Wow, what's your occupation? Even being a software developer, my budget and retirement asset numbers are almost exactly an order of magnitude lower than yours...
How long it takes you to retire is a function of only one variable under your control
You mean 2 variables: savings rate and asset allocation. If you want a 50% savings rate to get you retired in 7-8 years, [most of] that money needs to be in the stock market or a real estate portfolio, not under your mattress.
Loss of a lot in the 401k in 2008
The only people who lost money in 2008 were the people who did something stupid with it (i.e. who pulled out of the market and locked in their losses). Everybody who stayed the course made all their money back a couple of years ago, and is now way ahead.
What does "social security" have to do with anything? I'm a "20-something" and plan on retiring 10-15 years from now on just the assets I save myself. If I eventually get social security, well that's just a bonus.
(The hard part is not the lack of social security; the hard part is the shitty job market. Since my wife and I graduated college 5 years ago, at least one of us has been unemployed at almost any given time. We've learned to live on less than a third of our fully-employed income -- which is coincidentally why we'd be able to retire so quickly if we remain fully employed!)
she gets $1600 before taxes.. After taxes, she is at $1100 a month
Bullshit. Even assuming the worst-case scenario (that all of her income is taxable, which if it's Social Security and a pension then it almost certainly isn't), an Adjusted Gross Income of $1600 * 12 = $19200 means her taxable income would be $19,200 - $6100 (standard deduction) - $3900 (one exemption) = $9200. The federal income tax on $9200 is $930, which means her real after-tax monthly income would be $1522. (And before you say "what about state income tax," remember the example is in Texas where there isn't any.)
As for the rest of it, $1522 - $600 - $400 = $522 for food, telephone and car which (given that she's not racking up a bunch of miles commuting) is plenty.
FYI, it's possible to live well surprisingly cheaply in the US. My average spending over the last year has been ~$1700/month, and that's for 2 people living in a 3-bedroom house in a nice, walkable neighborhood about 3 miles from the center of a major city.
How much do you expect to spend per year in retirement? Take that number and multiply by 20 (assuming you think a 4% safe withdrawal rate is OK; or multiply by 33 for a 3% rate, etc.). Note that the safe withdrawal rate also depends strongly on your asset allocation.
It's fun to speculate what might have been, whether Nokia screwed up big by ceding the iPad market. But I think any tablet like device without a touchscreen can't really be said to be the predecessor of the iPad. In the same way that Nokia had internet devices and still couldn't make an iPhone, even if they'd made this tablet, it still most likely wouldn't have spawned the iPad revolution.
"Lost Coast" is a tech demo for HDR lighting, not an expansion. I'm pretty sure you don't have to own HL2 to play it.
Parking meters still impose a cost on the preexisting residents and are not a wholly entrepreneurial solution since they require cooperation from the city.
Parking permits could work if they are granted in perpetuity to whoever currently resides in the preexisting residences, but a) somebody still has to pay for enforcement, b) I've never heard of a parking permit system that actually worked that way, and c) it is also a government, rather than entrepreneurial, solution.
Besides, why solve the problem in a way that must be managed in perpetuity when you can solve it once and for all by just making the developer build enough parking in the first place?
(By the way, I'd like you to know that I'm not making these arguments because I'm a fan of automobile-centric development -- quite the contrary! Rather, I merely take issue with the idea of letting the developer do whatever is "fiscally optimal" for himself without considering the rest of the community that would be impacted by the result.)
they put all their offices in the middle of major urban areas
It's not even just that! I'd happily commute to Google's office in the middle of the major urban area I already live in, but (as far as I can tell) their office here does only operations, not development.
I think you are feeling very confused: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S...
You actually live in something *better* than a direct democracy.
A direct democracy enjoys no constitutional guarantees of rights. It's strictly majority rule.
Right this way sir... here's some bread, we hope you enjoy the circus.
This study defines "rich people" as those making around $146000/year.
If you think about it, there's no control for expenses there, so it's not a very effective definition (I'm always kind of a amazed at the mindset in the US that tries to simplify things by drawing a numeric line in the sand, as if there were no other issues. And people put up with it. We need better schools.
I define "rich" as: wealthy enough to be living in a manner comfortable in every material way to the individual or family, and able to survive indefinitely in that state, or in an increasingly wealthy state without relying on income from, or charity of, others. Regardless of if one actually chooses to exist in that state, or not.
Not trying to force that definition on anyone else, but that's how I see it personally.
I recommend antibiotics.
The transition was from a flawed, but still readily identifiable constitutional republic (not a democracy), to a corporate oligarchy.
This has never been a democracy, and furthermore, the constitution insists that the federal government guarantee each state a republican form of government, as in, a republic -- not a democracy. That's in article 4, section 4.
This is why representatives decide the actual matters, and voters don't, in the basic design.
Of course, now even the representatives don't decide -- nor judges -- if the legislation deals in any significant way with business interests. The only way the old system still operates even remotely the way it was designed to is when the issue(s) at hand a purely social ones. Even then, the bill of rights seems to be at the very bottom of any legislator's or judge's list of concerns.
Can't see any of this changing, though. The public is too uninformed, and short of completely revamping the school curriculums, they're going to remain that way.