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Comment True, but he still doesn't quite get it (Score 1) 674

Something you'll never hear a politician say is that one of the goals of a real economy is to eliminate jobs. But over the long term that's exactly what makes our lives better. As technology replaces labor and makes products cheaper, we as a society spend less of a portion of our income on that, and can spend more on something else, possibly something entirely new, that we desire, thus improving our standard of living.
Very few people want to a job if they don't have to have one - they want the "stuff" and leisure time that the money they earn in that job can get them.

Think about it in terms of the broken window fallacy. Say there's a window guy, who has to repair our windows every time they break. So whenever that happens, people have to spend a portion of their income to have that fixed. So small disasters (and big, if you listen to the news) look like a boon to the economy because it gets people to get rid of their money in ways they wouldn't have otherwise - without broken windows, that guy would be out of a job!

But imagine if windows never broke. The repairman would be doing something else that's valued by society, perhaps making suits. With the money that everyone saves by never having to replace windows (and technically those jos lost), we could more easily afford to get those new suits. And society is wealthier and our standard of living improves, because we have suits that it wouldn't have had if the job-killing window tech hadn't come along.

I'm not saying it's great for the repair guy in the short term. He does have to find a new line of work, just like the telephone operators did. 90% of people used to have to be farmers and the vast majority of those jobs no longer exist. But now food is so much smaller of a portion of our incomes that we can have other great things in our lives. Computers, A/C, video games, music, and more leisure, that we all desire.

Comment Re:Can they get away with it so easily? (Score 1) 159

Charging a high price is certainly not equivalent to breaking a law. If you think the price is too high, you don't have to buy it. They got bad publicity about it and reduced their prices, and that's all fine and good, but the government has no business telling a private company what they can and can't charge for their products.

If I went out in my backyard and sold pine cones for $6,000 each, we could all agree that's a bit of a high price. The fact that no one would buy them at that price, or at least very few people, would be the signal telling me that I should probably cut that down a little. And still no authority has any right to come in and force me to lower the price.

Comment Re:three words, one hyphen: (Score 5, Informative) 549

True, but it's even more nuanced than that.

Right now, the government gives tax incentives for an employee to get health insurance from their employer. So if my regular income is taxed at, say, 25%, I could either receive $10,000 worth of health care benefits from my employer tax free, or cash, which would mean I would only receive $7,500. So I'd be a fool to not get my health insurance through my employer. So the employee has a government created incentive to favor getting insurance over money. And the more medical prices rise, the "better" it is for me to choose to get the health insurance.

With a huge amount of people incentivized to get this health insurance, and use it as the way to pay for every single medical treatment they receive, and not just insurance against catastrophic accidents (a certain amount of coverage will be mandated under the Affordable Care Act) the more people completely disregard the cost of the care they receive. Do you ever see a list of services and prices posted at a hospital? They're not paying for it, so what do they care what anything costs? If they don't pay (beyond maybe a deductible) why is it worth it for them to price shop? Insurance companies can attempt to do this to a degree by restricting where people can get care or choose not to cover certain things. But these choices are being legislated away as well, and force insurance companies to cover certain things free of charge, hugely distorting the market even more.

Imagine if we bought food like we bought health care. Instead of getting cash, we'd have a government incentive to instead receive an all-you-can-eat grocery card from our employers. We'd walk into a grocery store, and there would be no prices posted, because the shoppers wouldn't care because they aren't paying anyway. Naturally prices would skyrocket as consumers no longer consider price. The government then would come in, point out the skyrocketing price of food, declare a "food crisis," and take over the whole industry. Having caused the problems in the first place.

Look at areas of medical treatment in which the government is not involved. Sadly there are very few of those, but take for example Lasik surgery. Prices for that drop every single year. Why? Because of natural market pressures. People usually pay for that out of pocket, so they naturally price- and quality shop. Lasik establishments are incented to reduce costs and improve quality. And they do.

The problem is not that it's "for profit." The computer industry is hugely profit-driven, and advances in manufacturing and assembly efficiencies drive down costs a huge amount. McDonald's prices don't skyrocket because they're for-profit. The reason problems get solved and consumers get what they want is because people can make profits providing what they want at a price they want, without government intervention. But parent is right. The problem isn't "greedy capitalism." The problem is that we have gotten so far from real capitalism, though we still think that's what we've got, and whenever something like this happens, someone points out capitalism and greed as the problem and insert even more damaging bureaucracy.

Comment Re:Just like the 100 studies saying smoking was sa (Score 1) 571

Norman Borlaug (one of the greatest people you may have never heard of), who has saved a BILLION lives through GMO crops, has said that we could feed at most 4 billion people using only organic methods.


Comment Re:Comcast isn't a monopoly everywhere (Score 2) 366

Exactly. People don't seem to realize that the reason big corporations lobby for (and often get) legislation passed in their favor is that the overreaching government has the power to change and shape the system in their favor. If the government didn't have this power to begin with, lobbying would be a fruitless endeavor. Instead, all of them tug and pull to get what they argue is "fair" for them, and all of a sudden we have thousands of tiny laws for every permutation of business out there, leaving gaping holes for rampant corruption.

Too bad, really. The Constitution was set up specifically to limit the government's power to very few, very particular things. What it does today, or tries to do, continues to astound me, and they're only pushing to make it bigger. A government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have.

Comment Re:Won't replace dogs (Score 1) 96

Follow. But! Follow only if ye be men of valor, for the entrance to this airport is guarded by a creature so foul, so cruel, that no man yet has fought with it and lived. Bones of full fifty men lie strewn about its lair! So, brave knights, if you do doubt your courage or your strength, come no further, for death awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth!

Comment Re:I'm pro-gun control, but .. (Score 1) 840

This is exactly why the Second Amendment exists. The people who wrote that amendment had just fought a war for two years against a tyrannical government. They sure as hell couldn't have done that without guns. And they knew the day would come when it would have to happen again, so they made possessing firearms a right that the government could never take away.

The Second Amendment isn't so hicks can hunt raccoons - it's so we have the means by which we can keep our government in check.

Fear the government that fears your gun.

Slashdot Launches Re-Design 2254

Today we are pleased to announce the launch of the third major re-design in our 13.5 year history, and I don't think it looks half bad. The new theme represents a serious gutting of the underlying HTML and CSS, as well as all-new graphics. There will be many design wiggles, bug squashes, and compatibility glitches that survived testing, so bear with us for a bit. Please direct your bug reports and feedback (good and bad!) to Garrett Woodworth who is currently in charge of such things. Thanks to him, Wes, Vlad, Dean, Phil and Tim, who have each worked hard to get this out the door. Juggling the needs of users, editors, and various business functions is a hard job, and you guys did good.

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