Your charts show a definite revenue problem.
A rough rolling average (to flatten out the highs and troughs) shows flattish revenues over the last decade and a half. That is a terrible revenue picture, because flat in absolute dollars means we are sunk unless we take an axe to spending, oh, starting back in circa 2000.
Obviously we need to get both our revenues and spending back near the long term trends we were seeing at the close of the 20th century. It looks like the tax cuts you love put us on a decsively lower revenue trend.
As a percentage of GDP, we are below the long term average, even if we focus our eyes on the last three decades. So there is room to raise taxes. No, that will not solve the whole problem. But no good will come from pretending we do not have a revenue problem, when we do.
When I see the costs compared, they never compare in-room education costs of private to public school. The few times I have been able to deduce those numbers from the presentation, public is cheaper than private. Private is only cheaper when you have elementary schools staffed by retired teachers volunteering for the church (yes, I've seen it, and those numbers get counted for why private schools are cheaper). The non-union private schools often pay better than the unionized public schools, and thus cost more to run.
Yes, looking through advertised prices I came to a similar conclusion. There are often good nominal prices for a church run K-4 or K-6, because, as your suggest, a smart parent with a HS diploma is enough of an expert with a few hints from a volunteer retired teacher. But the prices rapidly after elementary school because random well-meaning parents are not necessary good enough when the topics start getting a little bit hard. Private schools climb very rapidly on price after 6th grade. The cheaper ones may be slightly less expensive than what the taxpayer pays for public, but the difference is not large. A lot of private schools are much more expensive overall.
Private schools do not necessarily pay more to the teachers. Some do, but the majority pay less. The teachers have the benefit of avoiding the certification rigamarole and have a bit more moral authority to deal with behavior problems, so some good teachers are willing to make do with less pay.
I didn't really mean that they just simply dump-luck stumbled into their current position - I'm just sort of amazed that the prior smartphones sucked so badly. They are lucky that Microsoft, RIM, Nokia, and the others didn't get their act together before they had a chance to swoop in and do it right.
Yup. There were Windows CE phone back in 2000 that suggested potential strategies to crush Palm and enter/build a premium phone market. Given their experience with the iPod, it is not a surprise that Apple put a good phone together -- hats off to Ives and Jobs that the iPhone was better than good. What is amazing is how long a number of seemingly competent tech companies sat on their hands.
Apple doesn't need to make shitty free phones, but they also can't let their market share slip to Blackberry levels, lest they lose developers. Right now developers still target Apple first, and they probably need to keep it that way. If the ad-supported model ever becomes wildly profitable, then Apple should probably worry - but for now, people who penny-pinch on their phone probably aren't going to buy many apps.
How Microsoft crushed its competition in the 80s and 90s was Bill Gates was savvy enough to make sure his platform was, relatively speaking, attractive to the bulk of developers (by means of good tools, network effects, hook or by crook). Apple has accomplished the equivalent position with iOS and its mobile devices; Apple has the majority of customers that will happily pay real money for good applications in its hip pocket. That may change. But as you suggest, competing for the cheapest customers is not autmoatically a win. Apple has to fight for the turf where the developers make good money -- that is what is important.
It is difficult to predict the day that fighting tooth and claw for the retail customer is necessary. It is not today. It may be tomorrow, or it may be never. TFA does not give us insight into that question.
Or add four feet of dirt.
The water portion of the SF Bay was once twice the size it is right now. The reason those pieces of commercial (and residential) real estate are vulnerable is they are built on areas that once were 6 inches underwater at hide tide. They are not underwater every single day because dirt was shipped in.
They shipped in four feet of dirt to create the problem. How about we solve the problem with four more feet of dirt?
As for the barrage, the ecological costs would be enormous. A few merely massive pumping stations is not going to prevent the bay water from becoming a smelly cess pool polluted by agricultural runoff and much worse from the residential areas. It is a fun idea for civil engineers, but we are wealthy enough here to employ less tricky solution that will be more reliable.