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Comment: Solution in Search of Problem (Score 5, Insightful) 816

by nealric (#49735915) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

The gas tax works. It's hard to evade and benefits from existing taxing infrastructure. The only problem is that it was never indexed for inflation. Tell me why we need a completely new system? Are people really less resistant to this than paying a few more cents a gallon at the pump?

Electric vehicles and hybrids can't be the reason. Electric vehicles still represent a tiny portion of vehicles on the road. Hybrids don't really get much better fuel economy than the tiny econoboxes of the 90s. People still drive big trucks everywhere. Since less fuel efficient vehicles also tend to be heavier, they cause a disproportionate amount of road damage (and effectively get taxed more per mile).

Comment: Not as Ripe for Disruption (Score 2) 284

by nealric (#49717395) Attached to: The Auto Industry May Mimic the 1980s PC Industry
The big difference is that the auto industry is extremely capital intensive compared to the software industry. You can't start a car company out of a garage like you could a computer company. Even Tesla (with all of Musk's cash backstopping it) almost went bankrupt trying to get off the ground. For this reason, established players have a massive advantage. The more likely scenario is not that Automakers will lose their position as automakers, but that they will be forced to purchase automation equipment from tech companies. But automakers have always used third-party component suppliers- so this would really not be a huge change for them.

Comment: Re:Ungreatful Cunt (Score 1) 214

by nealric (#49697497) Attached to: Harry Shearer Walks Away From "The Simpsons," and $14 Million
Voice acting is still acting. You can pretend to be someone else (it's a lot more convincing with characters who mostly say things like "what's up doc?"), but you can never copy someone's acting performance perfectly. If a substitute were equally as good, they wouldn't have offered $14 million to keep the original. Fox isn't a charity.

Comment: Re:Ungreatful Cunt (Score 1, Flamebait) 214

by nealric (#49693237) Attached to: Harry Shearer Walks Away From "The Simpsons," and $14 Million
No, you and I write the rules for the game. Every time you watch an episode of the "Simpsons" instead of paying to read a scientific journal, you increase the demand for the former at the expense of the latter. You can argue market failures, and they do exist (especially with respect to things like executive compensation), but market failures aren't the reason why movie stars get paid more than scientists.

Comment: Re:Ungreatful Cunt (Score 3, Insightful) 214

by nealric (#49692853) Attached to: Harry Shearer Walks Away From "The Simpsons," and $14 Million

Don't hate the player, hate the game. Pay is a function of supply and demand for talent.

Medical research is done by teams- no one person is going to "cure cancer" by force of sheer intellect. If such a thing were to happen and that person had reasonably good business sense, that person would easily become the wealthiest person who ever lived. What actually happens in the real world is that hundreds of researchers, who are actually mostly pretty fungible, perform years of grunt work to come up with a drug that marginally increases survival rates. The company keeps most of the profits because the company is what organized and bankrolled the effort in the first place.

In entertainment, the phenomenon of one-person brands means supply is necessarily limited. Only one person on earth can be Mr. Burns, and a lot of people want to see Mr. Burns. So if you want Mr. Burns on your show, you had better pay that person a lot of money. By contrast, there are hundreds of thousands of medical researchers, who are all willing to work for low six-figures or less. They, in turn, make a lot more than fry cooks, a job which just about any reasonably healthy human can perform with minimal training.

Comment: Re:You missed one option:Socialist fantasy (Score 1) 482

by nealric (#49485701) Attached to: Seattle CEO Cuts $1 Million Salary To $70K, Raises Employee Salaries
Who said anything about Janitors making the same as a skilled employee? I seriously doubt this company had many employees making much less than $50k. Pretty much all the employees were skilled to a degree, and probably most of them probably already made six figures. Most companies don't directly employ janitors these days. Everywhere I've worked, they are outsourced by building management.

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