So right on, cayenne8! I've been screaming about this runaway growth in government spending for years now. Some have clearly gotten the message, but President Obama certainly has not. He just advocated a cut of $400 billion over 10 years. I think he's hoping people will hear $400 billion in cuts and assume he's talking about per year amounts. $400 billion over a decade in government cuts translates to (I know the math is challenging here) $40 billion per year, when we're running $1.5 TRILLION deficits per year. He also called for a freeze at the current post so-called "Stimulus" hyper-inflated government spending levels. And he thinks that's going to cut with people concerned about deficits and debt? He must think that portion of the American public is dominated by ignoramuses.
Federal spending needs to not be frozen or cut with a scalpel (like Obama advocated during the election), it needs to be slashed with a machete. Will that government workers in our bloated federal bureaucracies out of jobs? Certainly it will - it has to. The American people can't afford to pay for the scale of unnecessary, unconstitutional government. All sectors of government spending need to be slashed - Discretionary, Non-Discretionary (Entitlements) and Defense. It's important to point out for those on the Left who blame the wars for the deficits that less than two years of spending on Entitlements (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid) equal ten years of spending on the War on Terrorism - and that figure is based on numbers from a year ago. The Baby Boomers are going to cause the Ponzi Retirement Schemes to collapse as they begin retiring en masse this year. Social Security is already now running an annual deficit, which wasn't predicted to happen for a number of years. Anyone who doesn't demand huge reform wants those schemes to go bankrupt. I'm calling you out, Left-wingers who say no changes are necessary.
The only thing that President Obama said on the debt problem that was at all worth saying was that Discretionary spending only accounts for a small fraction of total spending - about 9 to 12%. The rest of the pie needs to be massively reduced. Will it cause higher unemployment and lower GDP in the short term? Certainly. But that employment and GDP is based on a phony economic model anyway - one that says that we can endlessly spend and not care about our deficits and debt, not worry that Debt Service (interest on the national debt) will in a short number of years be more expensive than our current Defense spending levels. That's unsustainable. Anyone on the Left who says we can't cut or we can't make changes to the Ponzi Retirement Schemes because it will hurt old people is advocating the destruction of the country. It's really just that simple.
While a lot of your post is correct, you are mistaken about some of your claims. Inter vivo giving (gifts to family members during a giver's life) is limited to $13,000 a year tax free. And trusts do not in and of themselves shield against the death tax (a.k.a. the estate tax). Trusts are more efficient and protective than regular wills, but they don't bypass the death tax. I know because my beloved grandmother passed away in 2009, and we're still dealing with the complications of the death tax. I've had to become well acquainted with all of these issues because I've been acting as the family representative to my grandmother's financial professionals.
If you do the research you'll see for yourself that trusts don't shield you from the death tax. Instead, clients that may be hit by the death tax are usually sold insurance policies that are designed to pay in excess of the death tax liability. It's true that taxes on inheritance are nothing new in the US and that the Bush-era tax cuts made the death tax less oppressive, but it still does have impacts on American families that have accrued moderate assets. By the way, another thread discussed Warren Buffet. He has very dishonestly called for higher death taxes because he owns a corporation that sells death tax protection policies.
Death tax relief was extended through 2012 by the emergency tax compromise at the end of 2010.
See this recent informative article on the death tax for more information.
iOS and Mac OS X are much more similar to each other than base Unix is to OS X. iOS is OS X in most all respects. iOS's hardware support and services are paired down to run on a very small number of static hardware devices (i.e. devices that don't have any hardware upgrade potential), and its user interface elements are quite different. It runs on the ARM processor family where Mac OS X doesn't (at least not publicly). It has some additional components and APIs for mobile uses that Macs don't need.
But aside from that, it is OS X. Its file system structure is nearly identical when you peer into it, which tells you a lot about how the OS architecture. iOS has many of the same system file components and runs many of the exact same services. Its programming environment (Xcode) and programming language (Objective C) are shared with Mac OS X. Apple pulled Mac OS X developers off to help speed the original version of the iOS to market, and we've also heard that improvements in OS X have gone into iOS. Should I go on?
Microsoft still holds the copyrights to its software and therefore the distribution rights, so no, Intel can't just buy it retail and sell it in a manner that Microsoft disapproves of. Besides, it would be financially unworkable for Intel to have to buy retail licenses to sell these hypothetical Windows 8 phones. If Microsoft isn't on board it can block Intel legally and very definitively on copyright grounds. Besides that, check out the ruling in Omega v. Costco. IANAL.
I forgot to mention that I just started using my brother's Samsung Intercept, the first Android phone I've had any real user time on. And while I found the extra hardware capacitance and mechanical buttons useful, as a primarily iOS user (for my casual gadgets) I found the change in interface jarring. The large enter button in the middle of the layout had me trying to use it as a Home button just because of my muscle memory. The triangle back button isn't as elegant and harder to find. And I prefer my on-off button to be a small nub on the top of the device instead of on the face. I know that's largely because I've been such a heavy user of the iOS, but its interface works really well and I'm very accustomed to it. Changing it in such a fundamental way by removing the bottom Home button is idiotic.
For those who are curious, my impression of the Android platform so far is that it's generally less polished and less elegant than the iOS platform, but on the other hand Android is definitely more powerful and very satisfying to my geek side in the way that it exposes much more of the technical layer to the user. I also respect the platform's openness. I probably won't be switching to Android from iOS any time soon, unless, perhaps Apple borks the iOS interface by removing the Home button!
I have to hope beyond hope that this is just a really stupid rumor. Removing the iconic bottom home button from the iOS line would be very destructive, and replacing it with a complicated multitouch gesture would be adding insult to injury. If this feature is currently in a pre-release of the iOS, I seriously don't expect it to become an interface standard let alone the replacement for the Home button. However, I have a theory about this rumor and what may actually happen to the Home button (if anything) that I'll share at the end of this post.
The iOS's physical home button is a hallmark of the design and common to the whole iOS platform. (The feature-loss suffering new touch nano can be raised as an exception, but it's not technically an iOS device and I hope it's not indicative of a trend.) People know the home button well. They know that you can leave a foreground app with a simple tap of the home button. Yes, it's gained more functionality in certain areas and is therefore a little more complex now, but the button still works largely the same way. Depriving users of that nearly universally known interface convention would create major problems for users and engender a metric ton of bad will among the modern Apple user base that is increasingly being lured by very good alternatives on other platforms. And the notion of replacing the Home button with a complex multi-touch screen gesture that no current user will be familiar with means Apple would be destroying the well established muscle memory of its customers for an essential device function. It's utterly ludicrous!
The Home button also has important functionality that can't be ripped out and replaced with some lame software-only, complex multitouch gesture. Even if the multitouch gesture is easy to perform, using five fingers to do something by way of software is still always going to be more difficult than using a single finger on a physical interface. Moreover, it would be a mistake of extreme, proportions - an epic, epic fail - to make going "Home" something you have to do by pressing the screen in an unusual way. My mind can't even fully wrap around all the usability problems such a scheme would introduce. It would complicate the user interface considerably. The screen and multi-touch paradigm are already used for so many different things in software. Also, have you ever seen how users interact with multitouch in certain apps? There are visualizer apps that encourage the user to use multiple fingers. Sometimes users will just play around with the device by placing all five fingers on the screen in various ways. Does Apple really think it's a good idea to make that into a home screen gesture? If the company does, I say look out, and buy stock in competing device manufacturers.
Anyway, I'm tired of writing on this topic. Apple may be experimenting with this concept, but I seriously doubt it will replace the Home button. However, it is true that the Home button can be a source of mechanical breakdown. We also know that Apple likes to replace physical buttons in unconventional ways (look at their modern Mac mouse and trackpad designs). It's very possible in my opinion that the Home button will be replaced in the future, but it won't be taken off the bottom of the device. The physical nature of the button may go away. They may change over to a pseudo click button like their modern desktop mouse/trackpad designs. Or, I don't see why Apple couldn't move to a fully non-mechanical capacitance based button like the iPod 3G had from way back when. I loved that iPod. The Home button may change in physical form, but unless Apple's designers and management have lost their minds it won't disappear from the bottom of the iDevices completely.
I don't want to be young again, I just don't want to get any older.