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No kidding. Which is why Amazon isn't actually PAYING the tax. It's COLLECTING the tax, which is actually paid by the person who lives in the jurisdiction... and who is presumably partaking of the services the tax is paying for. Better go back to the drawing board on this one.
Actually, it's doing neither. Which is how it should remain.
A corporation in state X has no obligation to play tax collector for state Y.
The government of state Y chose to pass an absurd, impractical to collect tax instead of biting the bullet and doing something practical but politically inconvenient like raising income tax rates, and they're paying the price. It's between them and their citizens, no one else.
In fact, there are those who believe those things being voluntary makes them more meaningful.
$80k may be more than the average for the majority of districts, but you choose the right one and not only is it totally achievable, there's a pretty good overlap with the state/local governments that tend to have budget issues.
The issue with taxing amazon is quite simple - governments have no business levying taxes outside their jurisdiction. If a citizen of say, California, directs goods to be brought into the state, state law says that individual is responsible for paying use tax, not the merchant from which they purchased said goods.
The music and video shops in your example have a presence in the local jurisdiction and benefit from its services such as roads, social programs, police/fire protection and so on. Amazon doesn't.
This guy did some stuff in his past that got him checked out by the feds, and people found out about it. It's up to potential employers to decide whether or not that is relevant to them. I may agree that the past should often just be left as the past, but I don't think that means everyone else has to share my opinion, or be denied the opportunity to form their own. (which is essentially what the OP wants)
Tax and spend is an economy killer.
- "The government can't do anything right"; their track record is at least as spotty as the private sector. They simply fail in a different manner. For every DMV you name, I can name a half-dozen Enrons, Monsantos, SCOs, Blackwaters, $GENERIC_DOT_COMs, or Madoff fund managing company.
"Fail in a different manner" is the issue.
Enron is gone and no one will ever lose another dime to them. Madoff's going to rot in jail for the rest of his life.
When the government screws something up, it doesn't die and go away, it tends to get bigger and more expensive for the (increasingly small) portion of the population expected to pay for it. I can stop buying food grown with Monsanto products. I can choose not to patronize or invest in poorly conceived internet startups. I can't (without serious social/legal/financial consequences) wake up and stop paying taxes.
When exactly did it become acceptable for governments to pull stuff like this? The US does the same thing with overseas profits of our corporations and individuals, and it's no better.
Extraterritorial taxes are a money grab, plain and simple. You want to tax the profits when they are repatriated? Fine. But money that arises outside of your purview and never enters it is none of your business. Using the fact that you have power over another area of a company's operations to force them into paying up on said monies is just wrong.
As the GP stated, the acetaminophen is put in the pills to reduce the "abuse potential" Since these are considered "less dangerous" (since they'll kill you before they get you very high.) the gov't lets them be given out more easily. So right now my dentist can prescribe Vicodin/etc. after a particularly nasty root canal, but if they take it off the market, he can't just write a script for the controlled substance part of the compound on its own.
That said, if you find you like web development and DBA, my personal opinion is avoid the masters. The MS is *not* going to help you get an entry level position as a web dev or a DBA. You're risking overqualification here. (if you can even find a respectable MS in web development, that is.) A master's degree is not the magic bullet many people considering them think it is. And blowing (30k + living expenses? I don't know what a grad degree goes for in the UK) during questionable economic times on something that may or not pay off isn't a magic switch for your career either. You may find yourself a year or two from now with nothing but a ligher wallet and the same job prospects.
You say you want to make a clean break, do it. Start applying to positions in the field you're interested in, located in another city. Start doing some small projects on your own so you can provide some backup to your desires and prove a bit of competence in an interview. You're going to face a bit of a hurdle having gone School->unrelated job->Helpdesk, but if you can prove an interest in the job and the ability to handle basic related tasks and learn on your feet, you should have a pretty good shot.
You implied all the carriers save AT&T force handset manufacturers to agree to their terms. AT&T has forced apple to remove/cripple a number of apps for the iPhone as part of their business relationship.
Apple is a handset manufacturer. AT&T's terms are the blocking of apps which could result in a certain level of data usage on their network. AT&T forced Apple to agree to their terms as a condition of launching Apple's handset on their network.
While all major carriers engage in some level of feature-blocking, AT&T has been one of the higher-profile offenders of late. I'm not sure where you got the idea they were special.
Except AT&T? Right, that'd be why the slingplayer mobile for iPhone is the only one that can't utilize the cellular network.
Copy-on-write is at the block level, if I'm not mistaken, and given that data has to be written in blocks to block devices anyway it's not that big of a deal.