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Comment: Re:Let me get this right (Score 1) 835

by Ihlosi (#48167487) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right
With a consumption tax, it's up to you how much you are taxed.

Great. So "not being taxed" becomes even easier - no tax loopholes required!
Unfortunately, this will also result in the government collecting too little tax and having to look at increasing tax rates or coming up with other ideas for taxation.

This system is basically being designed to fail.

It would also get rid of the inequity between income tax and capital gains tax, which benefits the wealthy a great deal.

There are easier ways to get rid of this obvious problem, such as not distinguishing between the sources of income in the first place. Some sources might possibly be exempt or don't fall under "income" (lottery winnings), but everything else is just added up as "income" and you pay your taxes on that.

Comment: Re:Maybe the results can only be as good as the pl (Score 1) 348

by Ihlosi (#48167249) Attached to: White House Wants Ideas For "Bootstrapping a Solar System Civilization"
LEGO seems to have figured out how to make a whole lot of stuff work together. Maybe they could hire LEGO.

Ask the guys who make Fischertechnik instead. LEGO ist mostly for architects (with a little bit of engineering stuff thrown in); Fischertechnik is solely for engineers.

Comment: Well, let's see: (Score 1) 348

by Ihlosi (#48166985) Attached to: White House Wants Ideas For "Bootstrapping a Solar System Civilization"
3D-Printing is nice, but in the early phase, a space/planetary outpost may need to do a lot of chemical processing on a small scale (to create the raw materials for the 3D-printer, to manufacture all kinds of chemical products like lubricants, medications, etc). So the chemical equivalent of a 3D-printer would be extremely helpful (e.g. put in water and carbon dioxide, hook it up to power, and tell it to manufacture basic hydrocarbons).

Such a device would be helpful, if not critical, for the success of colonies away from Earth. It doesn't matter if it's not very efficient, as long as it works, since it could help expand the colonies power generating facilities, life support, etc., and it's probably easier to outfit a colony with a big power supply than with all the chemical products in might possibly need.

Comment: Re:Taxing consumption is archaic. (Score 1) 835

by Ihlosi (#48162183) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right
However, progressive taxes like this are a bit unfair because they hit the poor who save up for luxuries; it's very difficult to progressively tax _true_ consumption.

They're also highly arbitrary, because you'll have some kind of government guy/committee/whatever deciding what's necessary and what constitutes various degrees of luxury.

Should a poor photographer who saves up a lot of money to buy one really great camera and lens be taxed more than the wealthy dentist (usually) who buys it and leaves it in the box?

Very good question. It's even more interesting if the photographer earns his living with photography, so the camera may not be a luxury, but an investment.

This system of taxation appears to be even more nightmarish than the current mess.

Comment: Re:Taxing consumption is archaic. (Score 1) 835

by Ihlosi (#48162123) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right
As for consumption tax being regressive, that would have been a good point, except that TFA quite explicitly talked about progressive tax on consumption (i.e. don't tax basic goods but do tax luxury items).

That leads to all kinds of issues.

How do you define "luxury item" for tax purposes?
How do you rate degrees of luxury in order to determine which luxury items are taxed how highly?
How do you deal with the inevitable black market/smuggling issues? Making something that is desired illegal or outrageously expensive pretty much automatically creates a illegal market.
What do you do when people stop buying the defined luxury items and your tax revenue plummets?

Just tax income, regardless of the actual source. I am convinced that todays level of tax revenues could be reached with far lower actual tax rates.

Comment: Taxing consumption is archaic. (Score 1) 835

by Ihlosi (#48159663) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right
Taxing consumption comes down to value-added tax, which is a relic from times where income was difficulty to assess and tax.

Also, for people with low income, taxing consumption is actually worse than taxing income, since the lower your income, the higher the percentage of it you must spend on consumption in order not to starve or freeze.

Comment: Too bad Kaveri wasn't ready yet. (Score 1) 338

Too bad Kaveri wasn't available when the APUs for the consoles were designed, so they had to use Puma cores which, from a performance point of view, are quite underwhelming.

No, I'm not considering Kaveri a race car, but in comparison to Puma it has a lot more CPU horsepower.

Comment: That's only a matter of size. (Score 1) 315

by Ihlosi (#48101175) Attached to: Fusion Reactor Concept Could Be Cheaper Than Coal
but the problem with fusion is getting more energy than is put in...

That's just a matter of size. Fusion power release rises as a function of plasma volume, heat losses rise as a function of plasma surface, so just make it big enough.

.. and keeping that reaction sustained indefinitely.

A year or so would be nice, but shorter periods might be useful, too.

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