade Commission went after him for false claims in those areas, he turned his attentions to money, hawking “Debt Cures ‘They’ Don’t Want You to Know About.” (See Shell-out game for my 2007 analysis of that program.)
Trudeau was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison for bilking consumers with his best-selling weight-loss book. The 50-year-old TV pitchman has been in jail since November, when he was convicted of criminal contempt for defying a 2004 court order that barred him from running false ads about the book; prosecutors said that Trudeau violated the order by airing the infomercial at least 32,000 times.
In other words, he directly ignored the restrictions about 10 times per day, while suggesting he was following the court’s order by turning his focus to debt issues.
U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman said before sentencing that for decades Trudeau had “steadfastly attempted to cheat others for his own personal gain.”
The weight-loss book — which sold more than 850,000 copies and generated nearly $40 million in revenue, according to prosecutors — was the focus of the criminal conviction and a related Federal Trade Commission civil case in which Trudeau was ordered to pay a $37 million judgment, money Trudeau says he can’t put up because he’s broke.

Pitchman Kevin Trudeau sentenced to 10 years

Infomercial pitchman Kevin Trudeau, who amassed his fortune with multimillion sellers like "Natural Cures 'They' Don't Want You to Know About," is heading to federal prison for 10 years for misleading consumers. Chuck Jaffe discusses. Photo: AP.
Trudeau’s lawyers argued that their client should only be charged with defrauding 67 customers, the number of buyers who complained to consumer protection agencies.
Moreover, lawyers claimed that the harm to any one individual would have been less than $30 — the cost of the books — since no one can claim that his actions “shattered lives.”
Indeed, it’s probably fair to say that Trudeau didn’t send anyone to the poor house.
But the claim of the lawyers that the losses were less than $30 also shows part of the problem here. The books cost $30, but then there was shipping and handling (that struck me as particularly odd for the debt book: Trudeau argued in his infomercial that banks should simply include all fees as part of the “interest” being paid, so he should have lumped transport costs into the price of the book), and the $9.95 a month that consumers who bought the book were typically charged to get supporting newsletters.
There were also serious opportunity costs for Trudeau’s victims. If you had a debt problem, bought the book and the services and wound up about $250 further in debt to Trudeau, you could also have spent months not taking the serious steps necessary to get out of debt. Once you realized his cure was mostly a placebo, you still had to go through the hard work of belt-tightening and expense-cutting to get the debts under control.
But the real lesson in the Trudeau case is the oldest one: If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
So while Trudeau’s time in the pokey will stop his efforts, it won’t stop the next bad guys.
Trudeau and others like him give their pitches the proper air of believability. It was hard to watch Trudeau’s infomercials — even with a skeptical eye — and not see something that piqued your interest; you can know it’s a rip-off and still find the message believable enough to wonder if it might be real.
Get sucked in, and you could be the next person taking a chance. (And it is worth pointing out that Trudeau still has his supporters, people who say they were helped by his books.)
So as Kevin Trudeau fades into obscurity, he leaves behind some key points to remember:
1) There are no “secrets” anymore. Oh, people, industries and governments have secrets, but in well-covered industries like health care or personal finance, the vital information is out there and available. It might be new to you — or to the masses — but there’s nothing secret about it (and if it was secret, the author, seller or broker behind it would be keeping it secret instead of selling it to a mass-market audience).
2) Quick fixes are Band-Aids, not cures. It generally takes a long time to get into financial trouble and to recognize it. You didn’t fall behind in retirement savings overnight, or amass too much credit-card debt in a matter of weeks and, barring a winning lottery ticket, you shouldn’t expect to get out of trouble that quickly either.
Quick fixes and get-rich-quick ideas are too good to be true; don’t let wishful thinking overpower your ears.
3) Technically, everyone is out to get you, so stop worrying about “them” so much. Consumers shouldn’t miss the irony of a sharper like Trudeau selling books based on what the mysterious, all-powerful “they” don’t want you to know; he was out to get you at least as much as “they” were.
Conspiracy theories make great conversation but bad money-management strategy. In truth, business is involved on all sides; yes, there are companies that profit if you stay in debt, but there are others who profit as you get out of debt. Some businesses profit because people are obese; others benefit from people losing weight.
Your actions — not theirs — decide who profits from you; worry less about “them” and more about yourself, because no one has your best interests at heart the way you do. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Chris Christie’s Lawyers Clear Governor, Expand Bridge Scandal Blame

ABC US News | ABC Business News

An investigation launched by Gov. Chris Christie into shutting down lanes to the George Washington Bridge last September cleared the governor as expected, but it widened the circle of Christie allies involved in the politically inspired traffic scandal.
The report found that Christie's former campaign manager Bill Stepien and Bill Baroni, who Christie appointed to the powerful Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, both lied when asked whether they were aware of the lane closings that backed up cars and paralyzed the streets of Fort Lee, N.J. for several days.
The mammoth document paints a portrait of a governor’s office with structural flaws severe enough that the attorneys believe it must be cleaned up by an ethics czar and constituent advocate.
“Our investigation found that Governor Christie did not know of the lane realignment beforehand and had no involvement in the decision to realign the lanes,” the attorneys wrote in summarizing their more than 900 page document, released publicly today and reviewed by Christie’s office in advance. “He does not recall becoming aware of the lane realignment during the period, but would not have considered a traffic issue memorable in any event.”
In a news conference today, lead attorney Randy Mastro said there was "not a shred of evidence" to implicate Christie.
He defended the integrity of the investigation despite the fact that it was created by Christie.
"We believe we have gotten to the truth," Mastro said.
The report also addresses an unrelated accusation that the Christie administration threatened to withhold Sandy relief funds from the mayor of Hoboken, N.J., until she green-lit a development project. The lawyers write that those “allegations are, in material respects, demonstrably false.”
As for the lane shutdown, the report lays the blame for the idea, execution and the days worth of crippling traffic it caused squarely on Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, and David Wildstein, a Christie appointee to the agency that runs the George Washington Bridge and other transit links between New Jersey and New York.
Kelly and Wildstein had some sort of “ulterior motive” and “animosity” toward the mayor of Fort Lee, and orchestrated as payback the unannounced closing two of the three local access lanes at the Fort Lee entrance to the bridge. The attorneys said they didn’t find evidence supporting the public belief that the mayor was being punished for refusing to endorse Christie’s re-election bid.
They also don’t definitely answer the question of whether an actual traffic study was conducted. But they write that studying Fort Lee’s dedicated access lanes was discussed by Wildstein as early as 2010 and “was Wildstein’s ‘idea,’ like so many other ‘crazy’ ones he’d had before that never got off the ground.”
The document, compiled from 70 interviews and a review of 250,000 pages of emails and other records, is sure to be painted as a whitewash by Christie’s detractors. The lawyers write that the governor’s account “rings true,” and that Christie became emotional and tearful upon learning he was betrayed by some of those closest to him.

The report shows Christie to have been prescient late last year as the bad publicity generated by the lane closures crept closer and closer to the governor’s inner circle.

Disney buys YouTube network for $500m to capture younger audience

Purchase of Maker Studios gives Disney ownership of 55,000 YouTube channels, including Epic Rap Battles of History

LOS ANGELES—Disney is buying YouTube channel operator Maker Studios for $500 million U.S. as the family entertainment giant seeks to stay in front of younger viewers who are increasingly watching short videos online.
It’s the latest and largest acquisition of a YouTube channel network by a major Hollywood studio and represents another vote of confidence in the video service as an incubator of talent.
The Walt Disney Co. said Monday it would pay up to $450 million more in bonuses if Maker meets performance targets, the company said. The Maker deal is Disney’s biggest acquisition since it bought Star Wars creator Lucasfilm Ltd. for $4.06 billion in late 2012.
The purchase will give Disney ownership of 55,000 channels — including Epic Rap Battles of History and makeup expert Amy Pham’s The Fashion Statement. Combined, Maker has 380 million subscribers and generates 5.5 billion views per month.
Buying Maker Studios will help Disney reach young audiences, said Kevin Mayer, Disney’s executive vice-president of corporate strategy, in an interview.
“They have the biggest audience on YouTube. It’s very hard to replicate,” Mayer said.
He said that while Disney also reaches younger viewers, their habits are changing.
“To the extent that they’re finding YouTube, we want to be there too,” he said. “We don’t want to have any vacuums.”
Mayer said Disney could also find talent for its TV shows and movies in the YouTube stars on Maker Studios’ channels.
It wouldn’t be the first to attempt to mine YouTube for characters that could be taken mainstream. In 2010, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. released Fred: The Movie in 2010, using the character that Lucas Cruikshank turned into a viral, if annoying, sensation on YouTube.
It also follows other media giants into the space.
Earlier this month, Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros. led an $18 million investment into videogamer network Machinima. Last year, DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. bought the AwesomenessTV network for $33 million, with a bonus potential of $117 million if the studio met earnings targets over two years.
Peter Csathy, chief executive of investment fund Manatt Digital Media Ventures, said the scarcity of leading YouTube channel networks has contributed to a run-up in the price for the few that remain.
“The mass numbers of viewers coming to these channels is what it’s all about,” Csathy said. “It’s the numbers and the scale. It’s that coveted young demographic. Those are the contexts underlying all of this.”
Richard Raddon, co-founder of online video management company ZEFR, said traditional media companies have only recently begun to see YouTube as a valuable platform to invest in.
“A few years ago, I don’t think YouTube was on their radar as a big, broad, viable global platform with an enormous audience. It is today,” Raddon said.
For Maker, the acquisition marks a stunning ascent.
Founded in 2009 by YouTube stars Lisa Donovan and her brother Ben, Danny Zappin, Shay Carl Butler and Kassem Gharaibeh, the company operates out of makeshift offices spread over several buildings in Culver City, Calif., and generates hundreds of videos every month.
When The Associated Press visited Maker in late 2011, it was shooting videos in the alley. The space was full of costumes, props, computers, and cables running everywhere.
Maker raised $70 million in two fundraising rounds from 2012 to 2013 that reportedly valued it around $300 million. Investors included Time Warner Inc. and others.
Last year, former CEO of production company Endemol Ynon Kreiz became Maker’s CEO after Zappin stepped down in acrimony. Zappin later sued his co-founders over his ouster.
The combination of Maker’s earnings and accounting charges Disney will have to make on the purchase will dampen Disney’s earnings per share “mildly” through the 2017 fiscal year, Mayer said.
Disney shares rose 35 cents to $79.84 in after-hours trading Monday after falling 86 cents, or 1.1 per cent, to close at $79.49 in regular trading.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Scammers Stealing Info Claiming To Be Canada Revenue Agency

If you received an unsolicited email claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency about a possible tax return, delete it immediately and call police.

With tax season upon us, the email scam is making the rounds of Canadians’ inboxes. Bearing the CRA logo and littered with spelling and grammar mistakes, the message reads: “Our records indicate insuficient (sic) information for your income tax return. As a result, you have to been (sic) exempt from the Canadian Tax reporting and witholdings (sic) on claims to be payd (sic) to you.” It asks the recipient to click on a link to fill out a form to apply for a tax return.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre has been inundated with reports about the email scam, said Corporal Louis Robertson, manager of the CAFC in North Bay, Ont.
“It’s a very popular fraud scheme at this time of year,” he said.

The fraud has been going on since the 1990s and recurs every year around tax time, he said.
If you received the email but did not click on the link, there is no need to report the fraud to the CAFC. If you did click on it and provided fraudsters with personal information, contact CAFC by email or by phone at 1-888-495-8501.

Robertson said the purpose of the fraud, usually seeking credit card and passport information, is identity theft.

Scam artists behind such schemes could be based anywhere in the world, which is why it is very difficult to track them down, he said.

Mylène Croteau of the CRA said the tax agency does not send emails requesting personal information from taxpayers and people should be on guard against such scams.

You can find examples of similar scams on the CRA’s website at
If you get an email purporting to be from the revenue agency, ask yourself:
Am I expecting additional money from the CRA?
Does this sound too good to be true?
Is the requester asking for information I would not include with my tax return?
Is the requester asking for information I know the CRA already has on file for me?
How did the requester get my email address?
Am I confident I know who is asking for the information?

March is Fraud Awareness Month and the CAFC is warning consumers and businesses to be on the lookout for scams, many of which target seniors.

Other common ruses often used to swindle money from vulnerable seniors include:
The Emergency-Grandparent Scam, which is aimed at persuading seniors to believe a family member or friend is in trouble and in need of financial aid.

The Prize Scam, which tricks victims into believing they have won a lottery/sweepstakes.
The Bank Inspector Scam persuades victims to expose a possible fraudulent cashier at a bank by withdrawing funds for a supposed investigator.

Scammers are practised con artists who use tactics to gain victims’ trust and friendship or to scare them into parting with their money, in some cases their life savings, according to the CAFC.

This Town Paid Ted Nugent $16,000 To NOT Appear At A Local Event

Rocker Ted Nugent just made big bucks to not show up somewhere.
The town of Longview, Texas paid Nugent $16,000 to not appear at the town's Fourth of July Festival. According to KLTV, a city spokesman said Nugent was "not the right feel for this kind of community event."
The city had reached a verbal agreement with Nugent, scheduling the rocker as the headliner who would play inside the Maude Cobb Convention and Activity Center during the town's Independence Day celebration. To break that agreement, the town paid Nugent half of his guaranteed performance fee of $32,000 from Maude Cobb's annual budget.
The move comes amid criticism of comments Nugent made about President Barack Obama in January 2014, calling him a "subhuman mongrel." Nugent, who campaigned with Texas Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott amid the controversy, apologized for those comments in February.
Abbott said he was moving on from the controversy over Nugent in late February, but his ties to the rocker remain a prominent talking point of both sides of the governor's race. Abbott's rival, Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis (D), called the Attorney General's embrace of Nugent an "insult," while former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin (R) cited the rocker in her endorsement of Abbott.
"If he is good enough for Ted Nugent, he is good enough for me!" Palin wrote on her Facebook page.
The situation with Longview is not unique. Nugent was removed from a concert lineup at a prominent military base in 2012 after saying he would be "dead or in jail by this time next year" if Obama were re-elected that year.
Read more about the cancellation at KLTV.

One Year Later, Same Old Party

After the 2012 election, the Republican Party was at a crossroads. They had just lost two presidential elections in a row -- but not only that, they had only won a popular majority in a national election once in the last six presidential races.

Still reeling from their 2012 losses, Reince Priebus, my counterpart at the RNC, commissioned a report to see what went wrong and make recommendations to make sure it didn't happen again. 

Exactly a year ago today they unveiled that report, which has become popularly known as the "Autopsy Report." 

In a moment of rare self-awareness, Republican leaders admitted that the party was alienating huge swaths of the electorate, including women, people of color and young Americans -- and realized that it would be difficult to win any national elections going forward without taking steps to appeal to those voters.

On the Autopsy Report's one-year anniversary, the Democratic National Committee is taking a look at how the GOP plan to broaden their base is going by releasing our own report -- an autopsy on their autopsy.

What did we find? 365 days later, all the Republican Party has gotten is a year older and not a bit wiser.

The GOP has failed to change their actions or tone from the party that in 2012 told immigrants they should "self deport" and women that they had the ability to "shut that whole thing down" when raped. What changes we have seen from the Republican Party are just superficial, tactical changes. Nothing they have done changes the fact that they have an out-of-touch agenda that prioritizes opportunity for some instead of creating opportunity for all.

They may have set out to become a party that is more "inclusive and welcoming," as the Autopsy Report suggests but a year later, the GOP is moving in the opposite direction. They continue to alienate large communities of Americans with rhetoric and policy that divides us and is simply outside of the mainstream.

In the past year, we've heard Republican leaders and operatives call a female candidate an "empty dress," talk about women's "libidos," and -- once again -- try to downplay abuse. We've heard them use derogatory terms to describe Latino immigrants, use insulting stereotypes for African-Americans and our president, and support outright discrimination against LGBT Americans.

Sadly, this type of rhetoric is only the beginning of their problems -- their policies are simply out of step with the majority of American voters.

Seventy-three percent of Americans think we should raise the minimum wage and still Republicans refuse to act. Eighty-eight percent of the American people support commonsense immigration reform with a path to citizenship yet Republicans continue to obstruct. Sixty-seven percent of Americans believe we need to do more to improve equality for women in the workplace but Republicans oppose the Paycheck Fairness Act. And more than half of the American people do not want to see Obamacare repealed yet Republicans voted more than 50 times to repeal or dismantle the law and more repeal attempts are on the way. And let's not forget that in one of their attempts, they shut the government down. 

It's not hard to see why in 2013, Republican Party identification reached a 25-year low. One year after the autopsy and it's clear their attempt at rebranding has failed -- the American people are just as turned off by the GOP as they were in 2012. Only 14 percent of women said the Republican Party had moved closer to their perspective since the 2012 election while 33 percent said the party had drifted further from them. Only 5 percent of African Americans nationwide identify as Republicans, half of all Americans believe that gay Americans have a constitutional right to marry and millennials now lean Democratic.

And in recent days and weeks, Reince Priebus and the RNC's plan for winning in 2014, 2016 and beyond has become increasingly clear. Shrink the electorate by making it more difficult for people to vote, hide their candidates by limiting the number of debates, and buy more ads that mask the fact that their policies hurt rather than help the communities they are targeting.

What the RNC and the Republican Party still don't understand is that their biggest problem has never been their primary calendar, their campaign tactics, or a lack of trainings. Their biggest problem is who they are, what they believe, what they say, and how they govern. 

2014 will be a choice -- expanding opportunity for some versus increasing opportunity for all.
Democrats will keep working as we always have, to expand the electorate, get more people involved in democracy, and engage the next generation of voters.
Follow Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz 

Saturday, March 15, 2014



Harry Smith
Harry Smith is an NBC News correspondent who came to NBC News as a correspondent for "Rock Center" with Brian Williams in July 2011

 Colorado made history as the first state in the U.S. to legalize marijuana for recreational use. NBC News correspondent Harry Smith tells the story behind this stunning development, which has been called one of the great social experiments of the next century.

UPCOMING SHOW TIMES Sunday March 16 at 9p ET/PT

This is a Full Page Of Videos On The Topic From CNBC

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey will invent new modes of scientific storytelling to reveal the grandeur of the universe and re-invent celebrated elements of the original series, including the Cosmic Calendar and the Ship of the Imagination. Uniting skepticism and wonder, and weaving rigorous science with visual, emotional and spiritual elements, it will be a transcendent experience – a vision of the cosmos on the grandest scale we know.

Bill Maher's latest "New Rule" Calls God A Mass Murderer

You're probably going to be hearing a lot about Bill Maher's latest "New Rule" in the coming days. Mostly because in it, he not only takes aim at almost every religion (Bahá'í, you got lucky) but also because he calls God a "psychotic mass murderer."
The rant kicks off with Maher explaining that he's sick of seeing ads for Darren Aronofsky's "floating piece of giraffe crap" "Noah." While he allows that the film "must be doing something right," since it's already angering both Christians and Muslims, the fact that 60% of adult Americans believe that the story of Noah is literally true is proof enough for Maher that "this is a stupid country."
But more important than the implausibility of the tale, Maher says it's immoral. "It's about a psychotic mass murderer who gets away with it, and his name is God."
And the sure-to-offend-Christians zingers keep coming from there:

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

"The Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the Looming Generational Showdown."

Paul Taylor

Author Paul Taylor elucidates salient characteristics of the millennial generation in his book "The Next America: Boomers, Millennials (born after 1980 ) and the Looming Generational Showdown."  24-35 year olds 

The America of the near future will look nothing like the America of the recent past.

America is in the throes of a demographic overhaul. Huge generation gaps have opened up in our political and social values, our economic well-being, our family structure, our racial and ethnic identity, our gender norms, our religious affiliation, and our technology use.

Today's Millennials-well-educated, tech savvy, underemployed twenty-somethings-are at risk of becoming the first generation in American history to have a lower standard of living than their parents. Meantime, more than 10,000 Baby Boomers are retiring every single day, most of them not as well prepared financially as they'd hoped. This graying of our population has helped polarize our politics, put stresses on our social safety net, and presented our elected leaders with a daunting challenge: How to keep faith with the old without bankrupting the young and starving the future.

Every aspect of our demography is being fundamentally transformed. By mid-century, the population of the United States will be majority non-white and our median age will edge above 40-both unprecedented milestones. But other rapidly-aging economic powers like China, Germany, and Japan will have populations that are much older. With our heavy immigration flows, the US is poised to remain relatively young. If we can get our spending priorities and generational equities in order, we can keep our economy second to none. But doing so means we have to re-balance the social compact that binds young and old. In tomorrow's world, yesterday's math will not add up.

Drawing on Pew Research Center's extensive archive of public opinion surveys and demographic data, The Next America is a rich portrait of where we are as a nation and where we're headed-toward a future marked by the most striking social, racial, and economic shifts the country has seen in a century.

And This Review:

Will the Boomerangers ever grow up? Eventually, perhaps, but not just yet. More than 4 in 10 of today’s twenty-somethings, like Junior, have returned home to live with their parent(s) at some stage of their young adult lives. As for marriage—for now, fuhgeddaboudit. Back when Jane was the age Junior is now, about half of all twenty-somethings in America were married. Today about 20 percent are. The Millennials’ two seemingly incompatible characteristics—their slow walk to adulthood and their unshaken confidence in the future—are their most distinctive traits. Despite inheriting the worst economy since the Great Depression, despite rates of youth un- and underemployment that are the highest since the government began keeping such records, despite the growing albatross of student loan debt, and despite not being able to think about starting a family of their own, Millennials are America’s most stubborn optimists. They have a self-confidence born of coddling parents and everyonegets-a-trophy coaches. They have a look-at-me elan that comes from being humankind’s first generation of digital natives (before them, nobody knew that the whole world wanted to see your funny cat photos). And they have the invincibility of youth. For all those reasons, Millennials are far more bullish than their better-off elders about their financial future. Even as they struggle to find jobs and launch careers, even as 4 in 10 describe themselves as being in the lower or lower middle classes (a higher share than any other generation), nearly 9 in 10 say they already have or one day will have enough money to meet their financial needs. No other generation is nearly as optimistic.
Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, a psychology professor at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, and an expert on twenty-somethings, ascribes their optimism to their lack of life experience. “The dreary, dead-end jobs, the bitter divorces, the disappointing and disrespectful children . . . none of them imagine that this is what the future holds for them,” he writes. In an interview with Robin Marantz Henig for a New York Times Magazine article, Arnett elaborated: “Ask them if they agree with the statement ‘I am very sure that someday I will get to where I want to be in life,’ and 96 percent of them will say yes. . . .But despite elements that are exciting, even exhilarating, about being this age, there is a downside, too: dread, frustration, uncertainty, a sense of not quite understanding the rules of the game.” Arnett says that what he hears most often from young adults is ambivalence; 60 percent of his subjects tell him they felt like both grown-ups and not-quite-grown-ups.
When it comes to their economic prospects, are they clueless Peter Pans on course for an unhappy rendezvous with reality? There’s no shortage of elders who fear exactly that. “We have a monster jobs problem, and young people are the biggest losers,” says Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, who predicts the specter of unemployment will “haunt young people for at least another decade. . . . It almost makes you want to cry for the future of our country.” Harvard economist Richard Freeman says today’s young adults “will be scarred and they will be called ‘the lost generation’—in that their careers would not be the same had they avoided this economic disaster.” These and other pessimists believe America’s unemployment crisis is as much structural as cyclical—a by-product of a witch’s brew of globalization, automation, foreign competition, and a faltering education system. Millennials, they worry, are on track to become the first generation in American history to do less well in life than their parents.
All of these challenges will be exacerbated once the nation has to start coping with the full cost of the retirement of 76 million Boomers. The oldest turned 65 in 2011. By the time the youngest cross that threshold in 2030, America’s age pyramid will take on a shape it has never had before. About 1 in 5 Americans will be 65 or older, up from 1 in 7 now. The number of retirees on Social Security and Medicare will rise to about 80 million by 2030, roughly double the figure in 2000. Among them, the fastest growing cohort will be the “old-old.” The number of seniors ages 85 and older is expected to more than triple between now and 2050, to 19 million. Fewer workers supporting more of the old and old-old isn’t much of a formula for economic growth, standard of living gains, or social comity. “It’s like a seesaw—if one side is up, the other side has to be down,” says Andrew Biggs, a former deputy commissioner of the Social Security Administration, of the challenge of preserving a safety net for the old without bankrupting the young. “Nobody wants to do the actual things you have to do so you don’t screw your kids on this stuff.”

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Religions Worldwide Stats 2014

This is a list of religious populations by proportion and population. Estimates made by reliable sources differ. The CIA's World Factbook gives the population as 7,021,836,029 (July 2012 est.) and the distribution of religions as Christian 31.59% (of which Roman Catholic 18.85%, Protestant 8.15%, Orthodox 4.96%, Anglican 1.26%), Muslim 23.2%, Hindu 15.0%, Buddhist 7.1%, Sikh 0.35%, Jewish 0.2%, Bahá'í 0.11%, other religions 10.95%, non-religious 9.66%, atheists 2.01%. (2010 est.).[1]

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