NUCLEAR ENERGY AND FEDERALISM

Nuclear energy is the new black when it comes to renewable sources of electricity, even as it has existed in America for more than 40 years.

For a time, nuclear energy was chastised as an environmentally friendly source of electric power because of the risks that were revealed by the nuclear plant meltdown in Chernobyl in late 1986, followed by a similar incident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in 2011.

However, as solar and wind power have been either insufficient or still prohibitively expensive, nuclear energy has started to get into the good graces of the alt-energy movement, as there has been a push for more nuclear power plants to eventually replace coal-powered plants.

While there is a federal agency called the U.S. Department of Energy, most nuclear power plants fall under state regulation and lawmaking, because nuclear plants generally generate electricity only for consumers inside the state; anything that goes outside state lines is considered interstate commerce and thus are subject to federal regulation.

This is mentioned because, while most nuclear plants do provide power to residents of their state, some electrical power is bought and sold in a domestic and/or international marketplace, which means that electrical power is subject to regulation and state’s rights don’t apply. There has been some federal legislation passed that helps the feds regulate and monitor that energy marketplace and the distribution of that energy.

With those differences, how are energy credits handled? Are they a federal matter, or do they fall within state jurisdiction? After all, are these credits considered separate from the energy and are the transactions such as should be regulated like energy in a marketplace?

That question is in the appeals process after the states so New York and Illinois introduced programs designed to subsidize and support nuclear energy plants to produce electrical power with no greenhouse-gas emissions (GGEs). While on paper these seem promising, the nuclear-energy industry has filed suit, claiming that the state programs violate federal law – but brings up the question as to whether federal law even applies in these cases.

The question specifically boils down to what New York and Illinois call Zero Emissions Credits (ZECs), which are similar in ways to Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), which are approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). These credits, similar to ZECs are sold to FERC, and electric companies buy them to encourage them to provide electricity with as few GGEs as possible.

However, ZECs are treated as separate from the power the plants generate, in that these SECs are sold to the state regulatory agency at a certain price, and then electric companies in the state are then supposed to buy a proportional number of ZECs according to its percentage of sales statewide.

Federal law refers to the power itself being sold in a marketplace as having federal oversight – but there is nothing in the act regarding energy credits that are sold within a state albeit through a marketplace.

The nuclear industry wants federal law to dictate these credits and wants the state regulations to be voided based on Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Are energy credits, not the energy itself, subject to federal oversight when they aren’t power and they are bought and sold in a state marketplace like what New York and Illinois have set up? These are going to be the bellwethers for future policies that maybe proposed in other states, so the results of these lawsuits could have large implications in the alt-energy movement.

 

What Is The Average Credit Card Debt

Credit cards are one of those items that have made buying very easy for people. However, after people have bought the items they will find they still have to make the payments on the cards. They tend to have a deferred type of payment in mind and this means they are going to pay it off over time. This is a good idea as long as people are able to pay off the cards, but typically people will keep buying more items on with the credit cards. This only leads to increasing the credit card debt they have to carry.

Now, what people need to realize is doing this is going to increase their debt to income ratio. This means that people are going to lose more of their buying power over time. If they are carrying the balance from month to month and not making the payments in a timely manner they will end up getting the balance of the card even higher. This will, in turn, push the payments higher on people and over time lead to them accruing even more debt than what they could ever handle.

When people are looking at credit card debt, they will find that they are going to have some. However, if they are looking at the average credit card debt for the American households they will notice it has a tendency to be around the sixteen thousand dollar mark. This is quite a bit of debt and definitely something that people need to be aware of. It could easily cost them more money than what they imagined. Since it takes so long to pay off people who got a credit card in their twenties could still be paying off the outstanding balance when they are in their thirties or even forties.

Credit cards are one of those things that people need to be aware of. However, what people need to realize is the credit card debt is something that can cost people quite a bit of money. This is when people should know more about what the average credit card debt is and how they can handle this debt. By knowing about the cost of this debt it will be very easy for people to see if the debt is going to cost them quite a bit or if they are carrying as much as the average individual.

Why Are Their Campaign Finance Laws?

Special thanks to Rick Navarette for helping us write this article. You can see his website here: https://nstexaslaw.com/

In 1971, The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) was passed, a statute that governs political campaign, spending and fundraising for federal elections whether it be for House, Senate or President. With this statute came the creation of the FEC (Federal Election Commission). Originally the act was established to aid in the disclosure of contributions for federal campaigns and has been amended 7 times.

History of this bill originates from Theodore Roosevelts urge for campaign finance reform as early as 1910. There was a huge push to regulate corporate as well as union spending on campaigns for federal office and an urgency to report how much money was donated. In the Acts first iteration in 1971, donations made to a federal campaign were considered a tax right off leading to a ton of financial abuse. This prompted the first amendment in 1974 which established a limit to how much money individuals, political parties and PACs could donate.

But why do these laws exist? To put it simply – no one should be able to buy being President. Also, no one should have the powers to manipulate a political candidate by having donated the most money to their campaign. Believe it or not, campaign finance fraud occurs all the time. In 2014, Dinesh D’Souza donated tens of thousands of dollars to a US Senate campaign for New York’s Wendy Long which is well above the $5,000 individual limit. How did he do this? He donated money giving money to other people and then having them donate on his behalf.

With the 2016 presidential election being the most expensive in history, the FEC will have their job cut out for them when it comes to the mid-term elections this fall and the presidential 2020 election. We will see if there is any more campaign fraud or just Russian collusion.

How Much Can You Expect To Receive From Workers Compensation

If you have been involved in an accident at your work or sustained an injury or you have a work-related illness or disease, you are allowed to claim for “worker’s compensation” benefits. With most nuances, your loss of wages should typically be around 66.667% of your weekly average wage. For example, if you earn $900 a week, your wage-loss benefits would be around $600 a week.

However, there are a variety of nuances involved. There are minimums, flat payments, and maximums. In addition, the extent of your injuries is taken into account as well as your abilities to work play a significant role in deciding on how much you can make from your worker’s compensation payout. The laws associated with workers compensation are confusing and complicated. For this reason, it’s a good idea to hire an experienced lawyer who specializes in work injuries and medical malpractice.

How Much Can You Expect From Your Wage Loss Benefits?

Your wage-loss benefits are associated with 2 factors. These include your standard weekly wages, and the 2nd has to do with the extent associated with your inabilities to work.

When You Are 100% Disabled

If you are not able to work at all, then the according to the Workers’ Compensation Act, your workers’ compensation payout should be based on what your normal weekly wage is, up to a specific maximum and subjected to a specific minimum. The maximum is associated with a DLI (Department of Labor and Industry) calculation, according to the “state-wide average weekly wage.”

For the injuries that occurred in 2017, maximum wage-loss benefits were calculated at $995. The exact benefit will be based on either a flat-amount or a % of your personal income. Below is a breakdown of the benefits:

• If you earn under $552.77, then you will receive 90% of the weekly wage that you earn.

• If you earn between $552.78 and $746.25, your benefit is set at a flat-amount of $497.50

• If you earn over $746.26 a week, your benefit is calculated at 66.667% of the weekly wage that you earn but will not exceed $995.00.

When You Are Partially Disabled

When you are partially disabled, which means you are “not totally unable to work.” This is something a doctor will need to determine and can also depend on whether your employer has made work available to you within restrictions set by a doctor. An example of this may include when your doctor has certified that you are 30% disabled and has cleared you for “light duty” you become entitled to “partial” wage-loss benefits.

The partial disability benefits for wage loss are also based on your normal weekly wage. The wage-loss benefits are calculated at 66.667% associated with the difference between the normal wage that you earn and what you will be earning while you are on light-duty. For example, if your normal wage is $800 a week, and you are now only making $600 a week while working on “light duty”, you become eligible for the 66.667% wage-loss benefit of the $200 difference. This means your benefit would be $133.33 a week.

Sports Gambling: Are the Odds in the States’ Favor?

In 2017, New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie brought a case to the Supreme Court. The state of New Jersey was claiming that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) violates the state’s 10th amendment rights. In May of 2018, the SCOTUS held a vote regarding the 25-year old act. The Supreme Court came to a 6-3 decision in favor of New Jersey. In other words, the Supreme Court ruled to reverse PASPA and allow states to regulate legal sports gambling independently.

When WIll This Law Take Effect?

The law is effective immediately. If states were prepared for this ruling, they can begin accepting wagers on professional and amateur sports as soon as the sports books are ready to open their doors. In New Jersey, the state that brought the lawsuit, Monmouth Park officials say they will be ready to accept sports bets within two weeks of the ruling. Another state that will be opening sports betting windows sooner rather than later in Delaware. The state passed the proper legislation in place prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling.

New Jersey and Delaware are not the only states that are looking to capitalize on the revenue that sports gambling can generate. West Virginia and Mississippi are two other states that already had legislation in place. The two central states appear to be the next up when it comes to opening up the doors to sports gambling. Within the next 90 days, states like New York, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island plan on passing legislation that legalized sports gambling.  

Currently, about 20 states are in the process of legislation. The ruling is taking the nation by storm, but some states have already closed their 2018 legislation windows. This means that any drafted bills will have to wait until 2019 to be voted on. Experts are predicting that 32 states will have legalized sports gambling within the next five years.

How Do I Place Bets?

Most states are encouraging mobile and online gambling in the legislation that is being passed. For now, you will be required to place bets in person, the traditional way. DraftKings and FanDuel both released statements regarding their positions. Both companies are working to offer in-app sports gambling as soon as it is legal in your respective state.

How Big is the Sports Gambling Industry?

Sports gambling industry is a multibillion-dollar industry. It is difficult to put a number on it because Nevada is the only states which have had legal betting in the past. Experts estimate that the legal and illegal gambling industry falls between the range of $50 – $150 billion dollars.

In terms of numbers we know for sure, reports from UNLV’s Center for Gaming Research state that legal sports gambling in Nevada neared $5 billion last year. Football was the most popular sport among bettors at both the professional and college level, generating $1.76 billion for the industry.

Top Performing Stocks of Q1

After each quarter, companies that are publicly traded are required to release information regarding their performance. At the end of quarter one of 2018, there were standout performers in each sector of the market. Some of these stocks you will be familiar with (Netflix), others, not so much (Bolf Holding). Take a look at the list of the top performing stocks, you might want to jump on some while you still can.

Top Performers of Q1

Healthcare: TG Therapeutics (TGTX)

TG Therapeutics had an impressive start to 2018. The company’s stock price rose 76%. What do they do? TGTX is responsible for developing treatments for blood cancer and autoimmune diseases. Investors think that there is still room to grow with this stock despite an explosive quarter.

Tech: Twilio (TWLO)

Tilio Inc. is a communications platform based out of California. Toward the midway point of last year, they saw an explosion in stock price as it rose from $15 to $71. The company then offered 7 million additional shares, regulating the price at $23. Experts believe that even after an impressive quarter, Twilio is still labeled as a “strong buy.”

Financials: Bolf Holding (BOFI)

The last five years have been quite the journey for the founders of Bolf Holdings. the company has seen returns of 344% since going public. Even with those returns, Bolf was a leader through quarter one as shares climbed 35%. According to the experts, there is still time to buy on this stocks as they predict potential earnings of just under 10%.

Consumer: Fossil Group Inc. (FOSL)

Consumer brand Fossil performed well in the first quarter of this year increasing almost 67%. The experts do not think that this is sustainable making it a bad investment. Instead, they suggest Lam Research (LRCX). The memory chip company is exploding right now and has a 32% upside.

Service: Netflix Inc. (NFLX)

Netflix had an excellent start to 2018. Investors have seen a 56% increase in the stock’s value. The company’s worth is reaching new heights as they have been valued at $130 billion, just under Disney’s $150 million. Netflix is predicted to continue growing. That being said, you can expect the same for the stock.

 

Automakers With The Lowest Recall Rates

Recalls usually happen early after a vehicle has been released into the consumer population. They occur when a manufacturer defect could cause injury or death, and there are a growing number of recalls each year–even as the laws become more and more strict. If you’re considering a new vehicle, then you’re probably curious as to which automakers have the lowest recall rates, and maybe what the average rate looks like at a glance.

The industry average for recalls falls at 1,115 for every 1,000 vehicles. In other words, if you purchase a vehicle, that vehicle is likely to be recalled at least once. Some vehicles have recall rates high enough that your vehicle could be recalled twice!

A recent study of eighteen different automakers indicates that vehicles manufactured by Porsche have the lowest recall rates. If you own one, then there’s about a fifty-fifty shot your vehicle will be recalled. Mercedes-Benz ranks number two, with a recall rate of about 624 for every 1,000 vehicles. Kia is number three with 788 recalls for every 1,000 vehicles.

The next entries on the list all get closer to the industry average. Tesla has a rate of 936, Mazda has a rate of 955, and General Motors has a rate of 958.

Vehicles manufactured by Nissan experience a moderate number of recalls. 1,038 of 1,000 vehicles will result in a recall. Automakers with the highest number of recalls include Honda with 1,307, Chrysler with 1,422, and Volkswagen with a whopping 1,805.

This list proves that the more expensive vehicles are also less prone to defect, and therefore have the lowest recall rates. Unfortunately, most people can’t afford them! Don’t let that dissuade you from purchasing a new vehicle, though. Most vehicles are recalled because of relatively minor defects that won’t affect your ability to drive. Even so, be on the lookout for recalls that may affect you.

Tips For Flipping A House

It takes a lot of time and energy in order to make money flipping houses, and it’s certainly not for the faint of heart. Don’t just jump into anything right away; do your research. Education increases your chances of success tenfold, but what do you need to know first? These are some basic tips for flipping a house.

Before you begin, you should speak with a financial advisor about potential lenders. If your credit score isn’t high enough, you’ll never even make it to the first step.

First and foremost, determine location. Will you be flipping houses where you live, or will you be able to travel while you take on these projects? Regional economies can fluctuate and are difficult to track, but that’s what you’ll need to do in order to make this work for you. Research buying and selling prices in various markets, and determine the kind of profit margin you’d like. Will you buy an expensive home in a big market for a big profit, or would you prefer to start small?

The value of the home is important. Unless you’re an expert salesperson, you’ll want to start with something well below market value and work your way up until you find your sweet spot. Can you talk the talk?

The best flippers know how to fix something up fast without spending a fortune. Part of that formula is determined by construction. If you need to tear down walls and fix foundations in order to make it look presentable, you’ve got the wrong house. Think about cosmetic changes over structural changes. Don’t purchase houses that are riddled with mold or infestations. That’s money down the drain, and there’s no guarantee the problem won’t return a week or two later. If you don’t have any experience with design, now’s the time to research what people look for and how to give it to them.                                                         

Before deciding on the best house to flip, do a personal appraisal. Get yourself a blacklight, and walk through the home in order to find as many potential problems as you can. Finding them now will spare you innumerable headaches later.

Top 5 Embezzlement Cases in U.S. History

If you have an employer and at some point in your golden career “misplace” or “reallocate” funds that wind up in a bank account with your name on it, then congratulations: you’re guilty of embezzlement! Most companies constantly audit the books, so it’s not exactly easy to get away with the crime of embezzlement. Naturally, this hasn’t stopped anyone from trying. Here are five of the most notorious embezzlement cases in U.S. history!

  1. If you don’t get along with your family, then you’re not alone. Dane Cook is right there with you. In 2010, his half-brother was found guilty of embezzling millions of dollars. The guy didn’t really do much to cover his tracks–he forged Cook’s signature after making a check out to himself for three million bucks! The half-brother was sentenced for up to six years in prison.
  2. If you plan to steal, at least try not to steal from girl scouts. Life on earth reached a new low point when in 2011 Christa Utt was charged with embezzling thousands from the organization. Utt was a troop leader, but that didn’t stop her from committing the crime. Sadly, she wasn’t the first one to try. In 2009, Janet Daily and Laura Farrell stole over $20,000 in separate cases.
  3. Remember the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme in 2008? He stole from investors, and paid them back–or didn’t–with the money gained from newer investors (which is how a typical Ponzi scheme works). As a result, some people lost their life savings and associated stocks plummeted. The missing funds amounted to at least a whopping $18 billion. Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison. He’s famous, so he’ll probably get out.
  4. If you have a gambling problem, it doesn’t matter how rich you are. Ausaf Umar Siddiqui came up with an embezzlement scheme to pay off gambling debts, but ended up sentenced to six years in prison instead. He had previously established a fake company in order to funnel monies that ran over $80 million from Fry’s Electronics, where he worked as vice president of operations and merchandising.
  5. Kenneth Lay died before a judge could sentence him up to 45 years in prison. He was the CEO of Enron and embezzled nearly $11 billion from his shareholders. Enron went on to file for bankruptcy.

Best Selling Cars of 2017

What Were the Top Selling Cars of 2017?

Toyota SUVWhat was the best selling car of 2017? Halfway through December 2017, the Motley Fool began research for a post that would take the guesswork out of it for us. The blog compiled a list of the top five selling cars of 2017. The list only included cars and SUVs, the Motley Fool people thought it would be best to leave pickup trucks out of it because they are commonly used as fleet vehicles, which inflates there sales. As of November 2017, there were no America made vehicles in the top five as Toyota, Nissan, and Honda once again dominated car sales in America.

Top Five Best Sales

  1. Honda CR-V – 340,912, Up 6.7%

The CR-V has been one of Honda’s most reliable vehicles in terms of sales. In 2017, the CR-V reached around four million sales since its conception. The SUV features a trustee all-wheel drive system that makes it a great choice for every season.

  1. Toyota Camry – 343,750, Down 3.2%

The Toyota Camry’s sales saw a decline in 2017 by 3.2%, but that wasn’t enough to keep the perennial top performer out of the top five. The Camry was America’s second favorite Toyota in 2017, ending its 15 year streak as number one. The Toyota Camry is available in a brand new 8-speed transmission, giving the car more power than ever before.

  1. Honda Civic – 345,880, Up 3.1%

In 2017, Honda rejuvenated one of its oldest models, the Honda Civic. The 2017 Civic was available in the original sedan version, as well as brand new coupe and hatchback versions. Additionally, the Civic could be purchased in a variety of performance models like Si or Type R. The Civic beat out its counterpart, the Honda Accord, by about 15% this past year.

  1. Nissan Rogue – 363,293, Up 25.5%

The Nissan Rogue is quickly becoming one of the most popular cars in the United States. The sales of the Rogue have increased over 25% from 2016. Although, this large increase in sales was not solely due to consumers like you and me. The Rogue saw an increase in sales to rental agencies and fleet buyers, like businesses and government agencies.

  1. Toyota Rav 4 – 375,052, Up 19.1%

The Toyota Rav 4 has officially taken down the Toyota Camry as Toyota’s Number one seller in the United States. Rav 4 finished the year strong with two straight months of top sales performances. In November alone, the Rav 4 was sold 28,700 times.