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Comment Re:A fool and his money... (Score 1) 539

"Go read the definition of what a Ponzi Scheme is again."

Ponzi scheme: new money coming in (in increasingly larger amounts) is necessary to make payments to prior participants, and any interruption in the new money coming in results in no payments to prior participants and the whole thing collapses.

Insurance: new money coming in is mostly saved so that future payments can be made from this saved amount. Once a large enough risk pool is achieved, no new money coming in is necessary to provide for payment to prior participants.

Unlike Ponzi schemes, insurance companies are at all times required to have adequate funds to pay expected claim payments, and insurance companies are regularly shut down (no new money) and wound down (payments made to prior and current participants) without significant problems. Completely contrary to Ponzi schemes.

N.B. I don't consider U.S. Social Security a fully-funded insurance program because it is not, it is more akin to a Ponzi scheme where funds from new participants allows for payments to prior participants, but it isn't a Ponzi scheme because that term loses meaning when applied to a multi-generational societal structure, with an indefinite time period and probable increasing population or new participants (and/or temporary in/out disconnects are manageable assuming multi-generational reversion to the mean).

Comment Re:Oh boy....imagine if Mozilla did this in Firefo (Score 1) 93

" a tiny non-profit charity"

Mozilla is not tiny AT ALL, and it is an absolute wonder how development of a web browser and a maintenance-mode email client cost $317 million per year, or require a $261 million (and growing) endowment. From the Mozilla Foundation's 2014 Annual Report:

$261 million - Net Unrestricted Assets at the end of year

$329 million - Net Unrestricted Revenue over the year
$317 million - Total Expenses over the year

Expense include:
$212 million - Software Development
$ 40 million - Branding & Marketing
$ 38 million - General & Administrative
$ 13 million - Program Services

Comment Re:I stopped reading (Score 1) 760

"The poor benefit handsomely..."

Oh yes, the sweet, sweet luxuries of being poor! I never realized how nice it must be to need SNAP to feed your hungry child and file EITC so you can barely afford both a shitty apartment AND clothes. They just don't realize how good they have it, those ungrateful poor bastards, that they aren't starving and homeless. The nerve...

"The poor get outright handouts at tax time and mostly end up paying no federal taxes at all."

BECAUSE THEY'RE POOR. What would you have them do, pay 15% of their not-enough-to-eat wages so they can "feel the burden" even more than they already do? Would you kick a man who's down because he didn't have the foresight to not be on the floor, or would you offer him a hand? Ah, the very best of "I got mine, Jack!".

"I think someone should read up on the "Earned Income Tax Credit"."

And I think someone should read up on ALL of the tax expenditures, including those that accrue to the middle-class and wealthy, before claiming that assistance to the poor is too much. The largest tax expenditures clearly benefit the middle-class and wealthy, not the poor. Tax preferences for employer-provided health care, lowered capital gains rates, retirement savings deductions, and mortgage interest deduction, all cost MUCH more than SNAP, TANF, and the EITC.

Source Material to Start Reading: , starting at page 47

Comment Re:Yeah, right... (Score 1) 173

"this doesn't appear to be about predictions, as much as stolen copies of scripts or something."

But TSDF isn't implying that they are going to release a copy of the full script, which would be a copyright violation, but rather the simple name of a character. If, per Twin Peaks, they don't accompany that with substantial verbatim excepts from the script, then it is quite likely that the release of a name would be be fair use (if the publication of a characters name would even violate copyright at all, which if it didn't wouldn't even need a a fair use exception)

Comment Re:It can't happen (Score 1) 163

"he would probably get sued for taking an action that traded a billion or two dollars of pure profit for "good will." From a fiduciary responsibility perspective, it would be just cut and dry."

Cut and dry, but not in your direction at all. Nadella might be sued, but he would definitely win.

Corporate fiduciary responsibility does in no way mean that a business decision must maximize short term profits.

The Business Judgment Rule means that unless Nadella had self-interest, self-dealing or operated in bad faith, he is presumed to have not violated his corporate duties. "The business judgment rule is very difficult to overcome and courts will not interfere with directors unless it is clear that they are guilty of fraud or misappropriation of the corporate funds, etc."

Comment Re:The wrong judicial circuit (Score 1) 253

Further, some background about why this case is in the 3rd Circuit (which covers NJ) and not the 2nd (which covers NY): "the Associated Press reported that the New York Police Department sent plainclothes officers to Newark (NJ) businesses owned or frequented by Muslim people, took photographs of 16 mosques and mapped them."

The lawsuit, by New Jersey citizens over actions conducted in NJ by the NYPD, was filed in the 3rd Circuit District Court, and then appealed to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals.

Some further background on the NYPD Intelligence Bureau and its extra-jurisdictional activities:


Comment Re:Do damage to Bitcoin's reputation??? (Score 1) 185

"The only reason people don't invest in US currency"

WTF?!?! USD$ paper money and all U.S. Treasuries (bills, note and bonds) are the same thing - obligations of the U.S. government that are freely tradeable in economic markets. There is $13 trillion in US federal debt held by the public, which is another way of saying that people invested $13 Trillion in paper obligations denominated in US Dollars, issued and backed by the U.S. federal government - i.e. US currency. An additional $1.4 trillion exists in paper money and coins, which people willingly receive in exchange for value delivered - i.e. wealth invested in US Dollars

In addition, there is $4 trillion notional traded daily in foreign currency exchange markets, a good chunk of which has US Dollars involved as the underlying reference asset in one form or another.

And finally, virtually all of the $18 trillion annual US Gross Domestic Product (2015) are financial exchanges that are denominated in US dollars. Every time I receive my wages paid in USD instead of goods, services, Euros or gold, I am investing my labor in US Dollars.

tl;dr: you're incorrect - lots of people invest lots of money/wealth in US Dollars every single day.

Comment Net Present Value (Score 2) 265

The net present value of annual payments of $531.36 over 58 years, at a discount rate of 3%, is $14,958.

Meaning if you set aside $15,000 today in an account earning 3%, you'd have enough money to make those 58 annual payments of $531.36. Per your scenario, the actual cost of the tax increase is about $15,000 per household (consisting of more than one taxpayer on average)

And if Dougherty's property tax millage rate is fully amortizing the bond, then those payments aren't for 58 years, but for the life of the bond, which is probably 30 years. In which case the NPV drops to $10,727 per household.

Not sure where you're getting $369,826 per taxpayer from.

Comment Self-insure (Score 1) 204

"However, the cost for insurance will simply be added on top of the contract, so the tax payer pays for it either way. In fact, with insurance, the tax payer will pay more on average than without insurance."

Exactly, and this is a good reason to NOT pay a third party for insurance.

Insurance exists for infrequent casualty events that you do not have the balance sheet or liquidity to manage on your own, so you contract out for someone to provide you that balance sheet / liquidity, at a cost to you. For Property & Casualty insurance, the underwriter is certainly NOT looking to pay more claims that they collect in premiums (although they might pay up to 95+% of premiums as claims; they make most of their income on investing the float), and thus the average policy holder pays more in premiums than their mere risk alone would indicate.

In this case, the government should either demand a discount from SpaceX in order to absorb the risk of launch loss, or require an indemnity from SpaceX to cover the cost of recreating (some of) the payload, or somewhere in between. But both SpaceX and the US Government have deep enough pockets that they do not need to assistance of a third party to manage the resulting cash flow, at a net cost to them both. Launch losses are a cost of doing business - pricing + negotiating power can shift those financial risks between the parties as needed, but self-insure the launch to keep as much money as possible from leaking outside the tent to third parties.

Comment Re:Non-profit revenue streams (Score 1) 531

Mozilla (as of their 2013 financial report) had $250 million in net assets, and during the year received $306 million in 'royalties' and spent $295 million ($200mm on software development, $45mm on branding/marketing, and $30mm on general admin).

The Wikimedia Foundation (as of their 2014 financial report) had $54 million in net assets, and during the year received $50 million in donations/support and spent $46 million ($20mm on salaries, $20 mm on other, $5 mm on grants/awards. Only $3mm spent on hosting and service expenses).

There is no reason that these entities require that kind of cash flow, and need to spend that much money. Non-profit =/= money spent efficiently or effectively, and the people running these entities have managed to get themselves a very sweet deal by controlling what should in all rights be a community-led structure, and dipping their greedy snout in the stream of cash flow.

For those reasons alone, I refuse to support either of them. It is greed and control writ large.


Comment Re:It's about money. (Score 1) 289

Constitutionally, States are a separate legal political entity than the federal government, with their own constitutional perogatives that the federal government can't abrogate. The federal republic is made up of independent States.

Conversely, municipalities are creations of the State, don't have their own independence from the State, exist at the pleasure of the State, and the State can legislate what municipalities can and cannot do (or even whether they exist). The State is not made up of independent municipalities.

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