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Comment: Re:Stupid reasoning. (Score 1) 1090

by smoot123 (#49741119) Attached to: Los Angeles Raises Minimum Wage To $15 an Hour

Funny how people forget that profits are AFTER wages and benefits.. Meaning that the billions that the top people of these companies get in wages and benefits don't count as profit.

It's hardly billions. I read an article yesterday pointing out that if the Walmart CEO got nothing (no cash, no benefits, no stock, no options), the average employee would get something between $30 and $100 a year. That's hardly going to make or break anyone's living.

Money spent expanding the company (increasing it's value) don't count as profit.

Do you think it ought to? Investing in the company to grow it is generally seen as a good thing. We've chosen to tax companies on profit, not revenue. I don't think either one is provably right, it's just a choice we made.

Money spent eating lobster and drinking fine wine on the expense account don't count as profit.

I used to work with a sales team selling to Walmart. There was a distinct lack of lobster and wine. What's your experience?

Yes, I really want to hold up Walmart.

Good, so do I.

What you're missing is the vast numbers of people they've helped. How many employees do you think they have (answer: 500,000-ish)? How about how many customers (answer: hundreds of millions)? Are you really saying you know it's better for those 1,000 people to pay more to support the one employee? How can you possibly know that?

All I can say is when Walmart has job openings, people flock to apply. It's statistically harder to get a job at Walmart than to get accepted at MIT. That tells me they're striking deals which are fantastically appealing to their applicants, much better than the applicant's next best option. What makes you so well informed and wise as to know that's the wrong decision for them? Have a little respect for the little people to let them make their own choices.

Comment: Re:"[D]ata on how much they have driven and where" (Score 1) 826

by smoot123 (#49738595) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

Journalists are part of the STATE.

Urk? In what sense? They don't work for the state, they aren't directed by the state. They tend to favor the state but that doesn't make them part of it.

Either read the fucking mileage every year or just pay whatever the national average mileage is... it's only about $150. It's dead simple, fair enough for owning a car, encourages ridesharing for those who whine that they drive significantly less than the national average, and REQUIRES NO PRIVACY INVADING GPS.

And (as others have pointed out), it's illegal. States can't legally tax my use of roads in another state (or private roads). For this to be legal, they have to know what road I'm driving on.

Comment: Re:"[D]ata on how much they have driven and where" (Score 1) 826

by smoot123 (#49738509) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

And this idea of where someone has driven being collected by government concerns no one? That's the impression you would get from the bang-up job done by the journalist authoring the article.

TFA did mention security and privacy concerns, near the end, specifically quoting the interim executive director of the ACLU. I got the impression they're definitely thinking about it. Whether that's good enough, well, color me skeptical.

Comment: Re:Wrong answer to the wrong question (Score 1) 1090

by smoot123 (#49732923) Attached to: Los Angeles Raises Minimum Wage To $15 an Hour

you are a socialist if you don't believe in minimum wage, because you want the government to fund worker's pay.

And you're a compassionate capitalist if you want people paid for their marginal productivity and are willing to use collective action via government to help out those who's marginal productivity is low enough that you can't bear to see them live like that.

Comment: Re:Stupid reasoning. (Score 1) 1090

by smoot123 (#49732869) Attached to: Los Angeles Raises Minimum Wage To $15 an Hour

1. Small businesses, who are typically operating on rather small margins anyway

Walmart (in the Fortune 1 list) operates on a razor thin margin, something like 2-3%. Exxon-Mobil's (Fortune 2) margin is something like 6%. Being big doesn't mean large profit margins. Big profits in dollars, yes, but not on a percentage basis.

Apple's margin, BTW, is north of 20%. Let's pay the Genius Bar more. Or price an iPhone lower.

Comment: Re:Stupid reasoning. (Score 1) 1090

by smoot123 (#49732835) Attached to: Los Angeles Raises Minimum Wage To $15 an Hour

"More useful" by whose definition?

By the definition of the person who has it. I have money in a bank, that's there in case I have large, sudden expenses. But I don't try to have as much as I can in a bank. At some point I've saved enough and want to use the rest. Some I invest, some I spend. Thing is, only I can tell you when I've saved enough and what I should spend the rest on (and sometimes I'm not even sure of that). You certainly can't.

Money is llike water - it can only generate power if it's moving. That 'useful stuff' you speak of often looks like putting the money behind a dam, where it does nothing to stimulate the economy.

I don't think that's a useful analogy. Money is just a way to keep track of things. The reality is I go to work every day and do useful stuff. They give me money and I use that money to buy a house. I've traded my time and skills for a house. If my employer could give me a house instead, I wouldn't need the money. Money is just more convenient for all concerned than barter.

Finally, the money I gave to the bank, do you think it just sits in their vault? It doesn't. It gets loaned out and stimulates the economy that way. That's what banks do, they move money from someone who doesn't need it right now to someone who does. I liken your image to that of Scrooge McDuck sitting in a giant safe filled with coins. I don't think that's how the world really works.

Comment: Re:Stupid reasoning. (Score 1) 1090

by smoot123 (#49732717) Attached to: Los Angeles Raises Minimum Wage To $15 an Hour

Lets look at this for a second.... Who are a businesses customers? Hint: It's the people who get paid a wage.

Uhhh, what makes you believe your employees and your customers are the same people? But moving on...

These people get more money, more businesses get more customers. More customers mean more sales. More sales means more profits.

Is it really that hard to grasp that concept?

Yes, because the math doesn't work. At the very best, this would be a break-even. The classic counter-argument is what makes $15 so special? If this works, why not $20? $30? $300? Surely at some point this doesn't keep going and we all get replaced by robots. What makes you think $15 is it? Maybe the optimal point was $5. Maybe it is zero.

Consider this thought experiment. You own a McDonalds. There's probably someone you just hired who's a pretty marginal employee. He or she burns burgers, doesn't wrap them very fast, and is clumsy on the register. You tossed around the idea of hiring the kid or buying that flashy burger flipping machine instead. You figured you'd slot the kid in mid afternoon, there aren't many people coming in so it doesn't matter he or she isn't very efficient, but it was a close call.

Now someone tells you to double that kid's wages. What do you do? That burger flipping machine seems a lot more attractive now. Maybe you'll keep the kid but give him fewer hours. Maybe you'll sadly fire him or her and buy the machine. Once you've bought the machine, you can reduce your staff even in the busy times because the Flip-O-Matic is a sunk cost. That's what economists mean when they say you have to look at things "at the margin". You have to think about what happens to the employee who was just barely worth hiring.

Finally, I think a minimum wage is just wrong on liberty grounds. I've got kids who are just starting out. They've got basically no skills or experience. The only thing they have to offer is their time. $10/hour and something to put on their resumes might be a good deal for them. Who are you and I to tell them the must hold out for $15?

Comment: Re:You're dying off (Score 1) 284

by smoot123 (#49722709) Attached to: The Auto Industry May Mimic the 1980s PC Industry

When you buy CASH (money) a vehicle, you can ask for the Manufacturers Statement Of Origin (MSO), and the dealer is obliged to surrender it to you. THIS is the actual Title. You own the car, free and clear.

OK, I stand corrected. I also stand by my statement that none of this is relevant to the discussion at hand.

And yes, there ought to be a standard for in vehicle systems such as this. But it is also in the interest of the Car Companies not to provide a standard, so that they can upsell you on the initial purchase rather than having you go to a customizing vendor to have it installed.

Yeah, that's likely true. They'd love to use the car electronics as a way to compete with other brands and they'd love to sell me a $2,500 nav system instead of letting me easily use my (already purchased) phone. But they can't upsell too much or I'll just use my phone instead and be annoyed. I'm sure marketing departments debate this all the time.

I wonder if a good system to tether a car to a phone will show up in low-end cars first. There the customers are far less likely to pony up for an expensive electronics upgrade. There might be more of a market for a phone connection.

It probably also matters how long one plans to own the car. I believe the trend is to own cars longer than in the past. They're so much more reliable people tend to hang on to them longer rather than trade them in every two to four years. If I'm going to hang onto my car for a decade, I kinda care that phone technology is going to make huge advances and my in-dash system is going to seem really clunky and ancient long before the car wears out. OTOH, lots of people lease cars so they can easily stay on the latest and greatest tech. Those people won't care about upgrading anything in the car because they won't own it that long.

Comment: Re:The Author Never Owned a Car (Score 1) 284

by smoot123 (#49722199) Attached to: The Auto Industry May Mimic the 1980s PC Industry

Large portions of the population live in rural areas where there is no good mobile data coverage, and the cars still need to work well there...So we'll always be better off using our smart phones, which update regularly, as opposed to depending on a built in system

I hear what you're saying. I could quibble about whether it's "large numbers" or not. The vast majority of people get pretty good cell coverage, probably more than 80%. Apple, Google, AT&T, Verizon, etc. are all eager to make sure this is true. From that perspective, the number without reliable data coverage is small. However, even 20% of the US is 60 million people, which is large by any count. It would be a tough call to to write them off.

(I would have guessed the issue was safety and regression testing. If I was a car company, I wouldn't want to risk getting sued when someone asserts the latest Facebook software screwed up the nav system and they followed it off a bridge.)

What I find frustrating is that the majority of us are hobbled to serve the minority. I don't want to sound mean or callous but my driving experience is being held back to ensure a good experience on the part of a small number. I don't even have an option to sign up for software updates. Sheesh, could they at least make updates available on a web site so I could download to a SD card? My dashboard has a SD card slow, fer cryin' out loud. And bluetooth, and satellite radio. Surely there's some way to distribute updates, even if it's not the same as with a cell phone.

Comment: Re:The Author Never Owned a Car (Score 1) 284

by smoot123 (#49719937) Attached to: The Auto Industry May Mimic the 1980s PC Industry

My in car entertainment system consists of a radio and whoever is in the passenger seat. Navigation comes from my smart phone. I upgrade the smart phone every couple of years, which expands capacity.

I think this is the important part. I care about my car navigation system, I use it a lot. I care about music and podcast players. I find using it using voice controls and hardware controls built into the steering wheel/HUD/dashboard is really nice. Problem is, the software and processor in my car is horrible compared to my two-year-old smartphone. Imagine how outclassed it will be when I ditch the car in 10 years? And I'd really like to configure my software and storage once and use it everywhere.

I'm hoping car manufacturers realize they can't stay ahead of the smartphones and give up. I'd much prefer to use the phone as the brain. Just give me really nice I/O devices built into the car and optimized for someone who's trying to pay attention to the road. Build in really nice sensors (radar, cameras, etc) which make the car really observant to the phone. And especially, make it much easier to upgrade the car processor and software.

Comment: Re:You're dying off (Score 1) 284

by smoot123 (#49719301) Attached to: The Auto Industry May Mimic the 1980s PC Industry

Unless you paid cash, you didn't buy a car, the bank did.

Not even technically true and even if it was, irrelevent to this discussion. In every important sense, I bought the car. I choose it based on my values, I negotiated the terms, I decide when to dispose of it. Legally I own it. The bank financed the car and has a lien on it but that's a trivial part of the transaction. I could have chosen to pay with saved cash, sold stock, borrowed from a friend, or traded in, none of which are relevant to which car I picked.

As far as the OP was concerned, cars as a platform is all about the purchase decision, which is all about me and entirely not about the financing.

To bring this back to the original comment, I certainly hope a car's electronics becomes a standard platform with attributes of other platforms, like timely updates and customization. I don't think it's going to commoditize cars any time soon. There's so much to a car other than the entertainment system (seats, engine, suspension, styling, etc. etc.). But it's certainly frustrating to have a much more capable computer in my pocket and be forced to use the lame-by-comparison one built into my steering wheel and dashboard. I'm really liking the idea of using the car as a physical I/O device for my smartphone.

Comment: Re:From what I read elsewhere... (Score 1) 335

by smoot123 (#49719187) Attached to: Stock Market Valuation Exceeds Its Components' Actual Value

Stock buybacks are keeping the market afloat, as many corporations want to keep Wall Street happy than reinvest the money back into the economy to keep Main Street happy.

Buybacks are the new dividend. In both cases, the board is saying "We've earned more money than we need (that's kinda the point) so here's your return for investing in us." The investors can then choose to invest somewhere else or spend it all on blow and hookers. All it's changing is who gets to make the investment or consumption decision (oh yeah, and the tax implications).

Sounds good to me. Unless the board needs to re-invest the money in the company, they should give the excess earnings to me.

Comment: Re:The paywalling of the Internet (Score 1) 618

by smoot123 (#49712255) Attached to: Editor-in-Chief of the Next Web: Adblockers Are Immoral

Here's my idea for a company. Who wants to invest?

You sign up with me and give me a few dollars a month. I'll then outbid every other advertiser for the right to place ads in your browser. My ads will be just blanks. You're happy, I'm happy, Google is happy, Spammer Megacorp is pissed. What's not to like?

Comment: Re:The only one who assumed it was this way alread (Score 2) 278

Yeah, the water in our reservoirs is pretty skanky, filled with algae, fish pee, and critters, yet the water coming out of my tap is perfectly clear and safe. I find it hard to believe treated sewage water is dirtier than lake and river water.

An inclined plane is a slope up. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"

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