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Comment Re:I agree with everything you wrote (Score 1) 468

For #1, you basically have to shift the tax burden from personal incomes, which will be dwindling anyway as jobs get automated, to something else that basically amounts to "tax the work the robots do." Whether that's corporate taxes or capital gains taxes or something, I don't know - but this isn't exactly unprecedented, because we used to rely primarily on tariffs and duties, and only switched to income taxes around the end of the 19th century.

The second will be a bit harder, because it's going to require a paradigm shift. This is why I think a universal basic income program is a better alternative than expanding current welfare problems. It's one thing if "those people are getting a free ride while I work for what I get" versus "I get the same check they do, plus I get extra since I work too."

Comment Re:Why can't they roll it back? (Score 3, Insightful) 78

Inflation is the short answer, yes. There's a bit more to it though.

The more detailed answer is that "money", whether it's physical bills/coins, bitcoins, or digits in an account on a computer, is just a proxy for real things - goods and services. Direct barter is pretty inefficient, in terms of time/effort/etc, so we abstract it with money. Now, while there's really no upper or lower bound on how much 'money' there is, there's a finite amount of physical goods and other productivity in the economy at a given time. Ideally, we'd have a perfect 1:1 ratio so that the amount of money flowing around matches the amount of physical goods/etc. In practice it's pretty difficult to actually do that to an exacting amount, so keeping it reasonably balanced is one of the primary responsibilities of a country's central bank, like the Fed.

The economy is generally growing, which means more goods and services, which means more money is needed to keep pace. Inflation isn't inherently bad, not in small amounts. It's only when inflation goes high that it gets bad. More importantly, negative inflation (deflation) is really really bad, because in that situation, the economy grinds to a halt because nobody wants to spend money (because it'll be worth more tomorrow), and we get into a nasty cycle that's hard to break out of - one that usually requires a lot of inflationary pressure to counteract, such as printing money or a central bank injecting more funds like the Fed did. Otherwise, if the government isn't willing to do enough, you wind up like Japan with your economy stuck in neutral for a decade or two.

So back to the question of reimbursement for bank theft losses - sure, you could probably absorb one or two of these without any real economic impact. The problem tends to come in the long run when you've established a policy of doing so, because it can quickly get out of control - try explaining why you'll reimburse Alice but not Bob for their losses.

Comment Re:Why can't they roll it back? (Score 4, Informative) 78

In theory they could.

The basic problem is that it's equivalent to the Russian government printing 2 billion rubles and handing it to the bank to replace a physical theft. There's still the matter of the stolen 2 billion rubles floating around out there. If you don't deal with that somehow, by tracing it down and freezing/deleting it (at which point you're effectively returning it), then all you've done is magically create 2 billion rubles.

Needless to say, this can lead to some serious problems in the long run.

Comment Re:Nope (Score 2) 468

Why do they have to remain though? What happens when we just don't need that many people working in jobs that pay sufficiently well to qualify as "middle class"? Manufacturing is up in the USA, but manufacturing _employment_ is way down.

Incidentally, Friedman also supported the most reasonable solution to the problem we'll be facing - a universal basic income. When you get past the initial fact that it's handing money out to people (via Government), it's actually a surprisingly libertarian/capitalistic solution. No need for huge bureaucracies overseeing multiple different benefit programs, just someone to sign and send out the checks. No more need for a minimum wage - the market can freely price human labor at appropriate rates, because nobody -needs- their job to survive.

People won't stop working, either. It's just not in our nature. Look at the military, where people can retire with a significant paycheck as early as 38. Do they stop working and play video games all day? Some might, but most just get a new job in the civilian world and combine that pay with their retirement. You'd see people go back to school, or maybe stay home to take care of kids (which is itself a full-time job, just not a paid one).

Most importantly, basic income would keep the economy functioning in a world where most of the productivity was generated by machines, by maintaining the supply and demand signals.

Comment Re:No worries (Score 1) 56

It's not exactly what I'd call a good sign, though.

And no, while the FCC isn't supposed to be "politicized", its structure expressly states that there will be two commissioners for each party, and the chair will be from the President's party. The President doesn't get to dictate the policy, but that doesn't mean his choice won't have a huge impact on the policies they pursue.

Comment Re:This won't end badly.. (Score 1) 191

You think they'd actually go to court?

Far more likely they'd just immediately knuckle under to the MPAA/RIAA/etc and grant them the power to basically demand that a given user get cut off from the internet, without so much as a chance to defend themselves. That's what the media cartels REALLY want.

Worse, most of the media owners increasingly now ARE your ISP, so they wouldn't even have to go to court, just send over an interoffice email.

Comment Re:Pay attention. (Score 1) 153

In fairness, this isn't a 100% left/right divide, although there seems to be more opposition from Democrats than Republicans. That said however, the important thing is to remember who voted for which, and work to get those people out of office. And the best way to do that? Most likely through support of primary opponents that make an issue of this.

Comment Re:It's not just Social Media (Score 1) 220

Some to a greater or lesser degree, certainly, and different voices can have different degrees (or types) of opinion/slant, but it's there nonetheless. It's also accompanied in many cases by a strong push to distrust the "mainstream media", which usually means "everyone that isn't us." To be sure there's more of that on the right than the left, but it does exist on the left nonetheless, and for both sides it generally amounts to "the rest of the media isn't covering things we want, the way we want."

And this isn't necessarily a terrible thing, because it's very hard to be -completely- neutral. The problem is that most people are just not equipped to perform the kind of critical thinking required to find the actual truth amid conflicting stories and sources. Most didn't grow up with having to do so, and haven't adapted to the new environment. This isn't the first time it's been like this though - we can go back to older periods of time when the news was similarly partisan and fractured, and the world didn't end. We can also look at other english-speaking countries that have heavily partisan media, and the world didn't end there, either. If anything, the period we had in the late 20th century where the "News" was seen as inherently trustworthy and neutral was an anomaly.

Comment Re:Time for the Chinese citizens to start shooting (Score 1) 204

Just so you know, making ridiculous attempts to turn an issue into an absolute binary is actually counterproductive in the long term for you. Gun control, like many issues, is not an absolute binary of "Total Freedom" or "Complete Ban". There are many, many reasonable positions in between, and just because I may happen to think that we shouldn't have fully automatic weapons available in vending machines on the street corner doesn't mean that I want some draconian style gun ban. When you treat considerations and measures that are arguably reasonable with hysterical responses that conflate them with total gun bans, all you're doing is pushing those people towards that very viewpoint. It may not be immediate or even fast, but at some point some of them will start to say "you know, what would be so bad about that anyway, if the only alternative is something I already think isn't so great?" It's the same thing with so many other issues, too.

Not every suggestion about regulation of guns, gun sales, or the like is a slippery slope intended to turn us into Britain or Australia, never-mind China. It's certainly fine to disagree there, or for that matter, to disagree with Clinton on things she proposes - but is it that much to ask for calm and rational opposition and discussion, let alone opposition to things she's -actually- proposing rather than what Right Wing media claims she wants to but won't talk about?

Comment Re:"H1-B skilled worker visas" (Score 5, Insightful) 184

This, exactly.

These companies, and the companies that hire them, are performing an end run around the restrictions of the law that completely subverts the intent. Specifically, they do this by acting as a middleman, so that a company like Disney (http://money.cnn.com/2016/01/25/technology/disney-h1b-workers/) or SoCal Edison (http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-edison-layoffs-20150211-story.html) doesn't actually 'replace' a US worker with an H-1B. Instead, they simply subcontract out the positions (or the entire department) to a company like one of these, who just happens to employ H-1B visa holders working at a cheaper rate.

This is the loophole that needs to be closed. These companies constitute the lion's share of H-1Bs, and make a mockery of the ones who are actually higher-paid expert workers in critical demand.

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