Outside of the US, many cars run on a wide range of fuels (diesel, ethanol, kerosene, etc.). It's really only in the US that everyone buys cars that refuse to run except on auto-grade gasoline. Works well for the oil companies, eh?
I've seen some electric vehicles at traditional dealers, and the salespeople seem to want to sell them, and are happy to explain them. But they have a challenge that a broad product line with gas, hybrid and EV cars is complex to explain. And so far the EV cars from the traditional car companies don't seem to be as well done as the Tesla.
I suspect that part of the issue is that Tesla doesn't want to pay the huge markup, which would either inflate the car's price or wipe out Tesla's profits. Their model of taking orders and building custom cars for each buyer is much more efficient, because not only do you give each buyer exactly what they want, but you don't have a bunch of pre-built cars tying up capital. The only down-side is that you can't walk out with a car the day you walk in, though I'd think anyone spending that much money isn't doing so on impulse.
The law in NJ was written in other ways to keep Tesla out. For example, the "dealership" is required to have lots of square footage and an inventory of cars on-hand to sell. But Tesla's model is to custom build each car exactly to the buyer's specifications and delivery it to them, so they don't need or want to have an inventory of pre-built cars to sell since they won't be exactly what anyone wants (except by chance). At most they would want to have a car or two on the floor for people to look at and a car or two to test drive, but they wouldn't want to sell them.
Good point. Once music companies realized that new forms of distribution were important they started writing contracts more broadly even though they didn't know what would come along. There's an amusing story of one band who's contract licensed the music for distribution anywhere on Earth, so the band bounced their album off of the moon (laser at moon, re-digitized via telescope) to get out of the contract. Which worked, because the moon wasn't on Earth. So contracts started putting in crazy phrases like "distributed through any means, known or unknown, anywhere in the known or unknown Universe". Must have been a weird time to be a lawyer. That was all well before iTunes - the same sorts of issues came up every time there's a new format - when cassettes came out, and CDs, some old contracts had to be renegotiated. The trick with digital distribution was that there's no physical product, so the legal definition of a sale via iTunes has to be defined, and covering terms for "purchased", "rented" and "streamed", which all have different terms and pricing, none of which was in a contract from the 80s. So when I was in music ten years ago, digital distribution for pretty much every single album in the back catalog required clearance, requiring someone to track down the current rights holder and negotiate a new contract. This kept huge teams of people busy doing detective work, trying to figure out who had the rights to (for example) a jazz album from 60 years ago where the artist, agent, etc., are no longer living, or a band that split up and the legal status between the members was murky, etc. So it's only easy for the music labels to do digital distribution deals now because they spent over a decade chasing this sort of thing down and getting new contracts signed.
Easy. The economics of journals and textbooks are completely different.
Journals are cheap to produce magazines where the publisher's goal is subscribers, so individual copies don't matter much economically. And they're cheap to convert to ePub because the formatting doesn't matter so much (typically).
Textbooks are huge, expensively produced content very precisely formatted and can't simply be re-flowed into ePub because the result (after some publishers tried this with Amazon a few years ago) was completely unusable by students. For example, when a professor tells you to look at the diagram on the right column on page 47, in an ePub it would be on a random page (wherever the reader's screen size, text size, etc., flowed it). So textbook publishers that produce digital textbooks have to invested a great deal of effort making a digital textbook that's essentially a content-oriented software application sold to students. And they get paid by students buying the textbook, not by subscribers, so every copy matters.
So as a result, journals are much more open to digital distribution, allowing previews, etc., while textbooks are much more locked-down.
I worked in the music industry (in IT). I have no idea where the idea came from that the music publishers didn't have to renegotiate contracts to get digital rights to the music. In reality, when digital rights became important, the music companies spent a huge amount of time and money having teams for at least a decade tracking down rights-holders and negotiating digital rights in order to sell their back catalog, and of course made sure that their new contracts covered selling through the digital service providers. Book publishers have essentially the same legal challenge (though admittedly the details are different).
What is really different is the production logistics.
Music has been digitally produced for a very long time, using open standard formats, and for pre-digital material it's relatively easy to digitize audio (and video) from master tapes, so you only need to do "work" to deal with some very old, obscure media, which is only done selectively. And the music publishers have built systems that are very, very good at managing and format converting huge libraries of audio and video. So, 99% of the time, digitally selling back-catalog music and video is logistically fairly easy - QA, package, price, and send the files to the digital service providers.
Books, however, have been authored in a series of random formats, and for older books there's only the physical book or manuscript and nothing digital. Which means that you often need to physically scan every page in the book/manuscript, OCR it, clean it up, QA the result, etc. And even for the digitally authored books, you need to track down whatever specific physical media and formats each publisher or author used (MacAuthor on 3.5" floppy, LaTeX, MS Word 3 on 5.25" floppy, etc.). So, overall, physically and logistically really complex to deal with for every single back-catalog book.
Look at what Project Gutenberg has produced - an amazing collection, but it required a massive investment of (volunteer) effort to process the books into digital formats.
Actually, it's running break-even as it's supposed to. While the Baby Boomers were working it accumulated a surplus, and now the Baby Boomers are retiring so they're consuming the surplus. But they worked out the math decades ago and it's proceeding as planned - the system is fine. It's possible that there might need to be a few percent adjustment in a decade or two (e.g. raise the cap on taxable income, or cut benefits slightly). But that's nothing to get worked up about, unless your goal is to lie to people to panic them so that you can destroy social security because your goal is social insecurity.
That's not my goal.
Luckily the people running the social security system are responsible adults who know math, so they saved up the surplus paid in during the years the Baby Boomers were working, so there's money there to pay out their retirement benefits.
Yes, anyone who thought that they could give away the money (e.g. Bush, Jr.) instead of saving it was an idiot.
It turns out that in practice, the smaller units of government are far more corrupt than the larger ones, because there's less oversight. Sure, corruption at the federal level gets news coverage, and it should. But if you knew what was going on at the state and local levels, you'd be horrified. But they usually get away with it, because the press has been nearly wiped out at the local and regional level, and the police aren't going to challenge the politically powerful most of the time. Look at, for example, NJ, Nevada, Texas, Arizona, Pennsylvania - a series of amazingly corrupt schemes that made individual politicians, police, etc., rich but destroyed the victim's lives. And there's almost no enforcement of anti-corruption laws except at the federal level - according to http://web.missouri.edu/~milyo... 95% of corruption arrests are made by federal prosecutors (NB: often of state or local officials), meaning that local corruption can fly "under the radar" much more easily than federal corruption.
The problem with your analysis is that the money isn't going to the poor majority, it's largely going to the already well off middle class and rich minority.
Care to try again?
No. People who survive to retire collect more than they paid in, but that's paid for by people who die and thus don't collect anything. The total expenditures balance against payments, and don't require the population to be growing at all. The only ratio that has to hold is the ratio between people's working lifespan and their retired lifespan, which hasn't really changed ever. The increase in average lifespan is almost entirely driven by improved infant mortality rates; people who live to retirement live about as long now, on average, as they did 30 years ago, so the money paid in vs. paid out hasn't changed over the long term.
What did happen is that the baby boomers were a large bump in population, so as they were all working social security accumulated a huge surplus (because there were a "surplus" of people working), which is being paid out as those people retire (and there is a "surplus" of people retired), but neither of those changed the long term finances of social security, which is in (surprise) in fine shape, because the people who run the social security system are responsible people who plan decades ahead for these things because they have to.
The Texas Comptroller did the analysis, and (http://www.window.state.tx.us/specialrpt/undocumented/7conclusion.html) and the bottom line is:
EXHIBIT 18 State Costs, Revenues and Economic Impact to Texas of Undocumented Immigrants
Fiscal Year 2005
State Revenue $999.0
School Property Tax $582.1
Net Impact to State $424.7 (i.e. illegal immigrants pay $424 million more in taxes than they cost the government)
Impact on the Economy
Gross State Product $17,700.0 (i.e. illegal immigrants contribute over $17 billion to the state economy)
19% of the direct payments to go to programs for the poor/unemployed. Thus 81% go to everyone else. When you give a rich person a $100K tax break, that's as much cash as unemployment for 20 people for a year (and produces much less economic value).
Yes, the article is pure political spin. WTF is it doing on Slashdot? These periodic political rants are off-topic, and are nearly as destructive to Slashdot as the horrible beta software.
On the 'plus' side, my family hasn't had "TV" for 5 years, so Netflix/Hulu/etc., are our "TV". If's amazing how much bandwidth you can get on the same budget if you don't waste money on cable TV or land lines!