big-finance

anonymous asked:

Since I want to be a game designer in the future, I've been debating whether or not I should aim for a college like digipen. The tuition is expensive and I would have to move states in order to attend. Is there a difference between going to a school that offers a game design degree in my state, or going to a school like digipen or fullsail that specializes in it?

Ok, so… game schools. This can be a bit of a tricky subject. First, I suggest you read this old post I wrote [on game schools from some time ago]. Then, let’s discuss the finances, because that’s kind of a big deal.

Financing school is probably one of the most important decisions of your life, because most school loans are permanently stuck to you until you pay them off. As far as I know, they are the only kind of loan that can’t be discharged via bankruptcy. They will affect your credit, which will affect your ability to buy a car, a house, apartment approval, and even job prospects. And, as you said, tuition can get super expensive. The federal government hands out student loans, but does not directly fund tuition for any individual university (though they do pay for university research, which isn’t quite the same thing). So here’s a quick primer on how school tuition works.

Private Schools

Private schools do not receive funds from the government for education, and are entirely funded by private sources (usually tuition and donations). These include for-profit schools like Digipen and Full Sail, as well as established private universities like Stanford, Harvard, and Notre Dame. It does not matter to a private school where you are from; the cost is the same. Digipen charges around $30,000 per year in tuition and fees for a four-year Game Design degree. Full Sail charges around $32,000 per year for a 2.5 year Game Design degree. For comparison’s sake, USC has a pretty good game design track and charges ~$50,000 a year.

Public Schools

Public schools receive government funds from the state to help defray the costs of tuition. If you are a legal resident of the state, you are entitled to the subsidized tuition costs. This can be a substantial amount of money - I went to a public university in California that is currently charging ~$14,000 a year for in-state students and ~$40,000 a year for out-of-state students. The university in the city I’m in right now (top in the state) charges ~$10,000 per year for in-state and ~$35,000 per year for out-of-state. So… keep this in mind - in-state public school is often far cheaper than a trade school.

Post-Graduation - Getting a Job

There is another piece to this puzzle, of course - you need to get a job after you finish school. Most for-profit schools have placement rates - the percentage of graduates who go on to find work in the field. [According to Full Sail], about 38% of their Game Design bachelors’ students go on to get a game designer job, while 70% of their Master’s graduates find jobs. [Digipen has a much higher placement rate of 80%] for game design bachelor’s degrees. Placement rates are harder to find for major universities like USC or MIT. 

If you come out of Digipen with $120,000 in debt with a 5.0% interest [Perkins student loan], you’ll have to pay $644 per month for 30 years. For a [6.8% interest Stafford student loan], that number jumps to $782 per month. If you want to be a game designer, you should also consider your earning power - the median salary for an entry level game designer is not very high. Most junior designers only earn from $35,000 to $50,000 per year. If you live in California and start at $50,000, you’ll take home about $3100 a month after taxes. If you pay $1500 monthly for rent, food, and utilities (super cheap for California) and $782 per month for your student loans, that leaves you with $818 a month for everything else - entertainment, household needs, medical expenses, gas, car payment, insurance, etc. In comparison, $40,000 debt from a strong in-state university is much more manageable at $262 per month in student loan repayment (though still for 30 years).

Further Reading:


Got a burning question you want answered?

2017 OLICITY HIATUS PROJECT: Dare to Defy. Dare to Dream

In 2016, the CW and Arrow invited us to “Dare to Defy” – Defy history, gravity, expectations and explanation; defy being bored, ignored, and defined by others. “This is our moment,“ the CW said. Our choice.

In the past, my hiatus projects have focused our energy and attention on Oliver and Felicity. We’ve spent every hiatus promoting CW/Arrow/Olicity and what we love. This hiatus, I’m asking you to take all that creativity, passion, and love and promote YOU. I’m asking you to focus all that Love into yourself.

I am challenging you, Olicity lovers, to defy.

I’m challenging you to Dream.


We all have dreams. Those things we tell ourselves we’ll do "tomorrow” or “someday.” Some of our dreams are small (that stolen 30 minutes in a bubble bath with a glass or wine and that book we keep meaning to read, a new hairstyle, wardrobe, or that new restaurant we’ll go to with friends we haven’t seen in forever to catch up). Some of our dreams are bigger (a new job, going back to college, running a marathon, writing a book, turning a hobby into a business, changing jobs). Heck, our dreams might be a solitary Saturday with a long nap and some gardening time or finally telling a time/energy-hog in our life, “No. I don’t want to do that.”

Whatever those dreams (be they something physical or emotional)… if you dream about it, it counts for this project. Dreams have no limits here, and they don’t require money to do either.

NEED MORE INSPIRATION? How about that museum or zoo you keep promising you’ll take the kids to because you have such great memories there as a kid? Or maybe it’s a hobby/craft or other class/workshop you keep saying you’ll sign up for. Maybe you have a room you want to give a makeover, a To Read/To Watch book or movie list you never can find the time to actually get to; new recipes to try, a beauty box to sign up for, designated “Me Time,” a blog, or an impromptu road trip “just cause.”  Whatever it is, that’s what goes on your list because it’s important to you and this hiatus is about writing the story that is YOU.


Now clearly all dreams can’t be tackled “now.” Some are so big they take planning, financing, etc. Clearly I’m not advocating you quit your job tomorrow and become a goat herder by Tuesday. But in-between “Wishing” and “Doing” is a pesky thing called “Planning.” For dreams that fall in this category, consider research, goal-setting, and plan-making part of tackling your Dream list and figuring out how to shift those Some Day Dreams to Did It! Reality.  

Want to go back to college? Research schools to see what it will take to get that degree, research financial aid options, check with work to see what benefits they might offer to help you pursue that continuing education.  

Have a dream job you want? Start researching the market, update your resume, network with friends and other contacts to see if you can find opportunities.

Have a house project you want to do? Create a inspiration board (physical or cyber on a site like Pinterest) and start putting together the look you want, visiting paint stores for samples, window shopping for furniture and finishing, and planning a budget.

Shift your Dreams to Goals, set those, and start exploring. Break the barrier between Dreaming and Doing.


Worried your list might be too big or discouraging?  Write out only a few dreams and when you’re done with those? Add a few more. Find what encourages and inspires you the most and use that as your guide.

Do what you have to in order to make this project work for you and for it to be FUN.

REMEMBER: Above all else? Be kind and patient with yourself as you set off on this path or exploration. Play. Enjoy. Don’t worry about stumbles or fumbles. It’s not about perfection. It’s about reaching for your dreams with lots of fun, laughter, and love along the way.

Need support? Find a Dream Buddy who will encourage and inspire you as you return the favor.


THE SCHEDULE:

  • Week of June 4 – 11, 2017: Create your list of Dreams both big and small. You can share your Dreams List if you want. Have dreams that are private? Keep them private. That’s okay, too.
  • June 12 – October 1, 2017: Challenge yourself to tackle your list.  

As You Complete Each One:

  1. Cross completed Dreams off your list
  2. CELEBRATE and reward yourself for your achievement on your social media (write up a blog post, share a pic, give a shout-out in a Tweet, be as creative as you want) using the #OlicityDreamProject hashtag and keep going! Be proud of yourrself for pursuing your dreams.
  3. Finished your list early? That’s okay… Add more dreams and keep going!

WANT TO SHARE YOUR DREAM STORIES?  Feel free to drop them in my “Ask Box.”  If you’re OK with sharing that story on the blog, please say so in the message.  If you want it kept private and NOT shared, please say so in the message.  If you do not indicate a preference, I will assume you do not want it shared.

NEED A DREAM BUDDY? Give me a shout in the Ask Box or on Twitter (whichever you prefer for people to get a hold of you on) and I’ll do my best to keep an updated list on the blog so people can reach out and connect you directly.


P.S. Someone also asked recently if we’re doing the #OlicityTravels Funko Pop Project again, and we 100% are. It will start July 1st. So if you don’t have an Oliver & Felicity Funko Pop, be sure to track yours down and get them soon. I’ll have details on this closer to July.

thatmockingj  asked:

Thanks for posting those screenshots! Any idea what the name of the new pink-haired girl and the man in the blue suit are? :D

You’re welcome :)

The girl is Andrea Quint. A 20-year-old heiress whose parents died in an airplane crash. She inherited their enormous fortune at the age of 18 and is apparently very lonely. Probably one of the 7 millionaires?

The man is Zach Lier. 55-years-old. He’s chairman of a bank or some big company. Really into finance. He might also be one of the 7 millionaires.

Info translated from this article. 

anonymous asked:

I know it doesn't necessarily fit the guidelines of your blog but you put so much attention and care into the characters you write about I had to request this. If the Leaf Village was transported to modern day earth, what careers do you think each ninja would have (e.g. Sakura would obviously be a doctor)

Here comes a long one. I wanted to give you reasons for my decisions on what I think everyone would be in the Leaf if they were in a normal society and there were no ninjas. Typically, I only ask for no more than 2 characters per request, but request like these when they are general, its fine. But Headcannons requests only 2 characters at max, please. Thank you for this request! I had fun thinking through what these characters would be! ^.^ 

Characters in modern society (AU)

Team 7

Sakura: Doctor

  • I see Sakura as a doctor, not only because she’s already a medic ninja, but because she is intelligent, determined, and goal-oriented. She thrives hard to be accomplished and work hard in medical school.

Naruto: Motocross Rider/Mechanic

  • I know it might seem impractical, but I think Naruto would like to work with his hands instead of being in an office all day working on the computer. He would like the thrill of racing and have a hobby of fixing his bikes and learning the mechanics of other vehicles as well.

Sasuke: CEO

  • Sasuke would be a CEO of a for-profit organization and I know that’s a general position, but he would be working towards making sure the company is making money and making most of the decisions. I see Sasuke as a business leader, wanting to cut out the competition and being strict on company policies. The reason I think so is because he is articulate, knowledgeable, and driven.

Sai: Art Director

  • Sai in the modern world would be an Artist. He would have gotten his art degree and would have studied different types of art in his college days. He would work as a caricature artist before being hired for an animation studio where he works on a team. Eventually he makes it up the chain to becoming an Art Director.

Kakashi: Security Guard

  • Kakashi would be the one to join the force at a young age being a police office, but after 10 years on the job he found the position stressful. He would then look for a less risky job and become a security guard. He prefers working nightshifts because he hates waking up early in the morning; plus, it gives him plenty of time to read smutty books when he’s alone.

Yamato: Guidance Counselor

  • Yamato, I could see working as a guidance counselor for misguided youths in high school. Students would come to his office and he would hear them out and try to rationalize with them. He is tender-hearted, attentive[B1] , and has a good poker face which is why I think he would make a good Guidance Counselor.

Team 8

Kiba: Construction Worker

  • Kiba, like Naruto, likes to work with his hands. He can’t be sitting in an office all day.  He likes to be active and doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty. I could see him graduating high school and go straight into find a job. He wouldn’t attend college; he hates school. He would be a good fit as a construction worker. He would hang out at the bars, drink a beer, hang out with the guys, then go home to his dog, and just watch TV.

Shino: Accountant

  • Shino is someone I can see being very good with money. He has great attention to detail and understands financials inside and out. Shino is keen and I can see him at a desk helping his CFO and CEO make big investing and financing decisions on how to better run operations.

Hinata: Kindergarten Teacher

  • Hinata is kindhearted and I can see her being loved by her kids.  She would appreciate any gifts that were given to her by her class. She would find it bittersweet when her kids grew older and moved on, but she will always feel touched when her kids come back when they’re older to show their appreciation for her. Hinata enjoys the imagination and innocence of children and she enjoys teaching them and letting them express themselves.

Kurenai: Human Resource Manager

  • Kurenai is a little bit tricky, but she seems like the type that would be a manager. She likes to supervise and be a team leader. She also cares about her employee’s well-being and making sure their treated fairly, which is why I think she be a Human Resource Manager or Adviser. She always encourages employees to come to her if they’re experiencing any problems and will look into them.

Team 10

Shikamaru: IT Expert/Investor

  • Shikamaru would be someone who just understands how things work and probably be that IT guy you call when you can’t get your computer acting right. He got his degree in computer science and never really had to take notes. Everything just made sense to him. He would also be the type that would know what’s going on the market and knowing when to buy and sell his stock. He makes pretty good money off that.

Ino: EMT/Driver for Ambulances

  • Ino works in the medical field as well, but I see her as an EMT. She doesn’t have her doctorate and doesn’t really plan to get one. I feel she would be a good EMT, because she can think fast on her feet, she likes helping people, and she likes excitement. Ino finds the hospital too depressing so she rather be on the road helping those in urgent care.

Choji: Chef

  • So this might sound cliché, but I do think Choji has a passion for food and he loves the way you can mix ingredients together to get a great tasting meal. Choji is knowledge on foods that would complement each other and can deal with the fast pace environment of a high-end restaurant. He would pay great attention to way his food was presented as well.

Asuma: Boxer

  • Alright this might sound odd, but I could see Asuma as a professional boxer, especially in his early twenties. His whole life is filled with constant training. Once he won a few matches, in his mid-thirties he would retire and start training youths in boxing. Asuma would own his own boxing gym and keep up with his own skills.

Team Gai

Rock Lee: Olympic Athlete

  • Ever since he was little, Lee has seen others bring home the gold for their native countries and Lee can’t imagine a greater accomplishment than that. Lee wants to prove he is the best, not only for himself but to make his country proud and help inspire other little kids. He constantly pushes himself in training and he is strict to his training schedules.

Neji: Attorney

  • Neji is very clear headed and well-spoken. His speeches would be eloquent in court and be able to sway the judge and jury easily. He has no problem reviewing case studies and doing all necessary paperwork. He likes the structure and civil-ness of the courtroom.

Tenten: Event Planner

  • Tenten is upbeat, welcoming, and well-organized. She would make a great Event Planner as she plans everything from top to bottom. She delegates tasks, interacts with the clients, and monitors the whole process, making sure everything is confirmed for the event.

Gai: Personal Trainer

  • Gai is a health fitness nut. He would have made his own tedious workout videos and try to get them sold in stores. Gai works at the Gym as a check-in greeter, unless he has meetings with customers. He ends up driving some people crazy as he constantly pushes them a little too much. Many quit on him, but his positive energy and optimism creates a very lively gym and makes people feel empowered.
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A cult classic beloved by its legions of devoted fans (“Marshmallows”), Veronica Mars put a truly fresh spin on the TV mystery genre. The show was set in sunny, wealthy Neptune, California, where things weren’t so bright for teenage sleuth and social outcast Veronica (Kristen Bell) and her father, Keith Mars, a disgraced police chief now running a private detective agency with his talented daughter. Former young adult novel author Rob Thomas (Party Down, iZombie) created the show, a modern-day combination of equal parts noir and Nancy Drew, and it ran for three seasons on the UPN and then the CW. Here’s why Mars disappeared in 2007 (only to be resurrected in 2014 as a crowdfunded movie).

IT HAD LOW RATINGS

Originally posted by hanitjemars

TV networks are a business, and low-rated TV shows tend to be a poor investment. In its first season (2004-05), Veronica Mars ranked a dismal #148 out of 156 total shows. It ticked up a bit to #145 in its second season, and #138 in its third and final run. All the while, total viewership held steady at about 2.5 million viewers. (The only shows with fewer viewers that year were other CW shows—and they were all soon canceled, too.) Said CW entertainment president Dawn Ostroff at a TV industry event shortly after the cancellation: “We really tried every single year to bring in more viewers and we just weren’t able to crack it.” Maybe, but the network didn’t do Veronica Mars any favors by scheduling it against Fox’s American Idol at the peak of that show’s popularity.

IT WAS A UPN HOLDOVER

Originally posted by karamelka

In 2006, there were six broadcast networks: ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and the smaller, forever financially struggling “netlets” UPN and the WB. The two debuted in 1995 and both catered to younger, hipper audiences, which led to a cannibalization of viewers that left both networks losing money. The solution: They merged into a new network called the CW. Those initials stand for “CBS” and “Warner Bros.,” the same Warner Bros. that ran the WB. This really meant that the WB absorbed UPN, as more WB than UPN shows survived the marriage. Over time, more and more of the old UPN shows disappeared, particularly the expensive-to-produce scripted series. Among the first to go was Veronica Mars.

IT DIDN’T FIT WITH THE CW

Originally posted by agentsmars

Even though CW corporate sibling Warner Bros. Studios produced Veronica Mars, it was canceled because it couldn’t draw in new viewers. That’s because the CW was going after a couple of very specific audience niches, and Veronica Mars—a difficult-to-categorize show that was a little funny and a little dramatic—didn’t fit in. It wasn’t an African-American sitcom (like Girlfriends, The Game, and Everybody Hates Chris) and it wasn’t a teen soap (Smallville, One Tree Hill, Gilmore Girls).

IT WAS AHEAD OF ITS TIME

Originally posted by -veronicamars

Veronica Mars ran on broadcast TV just before the so-called “Second Golden Age of Television,” and before streaming services enabled the phenomenon of “binge watching.” Before shows like Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones were appreciated for intricate plotting that required a viewer to pay close attention and watch every episode in order for maximum understanding and enjoyment, TV shows that dared to be innovative, cinematic, and complicated were often critically acclaimed but commercially ignored. (Veronica Mars aired around the same time as Arrested Development, another show that pulled in a small but devoted audience of fans who appreciated precision.)

A PROPOSED REBOOT DIDN’T COME TO PASS

Originally posted by loislance

While Veronica Mars was still on the air, some CW executives asked Thomas to write a show about rookie cops. He countered with the idea of making the fourth season of Veronica Mars jump forward in time to show Veronica in her first year as an FBI agent, and they produced a pilot presentation (a mini-episode about 12 minutes long). While well-received by CW brass, the reboot/spinoff wasn’t meant to be—Thomas is pretty sure CBS president Les Moonves, who had a strong hand in programming decisions after CBS took co-ownership of the CW, personally nixed the idea of renewing the low-rated show with a new premise.

MOVING ON

Originally posted by veronicaneptunes

Probably seeing the writing on the wall, Veronica Mars creator and showrunner Rob Thomas had already secured his next gig by the time the series was wrapping up its third season. He was hired on as a writer and producer for ABC’s Miss Guided, a sitcom starring Judy Greer as a high school guidance counselor. Thomas was quickly promoted to showrunner and executive producer, but left the show after only a few weeks due to creative differences. Miss Guided was ultimately a midseason replacement that aired only seven episodes in the spring of 2008.

THE DEAD SHOW THAT LIVED AGAIN

Originally posted by sylviasatterthwaites

Veronica Mars’s hardcore fans couldn’t let go, and neither could the show’s talent. For years after the cancellation, Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell mentioned the possibility of a movie in interviews. It seemed like a longshot for a studio to finance a big-screen version of a show very few people watched, but then along came Kickstarter. In March 2013, Thomas launched a drive on the crowdfunding site to finance the movie directly from fans; within 30 days, the project had collected an astonishing $5.7 million. Thomas took a screenplay and his Kickstarter money to Warner Bros., and the studio kicked in a few more million to get the movie made. It was released to theaters and to video-on-demand platforms in March 2014.

* Rob Thomas meant reason number 6

Hey everyone who’s been talking about Hillary being the less of 2 evils. There’s another alternative and his name is Bernie Sanders. Sanders is a self proclaimed socialist who is one of the two independent senators in the nation. He’d be the first jewish president. His platform includes Raising minimum wage Equal pay for women Reversing climate change Helping workers Taking on Wall Street corruption Making College affordable for all Healthcare for all He has been fighting for lgbtqiap+ rights since the 90’s He was against the invasion of Iraq in 2002 He’s been a big supporter of campaign finance reform He’s committed to improving veterans healthcare and lives after coming home He’s written a bill to help HIV+ patients afford healthcare He’s voted to punish crimes in alternative rehabilitative ways He’s been an advocate for bettering public school education. He’s pro-gun control He’s just a good guy who will put the American people above profits. The issue is he’s not even close to as wealthy as Hillary so he hasn’t got a chance unless the people support him.

I'm not good.

I keep pretending I am but I’m not.
I’m sad. My ex constantly makes decisions that just make me want to cry. I mean it’s clear he just doesn’t care but I wish he did.
My job and career are a big cluster fuck.
My finances are fucked.
I’m gaining weight like no ones business.

I just wish one thing in my life was stable. I’m juggling so many things in the air and I don’t know how much longer I can keep this all up before everything comes crashing down on me.

Something Important

Decided to write you guys some fluff as an apology for my recent inactivity. I can’t promise I’m back on the horse just yet, but I’m getting there. Hard work and dedication, blah blah blah. Have Dan and Arin kissin’ in Oregon.

Keep reading

my first ever pot date

This was about a month ago. My first ever “meet and greet”. It was neither a success or a disaster.

Him: Big, “40″, separated, finance.

Place: Dinner at the Wolseley.

What I wore: White shirt with black jeans, black sandal heels, a clutch and old Hollywood style hair. 

First interaction: He recognised me, I didn’t recognise him. I had only seen 1 photo of him beforehand (I do not recommend doing this), and compared to his photo… I’ll just say it was a flattering photo: he was certainly more aged, paler and ganglier in person, but not exactly hideous. Greeted with a kiss on the cheek. 

The date and conversation: Great conversationalist, gentlemanly, and a great deal in common. He has a quiet, soft voice. At times it was difficult to hear what he was saying, but everything he said was interesting and I was taken aback by how much interest he took in my life. I didn’t feel uncomfortable until we were in the taxi to my tube station, and he switched on “the charm” and the conversation turned to my appearance. He was complimenting me and moving closer to me, staring at me waiting for me to reply. I didn’t know what to say besides thank you/that’s very kind of you. Nothing was sleazy but it was just a bit too much. It wasn’t that he was old, or unattractive, I just had this uncomfortable feeling about him. And then he was very cagey when I asked about his last SB. It made me very weary of him. 

Public reception: I have dated older men before. I’m well acquainted with the looks and I just ignore them now. Shockingly, the only “look” I received was from the maître d’, a man of colour, who wouldn’t look me in the eye while talking to me. Everybody else really didn’t seem to notice/care - he is only 40 and not flashy or ugly so we could pass for a “normal” date I suppose. I noticed there was another sugar date happening 2 tables away. A single, wealthy looking, botox-filled, Jeremy Irons lookalike in a velvet blazer smirked at me all throughout dinner and was trying to get my attention when Big went to the bathroom. Basically he knew what was going on. I thought he might slide his business card the way he was staring me down, but I guess he just wanted to eye flirt. (Disappointed he didn’t tbh).

After the date: Despite having what was a decent evening, I had this empty feeling about the interaction not being ‘real’. I think that going forward, it will be really important for me to vanilla and sugar date simultaneously. Because otherwise there’s going to feel like there’s something missing from the interaction (authenticity). We texted the following day and said we’d discuss allowance on the second date. But I don’t want to see him again because there’s something that makes me uncomfortable about him. I trust my intuition. 

magdada replied to your post: i’m literally….so fucking mad at julie andem lmao…

Apparently they wrap up because the show got too big. Skam is financed through the Norwegian tax-payers, no commercials. Apparently the clip with Noora and Sana last week had to be filmed at 6am in the morning because there are just too many international fans interupting and disturbing. The shows success made the concept impossible and difficult to handle, also on SoMe I guess with characters interactions drowning in audience comments and likes.

ok i kind of….understand that…..but also not really?? like how does a show become “too successful”?? honestly??????? and anyway if that really is the case then the writers could have at least taken the time to make this season a really great final season. which they didn’t do. and that’s the part i’m the most angry about.

5

More SEALEDSchool!AU student council Toya/Sho (As much as I love Sho/Agito there’s absolutely nothing on Toya/Sho so watch me throw more into the void)

It’s hard to characterize Toya sometimes, because I have to remember that he’s been held on a high pedestal all his life and has been isolated as a result. He has this mature, calm demeanor that echoes loneliness and I tried to convey that in the comic

I think if Sho is the first one to fall between them, it’ll be him moving from admiration (which is something Toya is familiar with and tired of, but Sho has no idea) to wanting to be something more to Toya

And I feel despite how Sho struggles to hide what he’s feeling Toya is observant enough to pick up on it (and he likes to tease in a very subtle way)

And extra based off a-crowded-nest‘s George’s Anime Club headcanon (I couldn’t help myself)

and that’s when Sho realized he probably fell for a kinda scary guy 

Did you ever read the booklet with the game (digital booklet for vita players like me) Toya apparently learned to handle finances of big companies at a young age that totally changed my mind about his perception of money (so I imagine him to be kinda scary when it comes to it)

xXx 4 finds funding, Vin Diesel returning as Xander Cage once again

xXx: Return of Xander Cage, the third instalment in the Triple-X franchise, was met rather tepidly by American audiences, taking just $44.9 million from an $85 million budget.

However, thanks to an impressive Chinese haul — partly thanks to marketing putting actor Donnie Yen before Vin Diesel on posters — taking the total takings to $346.1 million, a sequel is coming.

New launched Los Angeles-based production-financing entity H Collective is backing the project, along with numerous other films, including Aaron Paul’s thriller The Parts You Lose.

Return of Xander Cage director D.J. Caruso is currently working on the fourth instalment, confirming Ruby Rose, Nina Dobrev, Deepika Padukone, and the majority of the main cast will reprise their roles.

“In today’s Hollywood, it requires strong partners to produce and finance such big-budget movies as the xXx series, and The H Collective is a welcome and exciting new company that we look forward to working with,” the film’s producer Joe Roth told Variety.

The production company hopes to release four projects every year, one of those being action-comedy White House Chef, which will see a Chinese chef working for The White House ‘save the First Family after he becomes unintentionally involved in a secret terrorist plot targeting an important state dinner’.

How to Shrink Inequality

Some inequality of income and wealth is inevitable, if not necessary. If an economy is to function well, people need incentives to work hard and innovate.

The pertinent question is not whether income and wealth inequality is good or bad. It is at what point do these inequalities become so great as to pose a serious threat to our economy, our ideal of equal opportunity and our democracy.

We are near or have already reached that tipping point. As French economist Thomas Piketty shows beyond doubt in his “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” we are heading back to levels of inequality not seen since the Gilded Age of the late 19th century. The dysfunctions of our economy and politics are not self-correcting when it comes to inequality.

But a return to the Gilded Age is not inevitable. It is incumbent on us to dedicate ourselves to reversing this diabolical trend. But in order to reform the system, we need a political movement for shared prosperity.

Herewith a short summary of what has happened, how it threatens the foundations of our society, why it has happened, and what we must do to reverse it.

What has Happened

The data on widening inequality are remarkably and disturbingly clear. The Congressional Budget Office has found that between 1979 and 2007, the onset of the Great Recession, the gap in income—after federal taxes and transfer payments—more than tripled between the top 1 percent of the population and everyone else. The after-tax, after-transfer income of the top 1 percent increased by 275 percent, while it increased less than 40 percent for the middle three quintiles of the population and only 18 percent for the bottom quintile.

The gap has continued to widen in the recovery. According to the Census Bureau, median family and median household incomes have been falling, adjusted for inflation; while according to the data gathered by my colleague Emmanuel Saez, the income of the wealthiest 1 percent has soared by 31 percent. In fact, Saez has calculated that 95 percent of all economic gains since the recovery began have gone to the top 1 percent.

Wealth has become even more concentrated than income. An April 2013 Pew Research Center report found that from 2009 to 2011, “the mean net worth of households in the upper 7 percent of wealth distribution rose by an estimated 28 percent, while the mean net worth of households in the lower 93 percent dropped by 4 percent.”

Why It Threatens Our Society

This trend is now threatening the three foundation stones of our society: our economy, our ideal of equal opportunity and our democracy.

The economy. In the United States, consumer spending accounts for approximately 70 percent of economic activity. If consumers don’t have adequate purchasing power, businesses have no incentive to expand or hire additional workers. Because the rich spend a smaller proportion of their incomes than the middle class and the poor, it stands to reason that as a larger and larger share of the nation’s total income goes to the top, consumer demand is dampened. If the middle class is forced to borrow in order to maintain its standard of living, that dampening may come suddenly—when debt bubbles burst.

Consider that the two peak years of inequality over the past century—when the top 1 percent garnered more than 23 percent of total income—were 1928 and 2007. Each of these periods was preceded by substantial increases in borrowing, which ended notoriously in the Great Crash of 1929 and the near-meltdown of 2008.

The anemic recovery we are now experiencing is directly related to the decline in median household incomes after 2009, coupled with the inability or unwillingness of consumers to take on additional debt and of banks to finance that debt—wisely, given the damage wrought by the bursting debt bubble. We cannot have a growing economy without a growing and buoyant middle class. We cannot have a growing middle class if almost all of the economic gains go to the top 1 percent.

Equal opportunity. Widening inequality also challenges the nation’s core ideal of equal opportunity, because it hampers upward mobility. High inequality correlates with low upward mobility. Studies are not conclusive because the speed of upward mobility is difficult to measure.

But even under the unrealistic assumption that its velocity is no different today than it was thirty years ago—that someone born into a poor or lower-middle-class family today can move upward at the same rate as three decades ago—widening inequality still hampers upward mobility. That’s simply because the ladder is far longer now. The distance between its bottom and top rungs, and between every rung along the way, is far greater. Anyone ascending it at the same speed as before will necessarily make less progress upward.

In addition, when the middle class is in decline and median household incomes are dropping, there are fewer possibilities for upward mobility. A stressed middle class is also less willing to share the ladder of opportunity with those below it. For this reason, the issue of widening inequality cannot be separated from the problems of poverty and diminishing opportunities for those near the bottom. They are one and the same.

Democracy. The connection between widening inequality and the undermining of democracy has long been understood. As former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis is famously alleged to have said in the early years of the last century, an era when robber barons dumped sacks of money on legislators’ desks, “We may have a democracy, or we may have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.”

As income and wealth flow upward, political power follows. Money flowing to political campaigns, lobbyists, think tanks, “expert” witnesses and media campaigns buys disproportionate influence. With all that money, no legislative bulwark can be high enough or strong enough to protect the democratic process.

The threat to our democracy also comes from the polarization that accompanies high levels of inequality. Partisanship—measured by some political scientists as the distance between median Republican and Democratic roll-call votes on key economic issues—almost directly tracks with the level of inequality. It reached high levels in the first decades of the twentieth century when inequality soared, and has reached similar levels in recent years.

When large numbers of Americans are working harder than ever but getting nowhere, and see most of the economic gains going to a small group at the top, they suspect the game is rigged. Some of these people can be persuaded that the culprit is big government; others, that the blame falls on the wealthy and big corporations. The result is fierce partisanship, fueled by anti-establishment populism on both the right and the left of the political spectrum.

Why It Has Happened

Between the end of World War II and the early 1970s, the median wage grew in tandem with productivity. Both roughly doubled in those years, adjusted for inflation. But after the 1970s, productivity continued to rise at roughly the same pace as before, while wages began to flatten. In part, this was due to the twin forces of globalization and labor-replacing technologies that began to hit the American workforce like strong winds—accelerating into massive storms in the 1980s and ’90s, and hurricanes since then.

Containers, satellite communication technologies, and cargo ships and planes radically reduced the cost of producing goods anywhere around the globe, thereby eliminating many manufacturing jobs or putting downward pressure on other wages. Automation, followed by computers, software, robotics, computer-controlled machine tools and widespread digitization, further eroded jobs and wages. These forces simultaneously undermined organized labor. Unionized companies faced increasing competitive pressures to outsource, automate or move to nonunion states.

These forces didn’t erode all incomes, however. In fact, they added to the value of complex work done by those who were well educated, well connected and fortunate enough to have chosen the right professions. Those lucky few who were perceived to be the most valuable saw their pay skyrocket.

But that’s only part of the story. Instead of responding to these gale-force winds with policies designed to upgrade the skills of Americans, modernize our infrastructure, strengthen our safety net and adapt the workforce—and pay for much of this with higher taxes on the wealthy—we did the reverse. We began disinvesting in education, job training and infrastructure. We began shredding our safety net. We made it harder for many Americans to join unions. (The decline in unionization directly correlates with the decline of the portion of income going to the middle class.) And we reduced taxes on the wealthy.

We also deregulated. Financial deregulation in particular made finance the most lucrative industry in America, as it had been in the 1920s. Here again, the parallels between the 1920s and recent years are striking, reflecting the same pattern of inequality.

Other advanced economies have faced the same gale-force winds but have not suffered the same inequalities as we have because they have helped their workforces adapt to the new economic realities—leaving the United States the most unequal of all advanced nations by far.

What We Must Do

There is no single solution for reversing widening inequality. Thomas Piketty’s monumental book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” paints a troubling picture of societies dominated by a comparative few, whose cumulative wealth and unearned income overshadow the majority who rely on jobs and earned income. But our future is not set in stone, and Piketty’s description of past and current trends need not determine our path in the future. Here are ten initiatives that could reverse the trends described above:

1) Make work pay. The fastest-growing categories of work are retail, restaurant (including fast food), hospital (especially orderlies and staff), hotel, childcare and eldercare. But these jobs tend to pay very little. A first step toward making work pay is to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, pegging it to inflation; abolish the tipped minimum wage; and expand the Earned Income Tax Credit. No American who works full time should be in poverty.

2) Unionize low-wage workers. The rise and fall of the American middle class correlates almost exactly with the rise and fall of private-sector unions, because unions gave the middle class the bargaining power it needed to secure a fair share of the gains from economic growth. We need to reinvigorate unions, beginning with low-wage service occupations that are sheltered from global competition and from labor-replacing technologies. Lower-wage Americans deserve more bargaining power.

3) Invest in education. This investment should extend from early childhood through world-class primary and secondary schools, affordable public higher education, good technical education and lifelong learning. Education should not be thought of as a private investment; it is a public good that helps both individuals and the economy. Yet for too many Americans, high-quality education is unaffordable and unattainable. Every American should have an equal opportunity to make the most of herself or himself. High-quality education should be freely available to all, starting at the age of 3 and extending through four years of university or technical education.

4) Invest in infrastructure. Many working Americans—especially those on the lower rungs of the income ladder—are hobbled by an obsolete infrastructure that generates long commutes to work, excessively high home and rental prices, inadequate Internet access, insufficient power and water sources, and unnecessary environmental degradation. Every American should have access to an infrastructure suitable to the richest nation in the world.

5) Pay for these investments with higher taxes on the wealthy. Between the end of World War II and 1981 (when the wealthiest were getting paid a far lower share of total national income), the highest marginal federal income tax rate never fell below 70 percent, and the effective rate (including tax deductions and credits) hovered around 50 percent. But with Ronald Reagan’s tax cut of 1981, followed by George W. Bush’s tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, the taxes on top incomes were slashed, and tax loopholes favoring the wealthy were widened. The implicit promise—sometimes made explicit—was that the benefits from such cuts would trickle down to the broad middle class and even to the poor. As I’ve shown, however, nothing trickled down. At a time in American history when the after-tax incomes of the wealthy continue to soar, while median household incomes are falling, and when we must invest far more in education and infrastructure, it seems appropriate to raise the top marginal tax rate and close tax loopholes that disproportionately favor the wealthy.

6) Make the payroll tax progressive. Payroll taxes account for 40 percent of government revenues, yet they are not nearly as progressive as income taxes. One way to make the payroll tax more progressive would be to exempt the first $15,000 of wages and make up the difference by removing the cap on the portion of income subject to Social Security payroll taxes.

7) Raise the estate tax and eliminate the “stepped-up basis” for determining capital gains at death. As Piketty warns, the United States, like other rich nations, could be moving toward an oligarchy of inherited wealth and away from a meritocracy based on labor income. The most direct way to reduce the dominance of inherited wealth is to raise the estate tax by triggering it at $1 million of wealth per person rather than its current $5.34 million (and thereafter peg those levels to inflation). We should also eliminate the “stepped-up basis” rule that lets heirs avoid capital gains taxes on the appreciation of assets that occurred before the death of their benefactors.

8) Constrain Wall Street. The financial sector has added to the burdens of the middle class and the poor through excesses that were the proximate cause of an economic crisis in 2008, similar to the crisis of 1929. Even though capital requirements have been tightened and oversight strengthened, the biggest banks are still too big to fail, jail or curtail—and therefore capable of generating another crisis. The Glass-Steagall Act, which separated commercial- and investment-banking functions, should be resurrected in full, and the size of the nation’s biggest banks should be capped.

9) Give all Americans a share in future economic gains. The richest 10 percent of Americans own roughly 80 percent of the value of the nation’s capital stock; the richest 1 percent own about 35 percent. As the returns to capital continue to outpace the returns to labor, this allocation of ownership further aggravates inequality. Ownership should be broadened through a plan that would give every newborn American an “opportunity share” worth, say, $5,000 in a diversified index of stocks and bonds—which, compounded over time, would be worth considerably more. The share could be cashed in gradually starting at the age of 18.

10) Get big money out of politics. Last, but certainly not least, we must limit the political influence of the great accumulations of wealth that are threatening our democracy and drowning out the voices of average Americans. The Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision must be reversed—either by the Court itself, or by constitutional amendment. In the meantime, we must move toward the public financing of elections—for example, with the federal government giving presidential candidates, as well as House and Senate candidates in general elections, $2 for every $1 raised from small donors.

Building a Movement

It’s doubtful that these and other measures designed to reverse widening inequality will be enacted anytime soon. Having served in Washington, I know how difficult it is to get anything done unless the broad public understands what’s at stake and actively pushes for reform.

That’s why we need a movement for shared prosperity—a movement on a scale similar to the Progressive movement at the turn of the last century, which fueled the first progressive income tax and antitrust laws; the suffrage movement, which won women the vote; the labor movement, which helped animate the New Deal and fueled the great prosperity of the first three decades after World War II; the civil rights movement, which achieved the landmark Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts; and the environmental movement, which spawned the National Environmental Policy Act and other critical legislation.

Time and again, when the situation demands it, America has saved capitalism from its own excesses. We put ideology aside and do what’s necessary. No other nation is as fundamentally pragmatic. We will reverse the trend toward widening inequality eventually. We have no choice. But we must organize and mobilize in order that it be done.

[This essay appears in the current edition of “The Nation.”]

 

The 10 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Requesting A Raise

The problem with asking for a raise is that there are only a few ways it could go right, and so many ways it could go wrong.

1) Don’t obliviously make your request during budget cuts.

2) Don’t ask when you haven’t been performing at your best or exceeding expectations.

3) Don’t ask when your boss has an overloaded plate.

4) Don’t complain or whine.

5) Don’t bring up your personal life.

6) Don’t act entitled to the raise.

7) Don’t become adversarial. 

8) Don’t throw out your target number.

9) Don’t use a counteroffer when you’re not actually prepared to leave.

10) Not handling rejection well. 

The bottom line is, throughout your negotiation, you want to keep things positive.

The hitch and/or best thing about asking for money online is that you don’t have to do it in a face-to-face way. That’s great for someone like me, who doesn’t like most faces or the things that come out of those faces. I’d much rather write down everything I have to say and let you read it. For a lot of people, I’m sure it’s the exact opposite.

Whatever the case, it doesn’t matter. If you’re going to embark upon a crowdfunding campaign of any sort, be ready to do a lot of writing. For my Kickstarter, I wrote the approximate word count equivalent of a Cracked article (around 2,500 words) for the initial launch alone. That was less than a week ago, and I’ve added maybe another 1,000 words’ worth of updates since then.

That’s just for the text part of the presentation. If you’re using crowdfunding to finance some big idea of yours, a video is all but mandatory. I suppose you can get away without one if you’re just posting a plea for rent money on GoFundMe or some shit, but if you’re trying to sell people on something, you need a video.

5 Things I Learned Asking Strangers For Money Online