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Comment: Re:Bad Solution (Score 1) 827

by dbrueck (#49737503) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

Eliminate all use based taxes and fund all government spending via wealth based taxation. Scaled revenue taxation is better than use or sales based taxation but revenue generation benefits our economy. Wealth accumulation on the other hand is of no benefit to the economy.

Yikes! Wealth-based taxation is *incredibly* unfair and creates all sorts of unintended consequences. What would be the justification for it anyway? Simply saying it's not beneficial to the economy is hardly sufficient as there are gazillions of other things that aren't a benefit to the economy either.

"Also, it seems extremely rare to have a road lead just to one business, so the 70-90% number is probably on the high side."

I earn six figures so not low income, still my employer still bills 100% of my time out at 5 times what I make. That means 80% of the revenue I generate goes to my employer. That means anytime I travel to and from work or for anything that benefits my career my employer should be paying 80% of the cost of any wear and tear on the roads. Additionally, since I spend nearly 50% of my waking hours (aka life) producing revenue for them 80% of all government infrastructure (roads, replacement drivers licenses, medical infrastructure, police, housing, "my" share of government agency costs, defense, etc) costs that come from my life should be paid by them.

It's no different if you make $20,000-30,000/yr like most folks. Your employer still generally will be taking 70-90% of the value you generate. Therefore 70-90% of "your" share of public infrastructure and services use cost belongs to them.

I mean no offense, but to me this is full of unrelated and illogical conclusions.

- Why should your business be taxed differently based on whether you choose to walk or drive to work, or how far away you live, etc.? It seems preposterous that any of these are the business's concern, and yet that is a direct consequence of what you are proposing.
- You seem to be overstating the value you provide to your company and/or understating all of the other things that go into running a business - their many other costs, the risks they are taking on that you get to avoid, etc. *If* your value to the company is as high as you say, then it is foolish for you to be working for them. Still, you're not being held hostage, so if the relationship really is as lopsided as you think, that's your problem and not theirs.
- Regardless of all of that, the rate at which they bill out your work is so far removed from the use of the roads it's crazy.
- The business pays property taxes; they are already paying a portion of the infrastructure costs relevant to them. Trying to say that the business is somehow on the hook for activities that *you* do doesn't make sense. Let me guess, the business should also pay for your food, clothing, and housing since you need food to stay alive to work for them, they won't let you come to work naked, and because you need a place where you can rest between shifts?

Even if you think the share of someone who earns six figures vs someone who earns $20,000yr should be equal based on millage (I don't, dollars represent goods and services and $1 buys roughly 100000x less of them than $100,000 and therefore requires about 1/100000th the public infrastructure to generate).

The most fair would be for each person to bear their portion of the cost that they create. Since that isn't practical, a rough approximation is the next best thing. How much of the maintenance costs do they cause? As a rough approximation, it's proportional to the amount they use the resource (the road, in this case).

The fact that one person, for whatever reason, has accumulated more dollars is not directly relevant at all. It's just like when you go to the grocery store to buy a loaf of bread - the price is based on the cost of ingredients, the preparation costs, shipping, wages for workers, some portion of the store's overhead, some portion for profits. Nowhere in that equation is how much money you make, how hard you work, etc.

How much public roadway infrastructure do you think is used by people commuting to work for someone else? Ever been in a city at rush hour?

I have no idea what point you're trying to make here, sorry.

Comment: Re:Bad Solution (Score 1) 827

by dbrueck (#49736079) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

Interesting. Is there a practical way to address this, though? i.e. talking about roads specifically, I just wonder if the complexity of figuring out each business's fair share of road costs would spiral out of control. Also, it seems extremely rare to have a road lead just to one business, so the 70-90% number is probably on the high side.

More generally, taxing infrastructure on revenue seems filled with its own set of problems. In the US at least, business expenses are tax deductible for a reason, so if you taxed on gross revenue it'd be an unusual (and arguably unfair) precedent. If you taxed on profits then you contribute to the existing problem of punishing businesses that maximize efficiency.

The business also pays a ton of other taxes - property taxes, payroll taxes, medicare/medicaid. If you add the numbers up, it's unlikely that the business is somehow mooching off of the poor travelers on that road in any way.

Comment: Re:This is backward! (Score 1) 827

by dbrueck (#49735853) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

I kinda see your point, but wear and tear on the roads is probably more a function of amount of traffic on the roads (so to map it back to an individual car you'd need to base the tax on distance traveled).

To get more fine-grained maybe you could charge by axle weight or something along those lines but that's a refinement they could add later if needed.

Comment: Use-based taxes FTW (Score 1) 827

by dbrueck (#49735799) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

Assuming there is some transparency to ensure accuracy of the calculations and there is some oversight to ensure the bulk of the money really does go to paying for roads, this seems like a great idea. As a taxpayer, anytime I can see a pretty direct link between my taxes and the taxes being used for something sensical, that's a good thing.

Ideally they'd eventually roll this out to everyone regardless of car type but /also/ leave in place some portion of the gas tax so there's some ongoing incentive towards efficient or alternate fuel vehicles.

Comment: A poorly made point, but still a point (Score 1, Insightful) 618

by dbrueck (#49710873) Attached to: Editor-in-Chief of the Next Web: Adblockers Are Immoral

I hate ads, I use an ad blocker, but I'm posting because so far all of the comments have chastised sites for using ads, without providing an alternative.

The summary has some truth when it says, "for all their sins, ads fuel much of the Web". It costs real money to host a website, it costs real money to run a website, it costs real money to produce the content for a website.

So my question to all of those infuriated by those content producers who would "dare" to try to protect their ads is this: what viable alternative do you suggest? Ads work because (a) they generate revenue to cover all of those costs and (b) they don't require any sort of opt-in, and (c) apart from a few places where they are overdone, they generally don't get in the way of the content you're seeking.

(a) is what helps the bulk of websites you frequent stay afloat, (b) is important because the websites don't have to spend considerable resources trying to get you to enter into some sort of financial arrangement with them, and (c) provides a bit of a standard so that a marketplace of ad buyers and sellers can exist.

So again, if we were to get rid of ads, what would we replace them with? Paywalled sites don't get much love on /. so if that's your answer, I'd love to hear how you'd make them tolerable and how you'd get people to sign up.

I hate ads, and I use an ad blocker, but I do so knowing full well I'm being somewhat of a hypocrite and that I'm also relying on the vast majority of people /not/ using an ad blocker, because if a lot more people starting using them then the economics for most websites would fall apart. I don't like ads, but I have to admit that in many ways they seem like the least bad option. It's seems that many people who scream about their "right" to not have ads are being disingenuous or ignorant or both.

Comment: Re:A gem from the discussion (Score 1) 324

by dbrueck (#49594851) Attached to: Mozilla Begins To Move Towards HTTPS-Only Web

Good point. Yet another example is in-flight wifi like Gogo - not only do those guys rely heavily on caching, they'll even do things like recompress jpegs on the fly to be smaller. I'll sidestep the debate around whether that is good or bad, but another consequence of HTTPS-only web is that stuff like that has the potential to get even slower.

Comment: Re:A gem from the discussion (Score 3, Informative) 324

by dbrueck (#49594285) Attached to: Mozilla Begins To Move Towards HTTPS-Only Web

I do worry about the downsides of this in terms of how it'll cause higher load on servers because of higher traffic. That said, all major CDNs support HTTPS on the edges and non-HTTPS between the origin and the CDN, so they'll be fine. Where this will probably hurt more is with forward proxies at universities and businesses and transparent intermediate caches at ISPs.

Comment: Re:BASIC (Score 1) 315

by dbrueck (#49446579) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Introduce a 7-Year-Old To Programming?

I've dabbled a bit in Kivy myself, but hadn't considered it for the kids - that's an interesting idea, and using the kivy launcher would let them get to see their program running on the device while avoiding the tedium/delay of building a full apk. I think it's a little beyond where they are at now but it could be the next-next stepping stone for them - thank you for the suggestion.

Comment: Re:BASIC (Score 2) 315

by dbrueck (#49442779) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Introduce a 7-Year-Old To Programming?

Haha, yeah - ironically it seems like it was far more accessible back then in a way. You could reasonably know a little bit (or even a lot) about nearly everything, and when you did use something higher level you knew pretty much everything about how it worked behind the scenes.

Speaking of BBSs, and an example of what was enough to catch my interest back then, I once wrote TDSANSI.SYS, a drop-in replacement for the standard ANSI.SYS. It extended the set of ANSI escape sequences so you could do higher level things like drawing text boxes or repeating characters, the net result being that a BBS could do their "fancy" UIs in far less characters sent across the wire. The funny thing was that people who used it loved the speed but couldn't stand the fact that it used like 40KB of their 640KB of RAM. ;-)

I think I was in high school at the time and it was a ridiculously nerdy project, but that was something I really got into, and yet I can't imagine asking my high school son to think in those terms nowadays. I'm guessing that's part of what needs to change - just because I came up through learning a certain path, it doesn't mean that's a good or practical way to do it anymore. Basically nobody needs to work at that level these days, so it only makes sense that he'd focus on more of an application level.

Comment: Re:BASIC (Score 5, Insightful) 315

by dbrueck (#49442373) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Introduce a 7-Year-Old To Programming?

I guess in some ways I got into programming because computers were a novelty and there wasn't an endless supply of free stuff, so in many ways programming was the entertainment. But now there is gobs of relatively high quality and free stuff to entertain that also /sort of/ scratches the builder itch (as I write this, my son is sitting nearby on the free-to-play Robocraft).

So the "problem" is that there is an endless stream of stuff competing for my kids' attention that (a) is of a quality leagues beyond anything they can hope to do anytime soon and (b) gives /some/ of the same "fix" I get from programming. Back in the olden days the gap between what you could do with e.g. BASIC and what you saw in commercial apps looked a lot smaller.

I'm always searching for something that does a good job of being an intermediate level - I can get my kids to do a lot of the intro / visual programming stuff and they like it, but then they run into this seemingly huge chasm when they try to go beyond that. It's like, "ok, so now you made a rudimentary game that runs inside this special environment on some website. You want to advance to something more flexible? Ok, um, now we need to talk about files and directories and a whole slew of tools and junk you never knew existed or were needed. Also, prepare to start typing a lot and using all those punctuation characters you rarely use in school assignments. And don't get me started if you want to get your little game onto a device so you can show your friends!"

On the one hand I think it's just part of getting into "real" programming and they just have to suck it up and deal with it. But I really think one or two of my kids could really get into programming and really like it, but I've yet to help them get over that hump from super basic stuff.

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (9) Dammit, little-endian systems *are* more consistent!

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