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Comment Re:Phew... (Score 4, Insightful) 760

You've succeeded in a country rich in infrastructure and a well educated populace, both supported by public tax dollars. You can afford the fossil fuels necessary for such a trip in part because they are subsidized by further tax dollars, both in the form of direct subsidies and in military spending to guarantee us access to said resources. And you plan to take this drive on a public highway system which was built as part of one of the largest socialist economic stimulus projects in the history of the world. Congratulations. You're an asshole libertarian in the middle of a collective, and you've accomplished nothing on your own except being a giant self-deluded tool.

Comment Re:NOT a good read - deceptive and typical (Score 1) 920

Not really... even in the case you're talking about, of a person paying for another person's services out of their private income, the plumber is going to negotiate their wages in the same market you negotiated yours... that is, in terms of pre-tax income. And your negotiations of your own salary take into account the fact that you'll be paying the full price including tax for the goods and services you purchase with the salary. The result if the "double taxation" went away would be that things would be cheaper, so you'd be paid less.

And all that is ignoring the fact that the plumber only pays tax on the portion of their fee that ends up going to their personal income. Money spent on supplies, maintenance on their work vehicle, advertising costs, and generally running and expanding the business are not taxed. In practice it's more like a 5-10% tax in terms of the amount they keep out of what you pay them.

Comment Re:Waste of everyone's time (Score 5, Informative) 920

Ignoring some of the more blatant forms of stupid in that response, I'll just point out that while it's possible to traffic in bootleg cigarettes, enough people find it easier to just pay taxes on the legal version that they generate in excess of 16 billion dollars in tax revenue per year. Source: http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=403

If you hit even a small fraction of that, it would still be a pretty significant amount of revenue for cash-strapped state governments.

Comment Re:Waste of everyone's time (Score 5, Insightful) 920

I know that there is a good number of people on the internet who don't want to hear it, but legalizing marijuana just so that you can get high is a pretty selfish thing to be expecting the president to deal with. There are, and have always been, way more important issues than sending that kind of nonsense to his desk.

How about legalizing it so we can stop spending billions of dollars on cannabis enforcement, generate millions (possibly billions) in taxes on its sales, and at the same time cut off American gangs and Central and South American drug cartels at the knees by taking away control of one of their biggest products?

Comment Re:Maintenance? (Score 1) 990

This. Unfortunately none of the protesters seem to understand the reasons behind it -- they mostly appear to think it's because of political maneuvering and the rich "cheating" the system. I don't buy it... the rapid obsolescence of the working class in the US is caused by an entirely different effect than the economic disparity in the 3rd world. In our case, we've engineered millions of people out of any kind of job they can effectively or enjoyably perform, and this is the result. Unless we resort to make-work programs, these people will either have to retrain to a level that's likely drastically outside their comfort zone, or accept that they're not going to make a comfortable wage. It's a nasty choice to be forced into.

Comment Re:Maintenance? (Score 1) 990

A major news columnist, I forget who, recently proposed that maybe we are reaching the point where it is no longer a desirable social goal to have everyone in a job. I mean, the whole point of Progress is to eventually achieve a 100% unemployment rate, right?

This sounds nice until you realize that while automated labor may become essentially free, it can't change the fact that natural resources are limited. Under the current economic system, the end state is one where your own effort and labor are effectively worthless, and the only people who can afford to buy natural resources are the people who already "own" some natural resources which they can trade. Not a pretty picture.

Comment Re:Maintenance? (Score 1) 990

This only holds true if level of education among humans stays the same. We may eliminate repetitive jobs, but humans will learn new techniques which won't be easily automated.

I think you have a lot more faith in the species than I do. Do you really believe that every person on the planet is suited to do work more complex than what can be automated today? Or that even if they can, every single one would be happy doing such work? And even if that's true of future generations (assuming we fix our broken school systems), do you really think it's feasible to retrain all the people who find themselves suddenly out of a job because what they were doing just got automated?

Comment Re:More than that... (Score 1) 556

Practically any UI change, for example, feels difficult at first

The Ribbon on MS products feels difficult because it IS difficult. Instead of a menu where you're scanning a bunch of equally sized elements with text, you're scanning a bunch of unevenly sized buttons with text and icons (which often are irrelevant or misleading). In addition, nesting options on the ribbon are often signaled in conflicting ways, and the overall grouping us much more broad, and therefor less sensible than with regular menus. With enough practice you can work around it, but even after years with it, I've never found it easier to use than traditional menus.

By contrast, another fairly major UI change in the MS space is the restructured start menu and task bar in Windows 7, and in that case almost everybody who's tried it has been won over immediately. They combined concepts (running apps and pinned launchers), removed data, shuffled some things around, and made it MORE clear than it used to be.

I don't buy that a UI change necessarily has to be jarring. Yes, the bar is higher to make the concepts more clear than they used to be, but if it's done right it can be an intuitive change at the same time as an improvement.

Comment Re:MIght as well be (Score 1) 692

Seriously, everyone else in the tech industry should just give up. Apple won technology. let them have it. Everyone else in the tech industry, please go back to school. Let Linux die, let Android die, let the PC die. Everyone else should just stop right now and do something else.

Until OSX can copy more than 800 MB from a network share without the OS locking up to the point that I have to hard boot the machine, I think your claims may be a bit premature...

Apple makes shiny hardware, and nice UIs if you want to do exactly the 10 things they have decided to allow you to do. Try anything else, and you run into the walls reaaaaaally quickly.

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