How Immigration Affects the U.S. Economy – 11 Myths to Dispel


 
Immigration has long been a controversial subject for Americans, despite the country’s reputation as the world’s melting pot. In times of economic uncertainty, emotions run especially high, and partisans on both sides of the political divide use immigration controversy for their own gain.
 
Knowing what’s fact and what’s fiction is particularly tricky in the unregulated, anonymous world of social media. In order to separate the truth from our fears, it’s important to know the facts behind the issues. Here’s how immigration affects several aspects of the U.S. economy.

Immigration Myths

According to the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), there are approximately 45 million immigrants in the United States today, making up about 13.5% of the population. Immigrant children born in the country almost double the figures to 87 million and 27%, respectively. Over 80% of immigrants have lived in the country for more than five years, and almost one in three owns a home.
 
Yet while immigrants are a part of our neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces, misconceptions about them abound. Here are some of the most common.

Myth #1: Most Immigrants Come From Latin America

Many Americans believe that immigrants predominately come from Latin America by sneaking over the border. While Latin Americans accounted for 37.2% of immigrants in 2016, the composition of immigrants has changed significantly in the past half-century. In 1960, the largest immigrant groups were from Italy, Germany, the U.K., and Canada, according to the MPI. European countries accounted for almost one-half (48.5%) of the total, and the Soviet Union (7.1%) had a higher share than Mexico (5.9%).
 
In 2016, most immigrants came from Mexico (26.5%), India (5.6%), and China (4.9%). Mexico and Central American countries, including Cuba, accounted for the largest proportion of legal and illegal immigrants, but not the majority. Asia represented slightly more than 20%, with the rest of the world comprising 42.5%.

Myth #2: Most Immigrants Are Illegal

Some Americans believe most foreigners are in the United States illegally. That is not true. Illegal immigrants account for about 24.5% of the immigrant population but a meager 3.4% of the U.S. population in total, according to Pew Research.

Myth #3: Immigrants Are Unskilled & Uneducated

Some Americans assume immigrants are uneducated, unskilled, low-wage workers. However, the MPI found that one-half of immigrants have a high school diploma or higher education. Two-thirds of immigrants over the age of 16 are employed, with almost a third (31.6%) in management, business, science, and the arts, compared to 38.8% of native-born citizens.
 
It’s true that a higher proportion of immigrants (24.1%) are engaged in low-wage service jobs than native-born citizens (16.8%). However, the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute, citing statistics from the U.S. Office of Homeland Security and others, states that immigrants are “generally much better educated than U.S.-born Americans are … [and] 62 percent more likely than U.S.-born natives to have graduated college.”
 
Foreigners who work in the United States with H-1B visas have bachelor’s degrees or higher and work in specialized fields such as IT, engineering, mathematics, and science. President Trump and others have complained that H-1B visa holders compete with Americans for high-paying jobs. However, the visa program was created to allow companies to hire foreign workers to work for three years or more in specialty occupations for which there are not enough skilled Americans to fill the positions.
 
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Understanding Block Chain Technology – How It Will Change the Future


In November 2008, an anonymous author using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto issued the white paper “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System,” which outlined “a system for electronic transactions without relying on trust.” This system, known as blockchain, became the basis for the world’s first widely accepted cryptocurrency, bitcoin. It’s also a foundational technology that has the possibility to impact society as dramatically as the invention of the Internet itself.
 
Don Tapscott, author of “Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin is Changing Money, Business, and the World,” claimed in an interview with McKinsey & Company that blockchain is “an immutable, unhackable distributed database… a platform for truth… a platform for trust.” An unapologetic, enthusiastic supporter of blockchain, he adds, “I’ve never seen a technology that I thought had a greater potential for humanity.”
 
Is the hype around blockchain justified? Let’s take a look.

The Dangers of Digital Transactions

Mutual trust is the basis for business transactions. Yet as society has grown more complex, our ability to trust another party — especially if they’re unknown and halfway around the world — has decreased. As a result, organizations develop elaborate systems of policies, procedures, and processes to overcome the natural distrust arising from the uncertainties of distance, anonymity, human error, and intentional fraud.
 
At the heart of this distrust is the possibility of a “double spend,” or one party using the same asset twice, particularly when the assets being exchanged are digital. When exchanging physical assets, the transaction can only occur at one time in one place (unless forgery is involved). In contrast, a digital transaction is not a physical transfer of data, but the copying of data from one party to another. If there are two digital copies of something for which there should be only one, problems arise. For example, only one deed of the ownership of a house should be applicable at a time; if there are two seemingly identical copies, two or more parties could claim ownership of the same asset.
 
Unfortunately, the systems and intermediaries required to ensure, document, and record business transactions have not kept pace with the technological changes of a digital world, according to Harvard Business Review.
 
Consider a typical stock transaction. While the trade — one party agreeing to buy and another party agreeing to sell — can be executed in microseconds, often without human input, the actual transfer of ownership (the settlement process) can take up to a week to complete. Since a buyer can’t easily or quickly verify that a seller has the securities the buyer has purchased, nor can a seller be confident that a buyer has the funds to pay for that purchase, third-party intermediaries are required as guarantors to ensure that each party to a trade performs as contracted. Unfortunately, these intermediaries often add another layer of complexity, increase costs, and extend the time it takes to complete the transaction.
 
Our existing systems are also vulnerable to intentional attempts to steal data and the assets they represent. International Data Corporation reports that businesses spent more than $73 billion for cybersecurity in 2016 and are projected to exceed $100 billion by 2020. These numbers don’t include security expenses for non-businesses or governments, the cost of wasted time and duplicated efforts due to data breaches, or the expense of any remedies to those affected.
 
Blockchain technology presents a remedy for these issues that could significantly alter the way we do business in the future.

How Blockchain Technology Works

Understanding blockchain requires an understanding of “ledgers” and how they’re used. A ledger is a database that contains a list of all completed and cleared transactions involving a particular cryptocurrency, as well as the current balance of each account that holds that cryptocurrency. Unlike accounting systems that initially record transactions in a journal and then post them to individual accounts in the ledger, blockchain requires validation of each transaction before entering it into the ledger. This validation ensures that each transaction meets the defined protocols.
 
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Fake News

8 Ways to Determine If a News Story Is Reliable

Fake News

During a 2017 interview on the Christian Trinity Broadcasting Network, President Donald Trump claimed his use of the word “fake” to describe the media was “one of the greatest of all terms [he’d] come up with.”

While he was mistaken about his creation of the phrase “fake news,” Trump’s frequent use of the epithet to describe news media has no doubt popularized the label — and may have even led to the phrase’s inclusion in the Dictionary.com database.

It may seem at times like fake news is an epidemic unique to our current political climate, but it’s actually been around for centuries. Let’s take a closer look at what it is, how it spreads, and what you can do to detect it.

What Is Fake News?

As its name suggests, fake news is false or counterfeit information reported in a newspaper, news periodical, or newscast.

Fake news differs from satire, farce, or hyperbole in that it’s a deliberate attempt to spread misinformation and manipulate public opinion for political, financial, or social gain. Inaccurate content is packaged to appear as fact, thus duping the audience into believing it’s true.

A story doesn’t have to be totally made-up to mislead; it’s enough to present subtle misrepresentations, critical omissions, or out-of-context information. Examples of recent misleading or false information include claims that:

  • President Barak Obama was born outside the U.S.
  • Senator Ted Cruz was bribed to pass legislation that put America’s public lands in the hands of the Koch brothers for mining and other business pursuits.
  • The Affordable Care Act established a “death panel” to determine healthcare benefits for the sick and elderly.
  • Pope Francis endorsed Donald Trump for President. (A later report revealed that the Pope supported Hillary Clinton.)
  • Millions of illegal voters voted in the 2016 presidential election.

All of the above have been labeled false by fact-checking organizations like PolitiFact, FactCheck, OpenSecrets, and Snopes, yet there are still those who believe these stories to be true.

Why does fake news spread so rapidly? As Craig Silverman of Neiman Reports writes in the Columbia Journalism Review: “[T]he forces of untruth have more money, more people, and… much better expertise. They know how to birth and spread a lie better than we know how to debunk one. They are more creative about it, and, by the very nature of what they’re doing, they aren’t constrained by ethics or professional standards. Advantage, liars.”

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“I have to tell you, it’s an unbelievably complex subject . . . No one knew that healthcare could be so complicated,” explained President Donald Trump to Republican governors attending the 2017 National Governors Winter Conference. Many consider the President’s comment the understatement of the year due to the uneven, often unintentional evolution of health care in America.
 
While there are still things you can do personally to reduce the cost of healthcare, the latest political effort to fix one of the more inefficient and most expensive health care systems in the industrialized world. After promising for seven years and voting more than fifty times in the last four years to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Republican majority in the House of Representatives could not agree on a replacement plan. As a consequence, the ACA – with all of its strengths and weaknesses – will continue.
 
If you’re wondering how we got here, you’re in the right place. In the following sections, we’ll cover the history of healthcare in the U.S., previous reform efforts, common debates, future solutions, and more.

Our Existing Health Care System

Today, the country spends $3 trillion annually on healthcare or $9,523 per person. According to consulting firm Deloitte, America spends more per capita on healthcare than any other country in the world – more than 2.5 times than the U.K., 1.8 times the rate of Germany, and 1.6 times the amount Canada spends.
 
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