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Comment: Back into the tarpit (Score 1) 59

Okay, so South Korea's going to issue new ID numbers to people. What is that going to accomplish? The current ones appear to do plenty well for identification; it's only a problem if they're going to use a number that people can't change and which they have to share with a lot of other people as authentication. In other words, if they're not plain stupid about it. It's like my Social Security number: I got it as a child, and I can't change it, and at the very minimum every employer and financial institution I deal with needs to get and keep a copy. I have to give out the last four digits even more often, yet if somebody knows when and where I got my SSN they can make very good guesses at the first five. (It's worse now than when I was young, since newborns get numbers now, so they can be claimed as dependents. When I was young, I had to get one but not in such a restricted time interval.) Yet, if somebody gets my number, they can cause me a great many problems, and I can't track back to see which incompetent institution leaked it and get restitution from them.

What's going to happen, after the Koreans spend all that money, is that the fraud conveniently (for financial institutions) labeled "identity theft" is going to go way down, and then the bad guys will start getting IDs again from various sources, and then we're going to see this whole thing all over again. As long as somebody can pretend to be Park Geun-hye by knowing her ID number, nothing's going to improve.

Comment: Re:Maybe I imagined it... (Score 1) 381

by david_thornley (#48172629) Attached to: Torvalds: I Made Community-Building Mistakes With Linux

Um, where are you going with this? Are you arguing that everybody should be free to get their pet project into Linux? Linus doubtless makes bad decisions sometimes. We all do. Turning down good ideas now and then is much preferable to letting good and fairly good projects get into the kernel on a regular basis, and an idea that is good in isolation may be wrong for a particular project.

Comment: Re:Divergence (Score 1) 153

Directed evolution can't be ruled out. We can't easily tell a random process from a process some entity wanted to look random. There's no evidence for it, but it fits nicely with some people's religious beliefs. Intelligent Design makes sense only as a variation on directed evolution. (I do know one scientist who does believe personally in directed evolution, for religious reasons.)

So, most of us don't have a problem with you sitting in your room and believing in directed evolution. Some of us have a problem when you post to Slashdot about it. If you could provide actual evidence, which you can't, or even say how it's falsifiable, I think it would go over better.

Comment: Re:Progressive Consumption Tax (Score 1) 818

by david_thornley (#48169899) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

In other words, the rich get by easy because they tend to spend a lot less of their income, compared to the middle classes, on consumption. I really want most people who make a lot more than I do to pay at least as much in taxes as I do, proportional to income. I'm not even asking for a progressive tax above my income. I'm not interested in any new tax scheme that looks like it's not going to fix that.

Comment: Re:summary contradicts itself (Score 1) 818

by david_thornley (#48169857) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

Gates' point seems to be that developing countries are getting richer at a faster pace than wealthy countries, and that is causing global incomes to become more equal. From what I've read about Piketty, he was more concerned with the US as a whole. So, Gates saying that global inequality is shrinking and Piketty saying that US inequality is increasing do not contradict each other.

Comment: Re:Let me get this right (Score 1) 818

by david_thornley (#48169623) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

Not just a factor of ten; clout is probably more proportional to disposable income. If B makes $100K/year, and has a comfortable lifestyle costing $90K/year, B has $10K that goes into, among other things, political action. If A makes $1M/year, and has a lavish lifestyle costing $300K/year, then A has $700K/year to B's $10K.

Comment: Re:Let me get this right (Score 1) 818

by david_thornley (#48169559) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

The big problem is the reliance on consumption taxes. Consumption as a percentage of income goes down as income goes up, on the whole, making it fundamentally regressive. This regressive tendency is partly alleviated at some level, but it's still there for the middle class. (Then again, the middle classes currently pay more tax, proportionately, than the rich, so I don't know if it would make that any worse.)

I'd also expect, perhaps mistakenly, taxes to fluctuate more than they do now as the economy goes up and down, but if you're a Keynsian that's not a bug but a feature.

Comment: Re:Let me get this right (Score 1) 818

by david_thornley (#48169491) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

Rich people tend to spend less of their income than poor people, and hence consumption taxes tend to be regressive, with the poor paying proportionately less than the rich. I'm not exactly rich, but a fair chunk of my income goes into investments rather than being directly spent.

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