Written By Jeff Josse
For several years Google has had it’s eyes on the stars and more specifically the asteroids. A 500 meter long asteroid floating around space rich with platinum has had Google’s eyes on it since 2010 and their plan is by 2015 to launch a small spacecraft called “Firefly” to survey these asteroids and collect data on
their resources. This team plans on raising what they call a mere $3M from equity funds, venture capitalists to $10M the next year to begin building their spaceship the plan is to build a cheap yet efficient ship that will be able to serve its purpose. Several years later after enough data is collected they plan on building the “Dragonfly” which will be the actual miner planned to carry back a whopping 25-65kg sample back home, however earlier expeditions by NASA only proved successful in bringing back samples of dust. However everyone calls these plans farfetched, sadly that’s because they are, the planned expedition will cost millions of dollars no matter how cheap the try to make it, on top of that raising the money for it AND the Dragonfly will take more than a couple of equity funds and venture capitalists. The promise however on Google’s end was that they would be able to turn a huge profit on mining the asteroids, again however as I said many people are speculating whether it’s worth investing in this project because again NASA themselves were barely able to bring back dust from their expedition. Not only that but as any good economist knows even if in say 10 years they were able to start a full scale mining operation on said asteroid, the value of platinum and any other resource they mine will plummet which basically ruins the whole idea to turn this voyage into profit. Demand and supply will surely increase if they begin bringing back resources from outer
space which will cause overall prices to fall and not allow Google to repay any debt they’ll most likely have.
However on the upside no other country has shown this kind of technology and if they were to successfully build this spacecraft they could make money selling this technology to NASA and other space programs.
As well it would be a huge leap forward in science considering they also want to try and find oxygen, methane, and water on the moon's north pole. In my eyes this is a 50 50 chance and they take a big risk either way, because the news is out there that these are their plans, so my question is what do you think they
should do, is it worth the risk?
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
By: Mason G.
The growth of the economy during the 2013 year is expected to be relatively weak like the growth of the past few years. The overall growth for the economy is expected to be around a 3 percent increase from last year. Even though this is a very small increase, every little bit is going to help and it is a step in the right direction after many years where the economy didn’t improve but actually ended up going the exact opposite direction. During the 2012 year the US economy improved by 2 percent so the annual averages will be fairly similar. To compare the US with another country to see where we are compared to everyone else, China’s economy has been on the rise for longer than ours and their economy is also doing better than our with about an 8 percent increase expected during 2013. The year 2013 is supposed to start off slow and not so good in terms of the economy but then more towards the middle of the year the economy is going to start to turn around. Also, in 2013, the housing market is expected to improve greatly. The housing market is just what it sounds like and that is just the general market of houses being purchased. In the past few years house prices have been way low and many people were losing money. Also because people didn’t want to sell their house not many houses were available to be bought. Thing are supposed to be much different for this next year when it comes to buying and selling houses. It is expected that more people are just going to want to buy a new home and sell their old house. Also, there is not many people at all that are building new homes. Experts say that the number of homes being built now is very far below what they want and far below what is healthy for the economy. The main reason why the housing market has been down the past few years is because houses were overbuilt from the years 2000-2007 so now there are too many. Finally we are catching up with it now. There are also younger couples looking to start a new household which is helping diminish the number of those excess houses. Experts are expecting that the average price of houses will increase about 3 or 4 percent in the next year. In the end, 2013 is going to feel a little bit friendlier than 2012 and a few years before that as well. Many experts are very optimistic with this upcoming year whether it be just the overall economy or the price of homes increasing or just the housing market. This is a very good step in the right direction for our country because we have really been faced with a harsh recession for the past few years now and it will be nice for thing to finally start to turn around.
Monday, March 18, 2013
By: Sam M.
How often do you hear about Mars and the economy at the same time? I’ll guess not very often, but now is one time that you will. On Tuesday March 12, NASA scientists reported the results of a chemical analysis done by the newest NASA rover Curiosity on powder gathered when drilling into Martian rock. John Grotzinger, leader of the Curiosity Rover project, and scientist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, said in a news conference, “We have found a habitable environment that is so benign, and supportive of life, that probably if this water was around and you had been on the planet, you would have been able to drink it." The powder was found to have chemicals that are required to sustain life, and that slightly salty water with a neutral pH balance was once at the spot test by the rover. Curiosity will conduct around
Though this discovery makes the United States the unquestioned leader of scientific exploration outside of our home planet, is it all for the better? Although some may postulate otherwise, my answer is yes. This discovery reaffirms the United States as the leader in extra terrestrial and inter-planetary science. In addition, the current cost of the Curiosity Rover Mission is only right around 2.5 billion dollars, for something that could in the next couple generations turn into the first ever vacation destination outside our atmosphere. The possibility of commercial trans-planetary travel would bring untold riches to the economy of the United States, who is the only country to successfully land a probe on Mars, and keep contact with it.
The company Mars One has put a plan in place to create a permanent human settlement on Mars by the year 2023. The Mars One website says about the plan, “[We have] developed a precise, realistic plan based entirely upon existing technologies. It is both economically and logistically feasible, in motion through the integration of existing suppliers and experts in space exploration.” This year, the Mars One team will select the group of astronauts who will most likely become the first humans on Mars, and will create a replica of the Mars One establishment on Earth in order for the astronauts to train for the upcoming missions. The medical and physical requirements for Mars One are, “The applicant must be free from any disease, any dependency on drugs, alcohol or tobacco, must have the normal range of motion and functionality in all joints, visual acuity in both eyes of 100% (20/20) either uncorrected or corrected with lenses or contact lenses, free from any psychiatric disorders. It is important to be healthy, with an age- and gender-adequate fitness level. Blood pressure should not exceed 140/90 measured in a sitting position. The standing height must be between 157 and 190 cm (which is around 5’2”-6 ’3”).”
So if you’d like to become one of the first humans to venture on to another planet, this may be your opportunity, and you may help give the United States government the next great vacation destination, and make us have a natural monopoly on the market of inter-planetary travel.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Taxes are now and have always been a huge issue surrounding economic and political discussions. There are some that argue that the rich don’t contribute enough and there are many others that argue that it is the duty of the rich to contribute more because, simply, they have more. In the United States, for income taxes, we have a progressive system, which requires the wealthier to pay a larger portion of their income to taxes than a poorer family. This does two things for the American economy as a whole, it acts as a built in stabilizer in which expansionary or contractionary fiscal policy can occur without any direct interference from the government and it also acts as a way to redistribute income as the tax dollars collected may be spent on welfare programs as well as programs that aid society as a whole.
But, back to the argument as to whether the rich pay enough of their income to qualify as contributing their fair share. According to CNN Money, the top income receivers contribute an overwhelming majority of the taxes used for things and programs that they use equally or even less than their less wealthy counterparts. In 2010, the top 10% of the United States contributed 70.6% of the federal income taxes collected. This is an extreme increase from less than 15 years ago in 1986 when the top 10% carried 54.6% of the federal income tax burden. It was also noted that 47% of Americans contribute little or nothing to federal income taxes, leaving the entire tax burden on a little more than half of the country. Although the top 10% take on 70.6% of the tax burden, they only receive 45% of the nation’s income. This point is the main argument in that the rich are taking on more than their fair share of taxes going to programs that may not even be benefiting them or their general community.
The argument countering this is that there is a point at which an excess of money is accumulated. One only needs so much to live on and therefore the value of the money earned by lower income receivers is more than that of higher income receivers. Over the past few years, salaries and wages of low-income workers have barely been able to catch up with inflation and the majority of income gains, where there are any, are given to those at the top. Therefore the argument for a more progressive tax system lies in the argument that while the poor are remaining relatively the same, the rich are getting richer. The United States has relatively high income inequality to begin with, with a Gini Ratio of 0.45 (0 being perfect equality and 1 being absolute inequality) and many believe that it is the countries best interest to lower that through taxes and it is the duty of the nation to provide for all in any way that they can. Also, the progressive federal tax system is offset slightly by the less progressive state income tax system and even regressive sales tax.
Therefore, in conclusion, it is not a matter of setting a flat tax rate versus the progressive system that is even part of the argument as the benefits and stability of a progressive system are needed. But, it is a constant argument as to whether the progressive system is progressive enough. This argument cannot be solved economically, necessarily, because it is based mainly in the ideology of the people. Views differ extremely between various democrats and republicans, except in that no one really likes taxes but in the end their necessity renders them worth wile.
By Alexander Graham
In countries throughout the world, there is talk of merging fiscal policies and monetary elements. It hasn’t hit the US yet but many economists feel that it could soon move our way. Many economists in foreign countries such as England and France are afraid of what could happen and are trying to prevent it. But honestly is it such a bad thing. Many people argue that if the merger goes through it will put political power in the hands of banks, and regulation of the money systems will fall also upon the politicians. This doesn’t make much sense as the political power is already very tight in the political party as is but how could a merger end up trading that power anyway, it just doesn’t make any sense, also that politicians would handle money regulations is ridiculous. In as far as a central bank is genuinely independent; politicians do not influence Monetary Policy Committee type committees. Thus there is equally little reason to suppose they would influence the sort of Monetary Policy Committee type committee advocated by Positive Money.
The Governor of the Bank in England, Mervyn King said in his speech that to combine fiscal policy and monetary systems will end up being close if not the same thing as himself standing in the streets handing out 50 pound notes, in the end if it doesn’t accomplish the goal, would prove to be impossible to reverse. That speaking this must mean that the merger would also be impossible to reverse but how difficult would it have been really to reverse such a merger. Cutting off the opportunities of such companies should reverse any effects that it has upon the system. But what seems to be most confusing is that it will be assumed that because two areas of the government are becoming one it will force the two workers of each department to work as one, but people tend to not do more work than they have to and so assuming that they will do work for the other department is a little odd to begin with. I personally feel that citizens feel the need to freak out about something so even if there is nothing, they can and will find something to “freak” out about. So since the “freak” out mode is small for the time being, many people have found that this possible action that is happening in ENGLAND may be perfect for the job.
Anyway, this is a tiny blip on our radar. It is not something that should affect us at all and most politicians and economists believe that we should ignore it. It isn’t guaranteed to occur even in England so the odds of it occurring in America are almost nonexistent. But as a final word, is it really a bad thing to allow this to occur?
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
By: Antonio Dorsey
The gap in fortunes between Europe and the United States widened this week after the unemployment rate in the US tumbled while Italy suffered the humiliation of another downgrade in its credit status. Most believe this to be a sign of a comeback in our economy that we so much needed but what’s important at the moment is to find out what has caused this positive increase for the United States so we can keep rolling with the momentum.
Beating the expectations of most analysts, the US economy added 236,000 new jobs in February as the unemployment rate edged down to 7.7%, its lowest level since December of 2008. The figures cheered US stock markets, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising 67.58 points, or 0.5%, to 14,397.07, its sixth-straight daily gain, and a new record high.
All of these occurrences happen to be a sign that the US is slowly but surely making a comeback to get where we need to be. February was the 29th consecutive month that the US added jobs. On average, 183,000 jobs were added each month in 2012, with about 195,000 a month on average in the past three months. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said the job gains were made in professional and business services, construction, and healthcare. In a sign of the improving housing market, the construction industry added 48,000 in February. Since September, construction employment has risen by 151,000.
Home prices are also rising steadily, and banks are lending more. Such improvements suggest that the economy is resilient enough to withstand the deep government cuts that will kick in effect on friday. Sales of new homes jumped nearly 16 percent in January to their highest level in 4 years, adding momentum to the housing recovery. Consumer confidence rose in February after three months of declines. And home prices increased in December from the same month in 2011 by the largest amount in more than six years.
However, the market is recovering from historic lows, and the January figure is still about a third below the level of sales that was typical during the 1970s, 80s and 90s, before last decade's housing bubble. The number of permits issued for the construction of new homes has hit a four-and-a-half-year high. Each new home creates three construction jobs for a year on average. The construction industry has added a total of 98,000 jobs since September.
What does this all mean for the United States? It means that we are improving and we have some sunshine in our forecast to look forward to. It’s not certain if this is a positive complete turnaround but it’s something positive that we as a country have been missing for quite awhile.