Not saying I fully believe that rumor, but given the massive dick-measuring contest that was Microsoft product design when I worked there, I don't find it beyond the realm of possibility.
Business executives don't care about the details of technology, they care about the whether and how that technology can deliver value in the context of their business problems.
The problem is, those two things go hand in hand. If you don't understand the details of the technology, you're highly likely to miss a bunch of nuance in understanding how (and how much) it can solve your business problems.
Now, if you as a hypothetical executive are willing to accept that you really DON'T understand the nuance, and trust those under you that do, then things are just peachy. Except that attitude doesn't often pair with the type-A personality that inhabits the C*O world, or even the VP world. What you're left with a majority of the time is someone who thinks technical details are "beneath them", but wants to make sweeping generalizations about what tech will do for their business. Due to the points above, those generalizations are nearly always wrong, and sometimes dangerously so.
I like to use an analogy in this type of discussion: Neil Gaiman once said (I'm paraphrasing) "People think an author goes off in a room for a week and stares at a typewriter. Then magic happens, they're hit by a stroke of genius, and emerge with a completed novel, fully formed. The reality is nothing like that. It takes years of hard work from multiple people, endless revisions, and is generally the opposite of magic."
Most people can connect with that. Of course an author doesn't write a 400 page novel in a fit of genius. Of course there are editors, and revisions, and revisions on revisions. We may not have an intuitive view of what all that work actually looks like, but anyone who's not a complete twit can examine that statement of reality against their preconceived idea, and sense its correctness.
Well, technology is a lot like that. Redundant failover systems don't fall from the sky fully formed. Coding API or User Interface abstractions don't leap into existence overnight. They're painstakingly nurtured from the seed of an idea by someone who's tired of facing the same problem over and over, and grown over months or years, usually while fending off a bunch of half-interested managers and coworkers who are more interested in making themselves look smart by talking loudly than in actually understanding what's being built.
You may think that higher ups shouldn't care about that, and to a degree I suppose that's right. They shouldn't care about the minute details of every technical thing to cross their desk. But damn it, they SHOULD understand the difference between good tech and shoddy tech, and what it means to their business. Because a corporate culture starts with the C*Os. And a corporate culture where proper respect is paid to the painstaking work of building quality systems can accelerate that business in a self-reinforcing process, while a corporate culture that dismisses tech as "that geeky stuff they do with computers" will almost certainly fall behind and fail as the people who know how to build stuff well get pissed off at constantly justifying doing things "the right way" to people who don't care, and eventually quit.
To go back to the analogy... how long do you think a publishing house would stay in business with a CEO who thinks that "writing is that thing where authors go off in a room for a week and magic happens"? That's essentially what this article is tacitly saying is A-OK, and for any company that's even remotely based on technology it's just as ludicrously wrong. That kind of BS may fly today because the culture is still in flux, but in the next 20 years every one of those companies is going to get lapped by another company that understands the magnifying effect technology can have on productivity, and understands it from the top down.
When you cant buy a week's of groceries (real food not ramen) for two people and stay under $80.00 you have a economic crash happening.
This is asinine. What makes $80 the limit? Why not 90? Why not 75? And what year and location are we talking about? Because in 1910 that seems excessive, while on the west coast that mark was passed over a decade ago.
When this happens, the manager who is in charge of all those people steps in and says "You will co-operate and get things done, or else you will no longer work here". Sadly, too many managers are too lazy and/or gutless to do this.
What incentive does the manager have to do this? He's the one responsible for setting all those goals that an unplanned patch is putting at risk, and he's doing it because he's on the hook for shipping certain features by a certain date. This unplanned, extra-team patch is in his way just as much as it is any of the people under him, only he's several steps removed from the technology and doesn't care AT ALL that it makes things cleaner or is technically "cool" (which any of the dev lead/test/PM set MIGHT care about, since they work more closely with the product). He has way less reason to accept random work than they do.
So then there needs to be a nationwide sales tax.
You seem awfully focused on the idea that sales tax is meant to compensate an area for the resources a business uses, but this generally isn't the case. Applying it at the purchase location spreads the money around more or less evenly, rather than concentrating it in Delaware or wherever Amazon is incorporated.
Also, you claim that Amazon "doesn't share your roads and utilities" like Wal-Mart does... but how do you think Amazon gets a package to your doorstep? They're using your city's roads, and the local last-mile UPS center uses the utilities. If you live in one of the 20-something states where Amazon has a fulfillment center, they or their subsidiary's warehouses are also using the roads and facilities. Why would you want to lock that sales tax to the one state where Amazon is legally headquartered? Frankly, that seems even worse than the current situation (where individuals are SUPPOSED to report sales tax for their online purchases, and most people are just breaking the law).
Real Americans are conservative (politically)
You might want to read some history... the actual founders of America were quite liberal for their time. Also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election,_2012
Systems programmers are the high priests of a low cult. -- R.S. Barton