Nomad Recreation https://nomadrecreation.com Your Adventure Starts Here Thu, 22 Nov 2018 21:06:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0 How Amazon Is Ripping Off Taxpayers https://nomadrecreation.com/how-amazon-is-ripping-off-taxpayers/ Wed, 19 Sep 2018 15:37:46 +0000 http://nomadrecreation.com/?p=22 More]]> The United States Postal Service (USPS) is the agency in the American government responsible for delivering mail to its citizens. This independent agency has maintained a rather robust financial outlook throughout the years. Up until 2006, the organization was entirely debt free and even managed to generate a surplus $6 billion dollars between 2001 and 2006.

Things could not have been running any more smoothly.

A Government Agency Actually Doing Well? Hah, Not On My Watch

In 2006, an agency formed by Congress called the Postal Regulatory Commission passed a mandate requiring the postal service to pre-pay more than 50 years worth of retiree health benefits. They also had to front-load the fund over the next decade with more than $50 billion.

This asinine business model, which is hilariously not used in any other part of the very same government that imposed it, massively burdened the organization. Most companies employ a “pay-as-you-go” model meaning the funds are drawn on an on-demand basis. This allows them to use any available cash for the purposes of growth and expansion.

Ever since this 2006 mandate, the USPS has posted massive annual losses.

Why This Is Bad For Taxpayers

President Donald Trump claims that companies like Amazon and UPS are ripping off the postal service. While it is true that the American taxpayer is subsidizing delivery costs for companies like Amazon, it is actually the USPS that demanded this situation, not Amazon.

You see, the postal service is required to service most residential addresses in the country. Whether you’re in the middle of the desert or in the mountains of Montana, you are guaranteed to receive mail. As it turns out, guaranteeing mail to every doorstep in the country isn’t very practical. It’s actually so prohibitively expensive that no other mail courier does it.

With that in mind, consider the following:

  1. USPS is required by law to provide an uneconomical and unsustainable service
  2. USPS is hemorrhaging money and needs all the business it can get

The USPS did the only thing they could do and rented out their last mile delivery service. They are required to do that route, right? Why not deliver some UPS or FedEx packages along the way? Both the postal service and the private companies benefit from the relationship. The real blame rests with the government for creating this Frankenstein entity in the first place.

The End Is Near

It’s not unusual for government services to lose money. Look at something like public transportation: the goal isn’t to turn a profit. It’s to better the country and provide citizens with an affordable way of transportation. It makes sense to have some economically unsustainable components to your operations if you’re funded by taxpayers and exist solely to serve the greater good.

The problem with this approach is that the USPS is not taxpayer funded. Even though they are allowed to borrow money from the treasury (which is why taxpayers will ultimately foot the bill if the debt isn’t repaid), the agency is almost entirely self-funded. Just like a private company, their earnings come from competing in the private sector and offering mailing services.

Why Immediate Action Is Necessary

The postal service is seemingly locked into a downward spiral with little hope for resolve. Congress has no apparent interest in reforming current laws and the postal service can’t move forward otherwise. Meanwhile, the organization continues to lose their competitive edge in the private sector as they increase postage rates, decrease service, and reduce their workforce in a capacity which is not consistent with market trends in the shipping industry.

This poses a problem because competing countries like China do not neglect their national postal service. In fact, the Chinese government subsidizes shipping costs which helps to keep exports high and bolster their economy. With such massive neglect taking place in the United States, American exporters are unable to remain competitive in the global market and are forced to move their operations to more accommodating countries instead.

China has responded to this by welcoming American exporters with open arms. Many notable American retailers are now warehousing and shipping their orders directly from China. While this is great for the bottom line of American retailers, the end result is that the money is now removed from the American economy. To make matters even worse, inventory warehoused overseas is not subject to the same import tariffs. It’s a lose-lose for the US government.

Whats Next

Postal officials have remained optimistic about the future of the USPS assuming the 2006 mandate is eventually reformed. It remains unclear how much longer the stalemate will continue; however, each passing day only makes it more certain that the debt will never be repaid. Hopefully the big-wigs in Congress can pull it together and rescue this otherwise commendable agency.

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How Night Vision Actually Works https://nomadrecreation.com/how-night-vision-actually-works/ Wed, 19 Sep 2018 15:35:20 +0000 http://nomadrecreation.com/?p=7 More]]> If you’re anything like me, the concept of night vision has been nothing short of mystifying. It harks back to the cartoonish childhood fantasies of being an invisible superhero that can see through walls. Having regrettably advanced to adulthood, I’ve managed to gather up a fair bit of knowledge on the subject which can help explain how this incredible technology actually works.

Before we dive in, it’s important to understand that night vision’s technical definition is simply the ability to see in low-light conditions. This definition is vague enough where virtually anything can be considered night vision. Something as simple as turning up the brightness in a photo editing program could be “night vision”. Lame, right? Lets move on.

Night vision is accomplished using three different techniques: infrared illumination, thermal imaging, and digital manipulation.

Infrared illumination is a remarkably simple and economical solution to the problem of seeing in the dark. These devices work by using an infrared bulb to emit infrared light which is then reflected back onto a sensor. This sensor then constructs a usable image which can be viewed through a tiny screen. Most organisms on this planet, including humans, are not able to see infrared light (except for some frogs and snakes) which is why this method is so effective. In this picture below, you can see the infrared illuminator mounted on the bottom of the device.

Another way to accomplish night vision is through the process of thermal imaging. Using an extremely sensitive instrument called a bolometer, thermal optics actually use the differences in heat signatures to construct a visualization of their surroundings. Thermal imaging is unique in that it does not depend on reflected light to work. This is why thermal optics have much higher contrast than infrared optics. The downside to thermal imaging is that it’s prohibitively expensive (about 20x more expensive than infrared illumination).

The third form of night vision is an interesting one. It’s equivalent to importing a picture into Adobe Photoshop and turning up the brightness. This process, known as digital manipulation, does not actually illuminate anything and only makes minor adjustments to basic image properties (like brightness or contrast). While it may sound like an underwhelming way to get the job done, it actually works pretty well. Digital manipulation will never be useful in a pitch black environment but it can absolutely help enhance the little light that is available.

Here is a fun fact: virtually all infrared and thermal optics both incorporate digital manipulation to some degree. The important distinction is that it’s not the only thing they use.

 

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Who Should Pay For Healthcare? https://nomadrecreation.com/who-should-pay-for-healthcare/ Wed, 19 Sep 2018 15:06:41 +0000 http://nomadrecreation.com/?p=16 More]]> A single payer healthcare system is perhaps one of the most heated topics of debate in the United States. Statistically, we spend more money per person on healthcare than nations WITH single payer healthcare system. In other words, we pay more money for less accessibility.

Now, the kneejerk reaction most folks (and left leaning people) have to this is “Wow, that’s outrageous! We need to just have a single government funded healthcare system! We can all have the healthcare we deserve in a first world country!”

Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple. Approaching the issue from a matter of principle, many people would simply rather pay for their own healthcare instead of paying into an umbrella system. Why you might ask? Well, not everyone trusts the government’s ability to manage their tax revenue.

Also, not everyone finds it fair to have to pay for other people’s health problems.

Joseph abused drugs and alcohol all his life. His organs are failing and needs to be placed on life support. Should Raymond, an individual who took the time to practice personal responsibility, have to burden the cost? Of course not.

Henry enjoys street racing. He gets into a bad accident and requires extensive surgery and rehabilitation. Should Marie, a law abiding individual who decided to not voluntarily participate in a dangerous activity, have to burden the cost?

It’s a matter of principle and personal responsibility.

While this argument makes perfect sense on paper, there is a small problem. The healthcare system in the United States is tangled up in various regulations that prevent a free market for healthcare services.

Without a free market, insurance companies and healthcare service providers are left to negotiate pricing behind closed doors – without any input from the public. Obviously, this results in the outrageous pricing you see today which makes a “pay for your own healthcare” approach difficult.

So – why don’t we have just have a free market for healthcare services? Well, like I said, a combination of government regulation and big money interest from the insurance companies has created an impenetrable fortress – so to speak – which results in the system we have today.

Here at Western Blog Daily, we are obviously in favor of a libertarian approach when it comes to healthcare. What I find particularly funny is that the left views us as some sort of evil demon that wants everyone to die. What they do not realize is that many of us would love a functioning single payer system. We would love to live in a utopia where the government responsibility allocates tax dollars and uses it in a fashion which actually benefits its citizens. The difference in thought stems from the fact that we sincerely believe it is not possible for them to do this. History has shown us repeatedly that our government is not capable of executing these programs without completely messing it up. Compound that with all the corruption and self-interest and you will see why libertarians are libertarians.

It’s not possible. We wish it was – but it isn’t.

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The Sad State Of Affairs In The Media https://nomadrecreation.com/the-sad-state-of-affairs-in-the-media/ Wed, 19 Sep 2018 15:06:06 +0000 http://nomadrecreation.com/?p=13 More]]> A common trend in media is to sensationalize controversial topics for additional views. Duh. I think we all know by this point what “clickbait” means. The issue with this approach is that the truth can often times become diluted to the point where neither party remembers what they were even arguing about.

One of the biggest offenders is the dreaded abortion debate. In the media, it is often touted that conservatives are bible thumping devils looking to control women’s bodies. Conservatives want to ban abortions because they are pro-life and believe they should be able to control whether or not a woman can abort their child, right?

Sure, some people believe this, but trust me when I say this isn’t what drives the political movement. If you haven’t figured out how the real world works yet, I’ll fill you in: no one cares whether or not you have an abortion. No one cares what you do with your life.

So why are conservatives seemingly so against abortions?

The root of the issue, which liberal media so conveniently fails to address, is a combination of money and social responsibility. Conservatives aren’t against groups like Planned Parenthood because God told them abortions are bad – they are against them because they believe it isn’t an issue worthy of federal funding. It’s as simple as that.

Conservatives don’t want to pay for it – and this is a perfectly valid reason. Now, whether or not this approach is practical in a modern society is a different argument – but the fact remains that this is a completely appropriate reason to be against the federal funding of Planned ParenthoodInstead of foolishly having unprotected sex, perhaps use birth control techniques.

Now, this doesn’t account for the various caveats such as rape, but this is more or less the root of the argument. If you made a mistake, we don’t want to have to pay for it. It’s quite simple and even draws many parallels with the concept of free universal healthcare.

So the next time you read a sensitive issue, don’t be so quick to believe what you read. The truth usually makes a little more sense than you might anticipate – and this is true for both sides- not just liberal media. It’s 2016 – the bible doesn’t control politicians. Money does. And if you’re asking us to pay for your personal mistakes, then you better believe there will be some resistance.

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Why Lowering Corporate Tax Is Good For America https://nomadrecreation.com/why-lowering-corporate-tax-is-good-for-america/ Wed, 19 Sep 2018 15:03:52 +0000 http://nomadrecreation.com/?p=10 More]]> To the uninformed citizen, the notion of lowering corporate tax sounds absurd. Companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Cisco rake in billions of dollars in profit every year. Why in God’s name would you lower their tax rate? We should increase it!

The important thing to understand here is despite these impressive earnings and despite the current tax rate, these companies aren’t paying taxes on the vast majority of those earnings. The reason being is that tax law enables them to hoard this extra income overseas and avoid paying taxes on them.

Do you see the problem? Increasing the corporate tax rate would not do anything except encourage even more companies to abuse this same loophole. It doesn’t matter if the corporate tax rate is 40%, 50%, or even 60% because these companies are simply going to continue stockpiling funds outside the United States.

So as counter-intuitive it may sound, lowering the corporate tax rate will incentivize these corporations to repatriate these funds (bring it back to the US). By bringing it back to the United States, the corporations can use the money for whatever purpose they see fit. The point is that it’s back in our country and isn’t being used to strengthen other countries.

The example above is one of many which highlight exactly how the United States weakens itself when it comes to the global economy. Instead of allowing countries like Ireland to capitalize on these regulations, Donald Trump would prefer that the United States capitalizes on it instead.

Yes, the corporate tax rate is lower, but it doesn’t matter – because the current tax rate isn’t being applied at all. By lowering the corporate tax rate, the US government ends up receiving more tax revenue while also strengthening its own economy. Two birds with one stone.

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