I'm in a small city, 350K or so, and in theory there are 4 providers. However when you actually call and start discussing exactly what you want and when they can install, you find that only two serve your street. I'm pretty sure the only reason I can pick from 2 is that one is the phone company and the other is an actual cable company.
Meh, ever since the civil war it could easily be argued that the Fed can do whatever they like. In legal theory the union is made up of individual states that grant is specific rights. This should mean that member states are empowered to leave the union if they so desire. We all know how that turned out.
You could also argue that in the same way that states join together to make the union and grant the Fed powers, small localities join together to make a state and grant such state government powers. It would stand to reason that the individual localities should be able to tell the state to shove off.
"The difference between them is basically the seized quantity of the illicit substance. Both are prosecuted. Often."
In some jurisdiction quantity isn't a factor if it's a second arrest for the same charge. For instance in my state a second arrest for possesion of marijuana, regardless of quantity is automatically elevated to "with intent to distribute".
ASCII art perhaps?
The only time I've ever botted in a game was SWG. I wanted to level up some crafting professions. The only way to earn the relevant xp was to craft thousands of items, which had little to no value to anyone in the scheme of things. The crafting system involved a series of windows with recipes to be selected, materials to select, various options and finally finish the crafting resulting in a finished item. I figured out that you could actually use the ingame macro system to perform all of the actions in a perpetual loop, except the selecting of materials, which required some double mouse clicks. So I spent some time doing nothing but selecting crafting materials with the mouse while the running in game macro did everything else as rapidly as it could. But I realized I was looking at doing that and nothing else for something like 5 or 6 hours straight. So I found a mouse macro utility that would interface with the OS mouse drivers and feed it the appropriate mouse actions to move the cursor back and forth double clicking at the appropriate times. Then I sat down and read a book while it did the grind for me.
It was honestly a very silly system, the only significant barrier to maxing out those professions was the speed at which the interface reacted and your ability to double click rapidly in the same spot(s) for a very long time.
I don't know about completely striping reproductive rights, but I wouldn't object to everyone, rich or poor, having to procure a procreation license. Say each person is allowed up to one license provided they can be proved by some objective measure to be a competent future parent. Your right to a license may be bought and sold so that people who want more children and are capable of supporting them may do so provided they can find others willing to not have more children. Although honestly it sounds like a lot of central planning and I think that's been proved to be sufficiently complex enough that we're unlikely to ever accomplish it in a satisfactory manner.
There are two issues that exacerbate the problem of wealth inequality.
1. Very wealthy people even if they spend money on waste that doesn't improve productivity still likely earn more money from their wealth, than they can readily waste. For them to actually start losing significant chunks of their wealth requires very long chains of poor decisions.
2. Poor people are on the opposite end of the spectrum. Yes, they can accumulate and build significant wealth if they are dedicated to it and leverage their productivity in ideal ways over the course of a lifetime. However a single poor decision or misfortune can set them back decades.
In the end I would argue that rich people are frequently rich because of good fortune whether stumbling on a new product at the perfect time or being born into wealth. Rich people stay rich because out society is structured in such a way that their wealth affords them every advantage and insulates them from their own bad decisions, while the poor have little to no advantage and can be crippled financially for years by singular poor decisions. Can we change our economic or social structure to even things out a little or at least narrow the gaps? I believe we can, and I think living wages are a good place to start although gauraunteed basic income sounds more ideal to me.
I actually kind of noticed this thing happening when I lived out west for a few years. At the time minimum wage was just over $5 an hour. But every since fast food burger joint I saw that actually advertised what they'd pay was offering $10 an hour as a starting wage. The minimum wage was clearly not enough to bring in workers and so the defacto minimum had raised its self. Granted even that wouldn't have been close to a living wage given the extremely high cost of living there but it was interesting to me at the time that it was happening at all.
The problem is that people each have their own individual dams and a huge number of them are completely bone dry while others are growing with no end in sight. Saving and investing your money is very sound fiscal practice. In theory the money flows from dam to dam but in reality we have a few dams that grow ever larger while more and more dry up. The Big dams might let out a slow trickle but most of what flows out from them is ending up in other very large dams instead of propagating out to the smaller dams. It is essentially an inherent weakness of a tax system that does not tax wealth, although of course taxing wealth comes with it's own mountain of troubles.
"This argument about government subsidies is way too fucking idiotic to have picked up this much steam."
Our country currently provides a number of benefits to people who are below specific arbitrary income levels. When companies deliberately keep their employees wages low enough that they continue to qualify for those benefits then their workforce is being subsidized by government. Hence the company is being subsidized by government.
The minimum wage was made into law decades ago when corporate abuse of employees was pretty rampant. Because their was a large surplus of labor wages could be kept very low because some other starving peasant would be willing to do your job for less because anything he got was better than the nothing he had and would stave off starvation just a little longer. Government basically stepped in and told businesses that if they wanted to continue as licensed legal businesses they would need to pay a minimum or, practically speaking, living wage.
I don't think anyone has anything against a person working extra jobs to earn more for themselves, or pooling resources with another to afford more room in the budget. A living wage doesn't affect any of that, so I'm not sure what you're going on about.
What personal liberties and choices are you talking about here? Maybe the liberty to pay a peasant as little as possible to keep them coming back while they rely on government subsidies to survive? If you want to run a business with employees then pay them a living wage so the rest of us aren't subsidizing your venture, or get out of the way so someone else can do it.
There are two problems with this that I can think of right off the bat.
A. Full employment is a fairytale dream. Today we already have an abundance of people with 4 year degrees that are flipping burgers to scrape by because there simply are not enough jobs requiring their services. Being qualified for better work does not matter if those jobs simply do not exist. As society advances technologically we are going to have more and more unemployed and under employed people as a percentage because we need less people working to provide the goods and services that we as a society need. This is not actually a problem depending on how those people are dealt with.
B. Minimum wage was established with the intent of it being a living wage. Over time that has been eroded but there is no good reason for us not to try and fix it. The minimum wage being less than a living wage is essentially subsidizing all businesses that rely on paying their employees below a living wage. I thought we wanted a free market wherein businesses rose or fell based on their own merits, not government bailouts?
Yes, raising the minimum wage will raise the cost of all products and services that rely on minimum wage workers. That means fast food burgers will go up in price, but so will those cold cuts and bread from the grocery store. Pretty much every consumable and service you purchase will be affected in some way. The pertinent question though is how much will those costs go up, and how long will it take for the rising tide of minimum wage to also raise your own salary. The more gradual the minimum wage increase is the smother this will all happen, California's five year schedule sounds pretty reasonable to me.
You forgot the option where the poor become a large and dissatisfied enough class that they force a change in the system, violently or not.
Of course it is being done over time to lessen the negative consequences. It should be obvious to anyone that thinks about it for a few minutes that raising the cost of labor in very large steps quickly is a bad thing to do. If it goes up gradually though it gives businesses time to adjust their finances and strategies, and the workers the same.
Will costs rise, yes, but the rise in cost for services and consumables should be smaller than the rise in pay. The only long term negative of this that I've heard is that bad businesses might be out competed by their competitors, oh wait, that isn't actually a negative if you believe in free markets and such.
If we're talking about a computer driven truck there certainly could be enough time. It depends on how powerful of a system it has and whether or not it is continuously monitoring all of its surroundings to begin with.
You ask a good question about your motivation to pay more taxes to support a more socialistic system, with no perceived benefit.
I would propose that you, and I as tax payers, would benefit. Society is constantly changing, and if you hadn't noticed in the US we seem to be incarcerating more and more people on a daily basis. The money for those prisons doesn't just fall from heaven like the mana of old. Poverty breeds crime like almost nothing else, and the future trend appears to be continued growth of poverty while the middle class dwindles. One way or another we are going to be paying more taxes to deal with the problems that poverty breeds, and prisons and crime is just part of that.
So the question really becomes, can we reduce the ill affects of poverty on society by adopting a more socialistic system for the same or cheaper cost than simply treating the symptoms? And that's strictly the money side of things, what would be the dollar value of lowering the chance of becoming the victim of crime? Or knowing that you can take a risk on starting your own business, or chasing some other dream, without exposing your family to being destitute should you fail?