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Radio America News

Subsidy Showdown Threatens Obamacare:

Conflicting federal appeals court decisions might soon bring Obamacare back to the Supreme Court, this time to determine whether patients can receive subsidies through the federal health exchange even though the Affordable Care Act says they are only permitted through state-run exchanges. On Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 that the law repeatedly refers to subsidies being available only through state exchanges and, therefore, the law must be interpreted that way. However, the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that subsidies could come through either the federal or state exchanges. However, the D.C court is more prominent, and observers say its verdict carries considerable weight. This is a hugely important decision. The government has now lost a case that really addresses the heart and soul of what this law is supposed to do, said Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute. The law specifically says, at least seven times, that the subsidies are only allowed through an exchange established by a state. It was part of Congress' coercion to try to get the states to set up their own exchanges, she said. The states basically called their bluff and said, 'Nope, we're not doing this.' So when the law says seven times that tax credits for health insurance can only be distributed through an exchange created by a state, the court said, 'The law must mean what it says and we're going to rule that way.' Congratulations to them for upholding the rule of law. The administration is appealing the decision of the three-judge panel to the full D.C. Circuit, which includes seven Democratic appointees and four selections by GOP presidents. According to Turner, precedent suggests the full, or en banc, court will not be interested in second-guessing three of their colleagues, but she says there is a tinge of politics on the bench that did not exist until recently. The judges really respect each other. They don't want to overrule one another, although the Obama administration has been stacking this court with several new appointees. They very likely would have the votes to overrule the three-judge panel, but it would look very, very political and would likely discredit future decisions, said Turner, who says it is vital for one full appeals court to rule in line with the three judges. It is consequential, because in order for this to go to the Supreme Court, you would then have to have different rulings in the different appeals courts. There are four similar cases going through the courts. So you'd have to have another court decide the same as the D.C. Circuit Court panel has today for the Supreme Court to heart it. If there are no conflicts in the appeals courts' decisions, then the Supreme Court would less likely take it up, said Turner. Tuesday's decision in the D.C. Circuit does not force an end to subsidies through the federal exchange while the appeals process plays out. But if the decision is ultimately upheld, the implications are huge. About 4.5 million people, who are getting subsidies through the federal exchanges, are not getting them legally. Eighty-seven percent of the people signing up for health insurance in the exchanges are getting subsidies, some of them significant subsidies of $12,000-14,000. Those are not legal in the healthcare.gov website, said Turner. If the Supreme Court were to declare subsidies obtained through the federal exchange illegal, Turner says it would give great incentive for lawmakers to take a smarter approach to health care reform. Congress would then have to go back to the drawing board. I think people that opposed this law all along would actually have more bargaining power now to be able to move to a place where we can actually get subsidies that are structured the right way, not this mother may I, 159 new government rules and commissions that are basically running our health sector, said Turner. She says urgent action would be need to help people trapped in a system where they had to buy health insurance but could not get any help in paying a much higher than expected price tag. They're not going to leave the millions of people who've been thrown out of their coverage out in the cold. They're going to try to figure out how to come up with a better solution, but one that gives people and doctors choices, not government bureaucrats and politicians, said Turner.

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Obamacare Takes a Hit:

In an unexpected blow to Obamacare, a federal appeals court has ruled against the federal health care exchange, HealthCare.gov, saying it may be violating the mandates of the Affordable Care Act. In essence, the court 19s decision attacks the Obama administration for creating a nation-wide system for delivering health care subsidies when the law, known commonly as Obamacare, only allows for subsidies to be distributed in state-based health care marketplaces. Fox News contributor and author Dr. Ben Carson said that he isn 19t surprised by the court 19s decision. This is completely what I've expected, and there will be more revelations as time goes on, he says. Carson went on to say that he feels this is emblematic of the administration 19s desire to simply take control of the situation and do what they want. The Obama administration has been, along with the Internal Revenue Service, saying they could do almost anything they wanted. It states very specifically in the law, the ACA, that subsidies were going to come through the state exchanges. And many of the states decided that they were not going to set up these exchanges. The administration decided to give them subsidies anyway. Well, it doesn't say that. That's not part of the law, says Carson. Though the decision is almost guaranteed to face an appeal by the administration, it 19s reach is quite expansive. 36 states haven 19t yet set up state-based health care marketplaces. That means Obamacare enrollees in those 36 states may have received subsidies illegally. Though the court 19s decision is considered a blow against Obamacare, the likelihood of it having any power to fully derail Obamacare is slim.

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The End of Christianity in Iraq?:

The rise of a self-proclaimed Islamic caliphate in parts of Syria and Iraq is already responsible for the eradication of Christianity in the historic city of Mosul, and this could be the first step towards much greater persecution in the weeks and months to come. Even before the rise of ISIS, Christianity was greatly endangered in Iraq. Open Doors USA listed it as the fourth worst persecutor of Christians in the world earlier in the year. Iraq was already a very dangerous place for Christians because of the weakness of the central government and their inability of unwillingness to protect Christian churches and Christians who wanted to choose for themselves what their religious beliefs worse, said Open Doors USA President and CEO Dr. David Curry, who says the latest developments in Iraq are making things exponentially worse. On July 19, ISIS announced every Christian in Mosul had a choice by noon Saturday to convert to Islam, pay a financially crippling tax or leave with no possessions but the clothes on their backs. Since June 10, when ISIS came in and took over...it's been incredibly difficult. Over 3,000 families, just from Mosul, are homeless, are on the run and have had to leave everything and it's really unprecedented in this modern age to have a group call out this kind of segregation of a religious minority and force them out of their homes with impunity. No western government seems to be standing up or protecting these folks, said Curry. Not surprisingly, the persecution is leading to a significant humanitarian crisis. Those that have the resources are heading out of the country entirely. Most of them, of course, don't have the resources to get on a plane and fly out so they're heading north into the Kurdistan regions, where there is more security, said Curry. Open Doors USA is racing to meet the physical needs of those heading for an uncertain destination. Open Doors has set up response to help the refugees. We've got a project that is giving them food, water, tents, whatever we can do to help them stabilize in their homeless condition and try to acclimate them back into society if possible, said Curry. Curry says those who choose to turn a blind eye to the treatment of Christians in Iraq are making a horrific mistake. I think people underestimate how fast this kind of persecution spreads and to our detriment. This sort of persecution in the Middle East could certainly spread to other religious groups, like Jewish minorities, certainly Buddhist minorities. When we let this kind of aggression stand, I think it's a very bad sign for the rest of civilization, said Curry. I think you could see problems in Jordan. I think you could see problems in parts of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. There's still key parts of Iraq. It certainly is a major shift in the Middle East. I think it could get worse, he said. That's why Curry says western nations need at least to publicly condemn ISIS for this persecution. Government need to stand up and send clear messages of support to the Christian minorities, to do what they can to put diplomatic pressure on these groups and to make this very difficult to happen anywhere else and to hopefully turn the tide in the coming weeks, said Curry. The upheaval of the past 11 years is taking a severe toll on the Christian population in Iraq. Curry says there were a million believers in Iraq in 2003. Now he says some estimates are as low as 300,000.

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Should a Young Person Rent or Buy?:

By Ryan Brown The 2008 housing crash is still having a huge effect. During the recession, Americans lost more than a quarter of their net worth. Housing prices dropped 20% and total home equity in the United States dropped $4.2 trillion. All told, losses during the recession totaled $8.3 trillion. But some of the losses appear to extend beyond mere dollar value and penetrate Americans 19 psyche. In 2011, 53 out of every thousand eligible young adult renters became a homeowner. That 19s 38% lower than the pre-recession 85 per thousand, recorded in 2001. It shouldn 19t be a surprise, then, that so many young people pause when confronted with the question of whether they should rent or buy. Among an age group where only 43% respond that they are 1cvery satisfied 1d with their current job, researching the question to buy or to rent is a tough situation. That situation isn 19t made any easier when a lot of experts agree that the best answer is, 1cit depends. 1d Rick Harris is regional vice president for the National Association of Realtors and the owner and broker of Coldwell Banker Pro West Real Estate in Ashland, Oregon. He agrees that it does depend, but adds that there are a few criteria by which young people can base their decisions. 1cIt depends on some things that you can point out. It depends on a person 19s financial situation and what their goals are. It depends on what kind of credit they have. It depends on where they live, what the market is like where they live, how long they plan to stay there, and really how flexible they want their lifestyle to be, 1d says Harris. If a young person can 19t give good answers to those questions, Harris says the best thing to do is wait and keep renting. That, in itself, he says, may have some added benefits. 1cRenting gives you great flexibility. You can move for jobs more easily and you can live where you want to. Unless you have a lease you can be out of a rental and move to a different place relatively quickly. Up front it costs less to get into a rental investment and you can call the landlord if the roof leaks. If the paint needs to be redone a landlord will often do that, or if there are plumbing repairs they 19ll often deal with that, 1d he says. But when a young person is ready to sacrifice some of the flexibility of renting and buy a house, Harris recommends they remember one important fact from the recent housing crisis. 1cUnderstand that real estate is a long-term, not a short-term investment. In the bubble, a lot of people were doing what was essentially day trading in houses. They would buy houses before they were built and flip them. It worked like the stock market works, but the same thing that can happen in the stock market happened in the housing market 14the bubble popped, 1d he says. As with any complicated issue, however, even when someone is ready to own a home after answering some of the important questions in home-buying, those questions open the door for even more questions. In renting and buying, many of those new questions focus on real estate 19s biggest issue, location, location, location. Jed Kolko is chief economist and vice president of analytics at Trulia, an online real estate site. He says where you plan on living might help you determine whether to rent or buy. 1cWhen we look across the country and compare a similar unit for rent and for sale, similar-sized units in the same neighborhood, it looks more than a third cheaper to buy than to rent. But that 19s only if you get today 19s low mortgage rates and if you stay put for seven years, 1d says Kolko. A closer look at the data shows that buying ranges from being just 5% cheaper per month than renting in Honolulu, Hawaii, to being 66% cheaper per month than renting in Detroit, Michigan. Kolko is quick to point out, though, that the length of time you plan on staying in an area is still the most important factor. 1cOne of the most important factors in deciding whether the math makes sense to buy or to rent is how long you 19re going to stay put in a place. People who aren 19t planning to stay put at least five or seven years, might be better off renting, 1d he says. For young people who plan to stay for seven or more years, have a great job, and want to settle down, though, there are still hurdles they may face, simply because they 19re young. 1cThere are a lot of obstacles right now for young people who might want to buy. The first of course is the down-payment. Qualifying for a mortgage is also a hurdle. And, as student debt is rising, debt might make it harder for some young people to qualify for a mortgage, 1d says Kolko. To make sure that young people do all the necessary research and get all their facts straight, Kolko recommends they use a rent versus buy calculator to really make sure that the details all point in the direction of renting or buying. 1cA rent versus buy calculator lets you compare for any two units whether buying or renting is going to be the better deal. The calculator lets you put in what your tax bracket is, how long you 19re going to stay in the home, and your location, to get a very personalized calculation of whether it 19s going to be cheaper to rent or to buy, 1d he says. But using a rent versus buy calculator can leave some questions unanswered. Jared Gerlach is a software developer in Provo, Utah. He says that even after a lot of research, owning his first house came with some surprises. 1cBefore I bought a house, I didn 19t realize all the different things that I would need to do. I have to worry about paying utilities and the mortgage on time, watering the lawn, taking out the trash 14stuff like that, 1d says Gerlach. Though the decision to rent or buy might seem to be subjective, by using rent versus buy calculators, taking into account the flexibility of their lifestyle, and looking at location, young people can navigate this difficult decision.

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What Congress Can Do About the Border:

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Arizona) says congressional Republicans are ready to start acting in response to what they consider to be President Obama's refusal to honor the rule of law and defend our nation's borders. Gosar says the upcoming actions include tightening funding to the relevant federal agencies accused of not doing their jobs, enforcing strict constraints on who is allowed to stay in this country after coming illegally and bypassing the president to work with states to restore security to the southern border. The first tool the GOP plans to employ is the power of the purse, which does not require approval from the Senate or the president. September is the largest spending month in federal workforce calendars. So why don't we re-prioritize these aspects within the IRS, which has hardly been a stalwart aspect of upholding the Constitution? How about the Department of Justice? How about the executive branch? I think all these can suffer a little bit in regards to bringing that money forward so that the American taxpayer doesn't have to be impugned by additional finances, said Gosar. On Wednesday the House voted to reduce IRS funding in Fiscal 2015 by $566 million below current spending levels. The congressman says the exact strategy on reducing funds is not fully worked out, but he says GOP members are definitely in agreement on the general idea. I think there's a lot of consensus that there's opportunity here to look within the current budget and making sure that the president is brought before the Constitution so that he upholds the Constitution, said Gosar. A 2008 immigration law is causing frustration for some border security advocates since it mandates due process for children crossing the border rather than simply turning them around and sending them home. However, Gosar says the law also puts clear limits on who can stay here in those circumstances. (We need to be) streamlining the process, holding the administration accountable with respect to the 2008 law. they'd have to show that they were part of sex trafficking. That's the only detail that most people are not talking about. It's not just anybody from a contiguous state, it's those that are involved in sex trafficking (who can stay). Hardly every single individual that's been transported is involved in sex trafficking, he said. Gosar admits that demanding Obama enforce the law only goes so far. However, if he refuses to do his job, the congressman says Congress can go over his head and coordinate with border state governors who do take national security seriously. It's time that we start to work with the states, like Texas. Gov. (Rick) Perry has shown that he's ready to move. I think the governor of Arizona (Jan Brewer) would be another good place given her stalwart actions in regards to defense of the border. I think California will also join along. New Mexico, I think, would also because a plurality in New Mexico want border security enforced, said Gosar, who elaborated on the steps Congress can encourage the states to take. The first thing that states have is the National Guard. They have the power of their purse in regards to initiating that response to the border as well as police enforcement. So I think the first aspect is a show of force to make sure the rule of law is actually supported, said Gosar. Two other legislative efforts are underway, but neither will have the support of Rep. Gosar. Earlier this week, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) introduced a bill mandating much faster processing of the tens of thousands illegally crossing the border. Their plan would require each case to be heard within seven days of each person clearing HHS inspection and a decision on whether a person can stay in the U.S. to be rendered within three days of the hearing. Gosar says this plan isn't terrible but is completely unnecessary. The president already has in his arsenal the ability to accomplish exactly those things: to speed up the opportunity, executively change the process. He has the ability to do that right now, he said. The congressman also has little use for Obama's request for $3.7 billion in emergency spending. He says Obama is jamming unrelated spending priorities into this bill and it won;t really solve the problems. I think throwing money like he's asking for at this problem without having a stalwart plan...is not a good plan at all, said Gosar. Gosar says Obama owns this problem because of his unilateral implementation of several DREAM Act provisions in 2012 and for championing the Senate bill which provides for instant legalization for the vast majorityof those in the country illegally. He also says the rule of law is breaking down because the president refuses to enforce what's on the books and his constituents are noticing. We have a lot of people very upset. They range from folks that are on the liberal side to the conservative side, saying this is out of hand. This is a humanitarian crisis but also a crisis on the sovereignty of this country, said Gosar. The president contends the problem lies at the feet of congressional Republicans, who refuse to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation. However, Gosar says the voters are not fooled and the failure to resolve this crisis soon will backfire on Obama and his party. I'd hate to be a Democrat come November, he said.

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Does a $10.10 minimum wage give Americans a raise, or leave them the bill?:

By Jack Howard President Obama supports a $10.10 minimum wage. He said in his State of the Union Address that it will put more money in consumers 19 pockets and help families. 28 1cGive America a raise! 1d he said. But some say a higher minimum wage will cause businesses to hire fewer young people who work low-skilled jobs, leading to higher unemployment. Obama cited the example of a pizzeria in Minneapolis as proof that businesses can thrive if wages increase. President Obama says that move eased workers 19 worries about money and boosted morale. And a higher minimum wage would do the same across the country. Cato Institute 19s policy analyst Jeff Miron disagrees. 28 1cI mean, if that were true, that employers weren 19t going to respond at all to a higher minimum wage, then maybe we should mandate it to be fifteen dollars an hour or five hundred dollars an hour, said Miron. Instead, Miron, who is also a Harvard professor, says employers would just replace minimum wage workers. He says he experienced this fifteen years ago when he was lost in a parking garage in France where the minimum wage is much higher than it is in the US. He couldn 19t find a parking attendant to pay because the position had been replaced by a machine. 1cA higher minimum wage had given people a much higher incentive to invest in machinery that would accept those tickets. That was a clear example where the mix of machinery relative to people was different in two different places because one had a much higher minimum wage than the other, he said. The Congressional Budget Office estimates a $10.10 minimum wage would cost five-hundred thousand jobs. Center for American Progress expert Sarah Ayres says their research is off. 1cThe best empirical research that has been conducted over the last few decades has not found that. It 19s overwhelmingly found that raising the minimum wage does not cost jobs. And does help millions of people and provide an immediate boost to the economy by putting more money into peoples 19 pockets, she said. She says a higher minimum wage doesn 19t necessarily mean fewer minimum wage workers. Ayres says fast food workers shouldn 19t be worried about layoffs after a minimum wage raise. 1cThis is true not just generally but they also don 19t create job losses among teenagers or among restaurant worker, said Ayres. In 1992, Ayres says a natural minimum wage experiment happened. New Jersey raised its minimum wage, and neighboring Pennsylvania didn 19t. She says researchers David Card and Alan Krueger found no difference in fast food employment. Heritage Institute economist James Sherk says it 19s not so black and white. He says a higher minimum wage is OK for a place with a higher cost of living for everyone. 1cCalifornia is free to raise the minimum wage as much as they want. I would think that would not be the best economic policy. But it 19s going to be less harmful for California than it would be if you force that same pay increase on West Virginia, said Sherk. In addition, a California business would also raise prices 13 making the cost of living even higher. 1cThe typical restaurant has a profit margin of 2 or 3 percent. They can 19t simply absorb that a 20, 25 increase in the cost of their labor. The only way they can cover that is by raising their prices. And who are the people affected by that? Their customers, he said. Continuing with the restaurant example, Sherk says prices would rise 10 percent. He says that rise is a large price to pay for a reduced number of minimum wage workers to get a raise. And he says the cost of living for the rest of us would rise. Ayres rejects that conclusion. She says the rest of us would also get a raise. 1cSo what we found is that raising the minimum wage leads to spillover effect for workers who are making above the minimum wage. Those workers will also benefit in the way of higher wages, she said. As lawmakers decide whether a minimum wage increase amounts to a living wage or places an artificial value on labor, all of us will soon learn whether we all benefit or the rest of us end up with the bill.

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Where Is Congress on Border Crisis?:

Congressional Republicans are slow to denounce President Obama's lawless actions and doing even less in response, according to Center for Immigration Studies Legal Analyst John Feere. As the latest crisis on our southern border swells, many Republicans accuse Obama of inviting people to come to the U.S. illegally through his unilateral implementation of much of the DREAM Act in 2012 and by endorsing instant legalization through the Senate immigration bill. But while the criticism of Obama has been prevalent, what they're doing about it appears less clear. Unfortunately, Congress has been largely absent. The truth is, it shouldn't have gotten to the point it's at now, said Feere, alleging weak GOP reaction to Obama's de facto legalization efforts in 2012. As soon as President Obama did that, Congress should have immediately reacted and demanded that he stop that lawless program. I mean, the American people have said no to the DREAM Act through their elected representatives numerous times. That wasn't good enough for the president. He unilaterally decreed it into law through this deferred action, but Congress was largely silent, said Feere. And Feere says that response simply continued an existing pattern. Years prior, Congress was largely silent when President Obama narrowed the scope through what we generally refer to as the Morton memos, which are a series of memos that limited immigration enforcement to the worst of the worst: the murderers, the rapists, the people who are involved in violent crimes. Certainly it makes sense to go after those people first, but the way those memos operate is to give a pass to virtually everyone who isn't engaged in the violent crime who's here illegally, she said. So what should Congressional Republicans be doing right now? Feere offered multiple suggestions. I think what they should be demanding is that the president cease all public discussions about amnesty and the legalization of illegal immigrants and demand that he instead send a message to people around the globe who are thinking of coming here illegally, that the U.S. is going to defend its sovereignty. We're not going to welcome those who seek to violate it, said Feere. He also says Congress needs to push back hard against Obama's suggestion that if lawmakers don't pass his version of immigration reform he will simply legalize lawbreakers through executive orders. That type of commentary only encourages more people to come into the United States illegally. I think that Congress really needs to demand that the president get a little more serious about the rule of law, said Feere. The one legislative initiative before Congress is the $3.7 billion in emergency appropriations the Obama administration says it needs to bring more judges to the border and expedite the deportation process. Feere does not believe that's the top priority for this president. I think people need to be very cautious about the language some of these journalists are using about how this funding is going to be used to speed up the deportation of those here illegally. That's not quite the case. It may speed up the processing of illegal immigrants, but it doesn't necessarily mean they're going to be returned home, said Feere. As a result, he says passing the spending bill in it's current form would only make the problem worse. Not very much of it's going to be going towards actual enforcement measures. If we should expect the funding to be spent that way, then we should also expect more illegal immigration because people are going to be hearing that the United States is bending over backwards to process anyone who comes to the border. Until people overseas see their neighbors and their family members returned home, the flow of illegal immigrants is going to continue, said Feere. Feere says the only reason for Congress to support such a bill is if it were allocated to unequivocally beef up border security and trigger a serious enforcement of existing immigration laws.

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Is the Ivy League Really Worth It?:

College tuition and debt are rising. The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that in the 2013 academic year, the average sticker price for a college education rose to $8,893, a $247 increase from 2012. Additionally, the Institute for College Access and Success reported that the average college student graduating with a bachelor 19s degree in 2012 had a student loan debt over $29,000 1465 percent of an average graduate 19s starting salary. With rising debt numbers, a lot of students are wondering if an education at a top-tier university is really worth the extra debt load. Anthony LeCounte is a 2011 graduate of Yale College who tells a different story about his Ivy League education. LeCounte graduated with hopes of following the path of his father, a career soldier, and landing a job in the defense sector. In a blog for the Huffington Post, LeCounte says it's hard to find a job due to increasing cuts in defense spending. Instead, he pursued a series of internships and temporary positions. Not only does he not have a full-time job, but because he had to take out loans to pay for his Yale education, LeCounte also has a lot of debt hanging over his head. He deferred payment of those loans due to unemployment. It 19s clear from the title of his blog post, 1cTurns out my Ivy League education is worth squat, 1d how LeCounte feels about his time in expensive education. Delece Smith-Barrow, an education reporter for U.S. News and World Report covering graduate schools, says an expensive education may still be a wise choice. 1cIt 19s better if you have an idea of what you want to do 14the career you want to go into 14to look at that first, and see which school can offer you what you need, she said. She says that certain schools have specializations, and believes that should mean more to a prospective student than a specific ranking. 1cEvery school is different, and typically every school specializes in certain career paths. If you want to go to law school and specialize in health care law, whether it 19s an Ivy League institution or a state school, the offerings at the school can really vary, she said. Specializations aside, however, the fact remains that it seems like many who attend a private, expensive university end up being better off. Kendell Christensen, a 2013 University of Pennsylvania alum, who 19s now working for corporate training startup Self Spark, said that in a perfect world this wouldn 19t be the case. 1cThe information you need to be competent is out there. If it 19s all about what you can deliver, what your skills are, what knowledge you have 14if it were only about that, I would say stay away from the Ivy League. It is hugely, ridiculously, almost embarrassingly over-priced, said Christensen. He notes, though, that the opportunities that can come with a well-known university can often be worth it. 1cIt 19s not just about competency. We live in an era of snap-judgments. People take ten seconds to look at your resume. I kid you not when I hand out my resume the first thing they say is 18Oh, the University of Pennsylvania!', he said. This doesn 19t mean that you should drop whatever you 19re doing and apply to an Ivy League school, however. Reyna Gobel, author of CliffsNotes: Graduation Debt and a Forbes contributing writer, cautions against going after a degree just because of the institution 19s name. 1cYou shouldn 19t get a car that you 19re not really going to drive and that isn 19t going to get you to work on time. You should get a car that is practical and reliable and is worth what you 19re spending, she said. Gobel warns that, besides the name, students need to look at their future career goals and match that with what they 19re paying for school. 1cIf the school is 40,000 a year, you better get a pretty nice job when you get out that 19s going to allow you to pay for that, she said. So how can you determine if the money you 19re putting in is really worth it? That 19s where something called an ROI, an abbreviation for Return on Investment, can come into play. Allie Bidwell, another education reporter for U.S. News and World Report, says that looking at the ROI for a school is a vital step in researching a college education. 1cTypically return on investment looks at the costs that students are paying for their college education versus how much they 19re making in their jobs after they graduate. It focuses on whether they end up making a profit, coming flat, or losing on their investment, she said. So what 19s the school out there with the best ROI? If you thought Harvard you 19d be wrong. The best return on investment actually comes from Harvey Mudd College, a private science college in Claremont, California. Tuition at Harvey Mudd will run you a four-year cost of $229,500, but the return on that investment is huge. You 19ll ultimately make out with $980,900. And what 19s the worst? Valley Forge Christian College. Four years will cost you over $114,000, and the thirty-year ROI is $-178,000. At the end of the day, however, a degree is really what you make of it and students should not hesitate to ask questions as they decide which school to attend. 1cCall up the places you want to work for and ask them, 18Will this make a difference if I have a degree from X school? 19 Schools can tell you whatever they want, they 19re still salespeople. But the place where you want to get employed, those are the people that you should care about, says Gobel. As more and more families see college expenses continuing to rise, determining whether the cost of higher education is worth it will become even more important.

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How To Stay Safe From Identity Theft At Hospitals, Online Quizzes and Job Interviews:

By Jack Howard In 132 days, you may realize your identity was stolen. Eighteen- to twenty-four-year-olds take that long on average to realize they've been targeted. By contrast, their parents figure it out within 50 days, according to a Javelin Strategy and Research report. Consumer advocate Adam Levin says it's no surprise under 30-somethings account for the most identity theft complaints too. Almost 60,000 cases of stolen personal information were reported to the Federal Trade Commission from that demographic last year. After all, young peoples' personal info is all over the place - from social media to even online quizzes. For instance, BuzzFeed responses could unlock a bank account's security question. Levin says it's not safe to reveal even your favorite color or cat's name. It's almost like components of a nuclear weapon, he said. In and of themselves, many of the components are completely harmless. But when assembled, all together, they're lethal. Levin says online activity is one reason why identity theft has become inevitable. I believe breaches are rapidly becoming the third certainty in life behind death and taxes, said Levin. On average, identity theft costs individuals almost $5,000 to restore their credit rating and peace of mind. Businesses lost an estimated $5.6 million as a result of fraud. And, approximately 13 million Americans were impacted last year. Free credit score reports give a heads-up your identity has been stolen. Then the real work starts, says identity theft lawyer Hugo Blankingship. So you still have to go through the process. You have to write the dispute letters. You have to send them out. You have to wait for the response to come back. And then you need to send them another dispute letter with even more information and documentation. And wait for that response to come back. And once all of that has happened, then you can hire a lawyer. And the lawyer will get your problem solved, he said. In short, getting back the identity you lost online requires snail mail, says Blankingship. And some patience. The first step is reporting the theft to the police. Their report becomes evidence for credit agencies. Levin says these credit agencies and some bank and employer programs can help. He says identity theft is becoming harder to clean-up by yourself. So many forms of identity theft have become so much more sophisticated than ever before, that it's really beyond the ken of most people to understand what's happening to know what you need to do to get yourself out of the mess, he said. Identity theft can happen when you're at the hospital too. Last year, 43 percent of all reported incidents happened there, according to an Identity Theft Resource Center report. Don't give out your Social Security number until you know you can trust a new hospital. Same goes for a job interview. Levin says an employer shouldn't require your social until you're hired. This may sound overcautious. Worrying about taking online quizzes and giving out your Social Security number all the time isn't a fun way to live your life. A start-up called Distil Networks is working to protect your data. Director of Engineering John Bullard says bots can steal personal data from websites by pretending to be you. It can do anything you can do logging into a website. It can log into your bank account and download all of your transaction history for the last two to three years so they can really simulate who you are based on your buying history, he said. Distil works with businesses to make data safer. They differentiate bad bots like the recent Heartbleed Virus from good bots like Google. Bots are programs that repeat different tasks using code, or instructions. Last year, Distil found 2.2 billion bad bots. By cutting out the bot vector, and all of these easy-to-use automated tools, we make websites much safer, Bullard said. Bullard says Distil is in a good position as the internet becomes more open to protect those users. In the end, consumer advocate Adam Levin says you still have to be careful how you share any personal info. He says identity thieves' day job is to disrupt yours.

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