- Dan Kloeffler at What If?16 days ago
The IRS estimates there is about an 83% compliance rate of Americans paying their federal income taxes. So that means 17% of us as shirking our responsibilities, right? Not exactly.
This compliance rate is based on the amount of revenue, not the number of people that file. And because there is not a standard tax rate, the IRS doesn’t know if its $450 billion shortfall is caused by a handful of really rich Americans, a large group of lower income earners, or some combination in the middle.
With this much revenue being lost, we hit up a few economists – Robert Reich, featured in the documentary, ‘Inequality For All,’ along with Jared Bernstein, Senior Fellow at The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - to get their thoughts on what would happen if everyone paid their taxes.
Check out the latest episode of "What If" to find out what an extra $450 billion could do for America.
Host: Dan Kloeffler Producer, DP: David Fazekas, Associate Producer: Stefan Doyno Editor: Maurice Abbate
- Stefan Doyno at What If?26 days ago
It’s everywhere – a part of our breakfast, lunch, and especially dinner. Meat. Fellow Americans, we just can’t quit it. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spent nearly $1,100 dollars on meat, fish, poultry, and eggs in 2012, that’s nearly 30 percent of our grocery bills.
You know who doesn’t have that hefty tab? Vegetarians, who make up about 5 percent of the U.S. population. While they still eat dairy and eggs, they’re not eating nearly 200 pounds of meat a year, like the rest of us.
So what if we all became vegetarian? Would we be healthier, wealthier, and wiser?
“A plant based diet is a great idea for almost everyone, but complete elimination leads to other substitutions,” says Rebecca Solomon, the Director of Clinical Nutrition at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City.
Solomon says that many new-vegetarians reach for more processed foods that are high in sugar and low in nutrients. She says one of the biggest pitfalls for newly proclaimed vegetarians is an American favorite, pizza.
- Stefan Doyno at What If?28 days ago
In February, 2014, NASA made a major announcement with the discovery of more than 700 new planets, described as being in solar systems very much like our own.
Naturally, Team ‘What If?’ started chatting images of pugs in black suits, big-brained humanoids and an endless supply of Reese’s Pieces. (See ‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’)
If aliens do exist, scientists who've been searching the skies for signs of life think they’ll prove Hollywood all wrong, shattering those famous pop cultural images we’ve created - little, green, hairless beings. It could be very humbling for us to know that we’re not the center of the universe.
"In this century, we're probably going to develop artificial intelligence, we're probably going to develop machines," Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer at the SETI Institute said. "You can be sure the aliens have done that. The ones we're likely to hear from are probably going to be machines."
- Stefan Doyno at What If?1 mth ago
You’re driving down Route 66 when you look down and see 99,999 miles on your odometer – and then – it happens.
More and more drivers are hitting the 100,000 mark with a little maintenance, and a lot of gas.
Based on the average vehicle, with a 17 gallon gas tank and 23 mile per gallon efficiency, it costs drivers approximately $15,300 to travel 100,000 miles. As opposed to one gallon of gas that currently costs about $3.48 a gallon.
Which is why the “What If” team decided to kick it into overdrive. What if you could drive 100,000 miles on one tank of gas? It’s economical, it’s crazy, and it just might work.
Granted we’re working with averages here. Take a moment to think about 100,000 miles. That’s 20 round trips from LA to NYC for all you bi-coastal commuters out there and 250 gas-station stops along the way. Try to wrap your head around that road trip.
And to all you environmentalists worried about your carbon footprint, your carbon emissions would be cut by 25 percent. No more global warming? Well, we won’t go that far – but cutting down those carbon emissions can’t hurt.
- Stefan Doyno at What If?1 mth ago
It’s been a few years since dinosaurs ruled the earth – 66 million (give or take a few million)- so it’s safe to say they won’t be making a second appearance.
But what if one day you woke up to find a Tyrannosaurus Rex in your backyard? You’d probably need a new pair of underwear.
What is it that makes these not-so-gentle giants so intriguing? The dinosaur is not just an animal, it's an industry - and it's only getting bigger. Books, toys, movies. The recently announced "Jurassic World" hits theaters in 2015 - a highly anticipated sequel to a series that has made billions worldwide over the past 20 years. When we're not watching them on the big screen, we're visiting their remnants at museum exhibitions hoping to gain some insight into what these almost mythical creatures were like.
Visiting the Smithsonian Natural History Museum may not be as exciting as it is now if dinosaurs still existed.
“From our audience research we know people come here to see the Hope Diamond and dinosaurs and everything else is gravy,” says Kirk Johnson, Saint Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
- Dan Kloeffler at What If?1 mth ago
When it comes to birthday cake etiquette, there are two types of people: those that scrape off the frosting in disgust and those that strategically cut a corner piece for double the sugary surface area. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a lot of us are going for the corners. About 217 million Americans are considered overweight or obese, which is roughly two-thirds of the country.
But fear not, the picture of a bloated America could easily change if we all dropped 20 pounds. Yes, we’re mindful that not everyone could or even should lose 20 - those that are underweight, children and the elderly – but we’re talking about the masses.
And full disclosure, as a kid that was forced to shop in the husky section of Sears, I know all too well the emotional and psychological toll weight can have on someone’s confidence. This is not fat shaming, this is simply a hypothetical situation.
So, what if everyone lost 20 pounds?
- Dan Kloeffler at What If?2 mths ago
Tucked inside every pack of cigarettes is the secret to a better sex life, increased job security and the chance to save $64,000.
Despite the constant drumbeat of dire consequences and stomach-turning ads, 43 million Americans still smoke. Of whom, 70 percent confess they would like to quit. Even if you’ve never smoked a day in your life, cigarettes and smokers have had an impact on more than just the obvious health-related issues.
So we pondered, “What If Everyone Quit Smoking?” in the United States.
First, a little history. For 50 years, the government has been telling America, “Stop Smoking.” In 1964, the first U.S. Surgeon General’s report showed a connection between smoking and illness, based on medical research and scientific findings.
Today, 13 percent of the U.S. population smokes. If they decided to stop smoking, it could trigger a chain reaction of consequences across the whole country.