Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Re:Unrealistic for you, maybe (Score 1) 372

the pursuit of Happiness.

No...you missed that part "the pursuit of Happiness."....

The Feds are not responsible for your happiness, but they are there to help the states and keep law and order to provide an environment where you can pursue your happiness, and basically stay out of your way while you do it. This is different than the oppressive king they were declaring independence from.....

Also, the Declaration of Independence is not a governing document of the US Government. The US Constitution is, so, that's the one you need to be reading from....

Comment Re:Poster does not understand Algebra (Score 1) 344

On the tracking issue, I like the idea of having an income tax system self-verifying by having expenses on things that count as other people's income be tax-deductible. That is, if Alice makes taxable income from Bob of $X, then Bob has a corresponding tax-deductible expense of $X; what we end up taxing is the sum of everyone's taxable incomes minus expenses, their net rather than their gross, like we already do with corporations. On to the point though, this means that every time someone has taxable income they might not want to report, someone else has a corresponding tax-deductible expense that they do want to report, and if there are gross mismatches — if Bob claims he paid $LARGE_SUM in taxable income to Alice but Alice doesn't report that she received it — then we know where to investigate and find out who is lying.

Comment An anecdote from an older millennial (Score 1) 372

Here's a brief log of my expectations over my adult(ish) life, as someone just barely young enough to count as a millennial (I turn 35 this year):

20 years ago, I thought that I was going to easily be rich and famous when I grew up, because I was consistently and effortlessly outperforming all of my peers at school, and the world of course is intrinsically just so that kind of ability will surely be rewarded as I avail myself of the opportunities equally available to all, right?

15 years ago, after falling flat on my face into poverty immediately upon adulthood and taking two years with almost zero guidance or support to figure out what the fuck I had to do to get my life back on track, I thought that maybe I could still salvage that dream after like, maybe a decade-ish of hard work? By my thirties maybe?

10 years ago, after disappointingly little progress in that regard despite my best efforts (and continued astounding academic success meanwhile), I thought that maybe I would "settle" for a "normal" life in an "ordinary" house in the suburbs working some "boring" career my whole life and doing some kind of interesting life's work that was a mere shadow of my true potential in my spare time beside that.

5 years ago, I thought that I would be lucky not to die in the street when I was old like it increasingly seemed my parents were going to do, it seeming just barely possibly to avoid that with a ridiculously enormous amount of effort and sacrifice and basically neglecting everything I ever dreamt of actually doing with my life just to, maybe, hopefully, reach the point I thought I would "settle" for, and previously thought was the normal condition of all moderately functional adults, in time to have a few years' breather before I died in which to maybe write some kind of memoirs about the things I once thought I was going to do with my life? please?

Today, even after my life has turned around dramatically from that point, thanks to that enormous effort and ridiculous sacrifice and a heaping pile of the good fortune sorely missing from most of the decades prior, I'm still not sure if that's ever going to be possible. Have since learned that my current income is twice the median American's, and I've never really made much less than the median, which only makes the difficulties endured despite that seem even more depressing. Currently living in a tiny trailer on rented land so as to be able to save enough money that someday I can put enough of a down payment down that the interest on a mortgage won't be so high as to push the date I can start saving for something besides housing back past the time I'll probably die. Long-term girlfriend patiently waiting for me to be able to afford a larger trailer with enough room for the two of us to live together and so be able to get married, currently aiming for maybe some time around when we're 40? Then probably another decade of saving after that before we can put a big enough down payment on a real house, what amounts to about half the purchase price. We don't want kids anyway, but we basically don't have the option of them at this point, not without sacrificing all hope.

That's all assuming that the past five years' miracle progress continues unabated, which is far, far from assured and I constantly expect any moment to lose absolutely everything and go back to zero again. But then, running the numbers sometimes, somehow, it seems like if all the trends over my lifetime continue at their average rates... somehow I might be able to retire in my mid-late 50s and live off investment income for the rest of my life after that? What the fuck? I don't believe it. But the math keeps telling me that. That most of life is hopeless and shit, and then around now it starts getting gradually better, and then suddenly in the moderately-near future everything is miraculously perfect forever. But I'll fucking believe it when I see it. I'm still assuming I'm going to die in the streets like my parents still look to be doing, and life can fucking prove me wrong if it can. Please. Please prove me wrong.

Comment Re:work till death (Score 1) 372

I think that's what he was saying. I read him as implying that the Tiny House fad robs "naive millennials" of the appreciation of land that "generates America's greatest wealth", condemning them (at their own fault, I guess?) to work until death to service rent on the land they park on.

Ignoring that stuff becoming harder to buy does not actually mean there is more value to be had (i.e. land price going up does not "generate wealth", it transfers it to whoever already has land from whoever doesn't), and that the Tiny House thing is a reaction to the difficulty of buying into the ridiculously overprices real estate market. Everyone would love to own land, but we can't, so owning a shelter that we have to park on someone else's rented land is the best alternative we can get. It's a symptom of the problem, not the cause.

Comment Re:Poster does not understand Algebra (Score 1) 344

Your example is just criticizing Alice and Bob's time preferences for consumption. If Alice's excess is as "useless" as you claim, why does Bob constantly want it?

You seem to have reading comprehension difficulties so I may not respond beyond this.

Alice's excess is useless to her inasmuch as she is not using it, which is what makes it excess to begin with. If she were using it, she would not be able to lend it out, and it would not be excess.

In other hands, like Bob's, it would be useful, to him, because he has a use he needs to put it to.

In a truly free market, Alice would sell her excess to Bob, who has more use for it than her, in exchange for something that she has more use for than him. That's what free trade is all about: sorting things around to where they are most useful. If things were not more or less useful in different hands, all trades would be zero sum and there would be no point to them. But with rent an option, it is more in Alice's interests -- and Alice, controlling the wealth, gets to dictate the terms -- not to trade it, but to charge a permanent fee for for the temporary use of it. That distorts the market.

Also, the rest of your commentary on that hypothetical scenario assumes that Alice ended up with more than Bob because of choices she made, ignoring that we start the scenario out with them having different amounts at hand, just like different people in real life start out with different amounts of wealth available to them. In a truly free market, we would expect those differences to level out over time, as those with more sell it to those with less so as to buy the labor of those with less and live better and easier lives for a time, while those with less work the other side of that equation to accumulate more for themselves, and in time the amount of wealth had by and the amount of labor required from both parties equalizes. Rent and interest distort that, and instead cause wealth to accumulate further into the hands of those who already have it.

Which is the fundamental flaw of those articles you link. They conflate genuine wealth creation with wealth concentration. Yes, a consumption tax sure does interfere the least with the rich getting richer. But that is not a good thing, and from a genuine productivity standpoint, of actually generating the most value, that is to say alleviating the most suffering and producing the most flourishing, it's a positively bad thing. From a genuine productivity standpoint, you want to encourage the wealthy to trade their wealth for the labor of the poor; both for the raw value produced by that labor; but also so that that value produced accrues to where it is most valued, in the hands of those who need it most, the poor who are getting paid to produce it; and so that the wealthy then fall into the ranks of those who have to labor themselves, further increasing the raw amount of value generated. An economy of more-equal people all working and all accumulating the product of that labor more-equally both generates more value on the whole (since there are fewer parasites living as dead weight on the backs of others) and allocates that value to where it is valued more (those who need it most, instead of to those who already have more than they can even use themselves already) than a less-equal society where some people do all the work and some people reap all the benefits of that.

That's why market economies are more productive than feudalism or slavery, and why the last vestiges thereof -- landlords are literal vestiges of feudalism, and lending money at interest is an expansion of the same rental concept to other capital besides land -- need to go if we are going to move forward.

Comment Re:Unrealistic for you, maybe (Score 0) 372

You're all hot to point out that the Constitution requires the government to provide for the common defense. But you seem to want to gloss right over the promote the general welfare part. Why is that, do you suppose?

See my other post in this thread about the General Welfare clause.

You have to take that as it was meant when written...it means more of the welfare of the UNION of the states, and the ability of the Feds to lay taxation for that purpose. Defense is enumerated and the general welfare of the union was in large part for enumerated limited federal responsibilities for such things.

The union was to be kept strong, and then the states could then be responsible for the citizens in each state. If the states want to do healthcare, etc...sure feel free to do it.

But it doesn't mean "welfare" in the same way that people in this century try to translate it.

he ACA didn't give health care to anyone. It required the freeloaders who weren't buying insurance and driving the rest of our rates up to be adults and finally buy insurance. Maybe you didn't like the subsidies that the poor got, is that what your gripe was? Let me ask you, do you call yourself a Christian? Ask yourself, would Jesus have helped the poor? Should he have helped the poor? Would he have wanted you to help the poor? Is there a reason you don't think the poor should get help with buying the insurance they need? And want to buy?

There already is a safety net for the poor....Medicaid.

But for everyone else, I think we should all have more free HSA type pre-tax savings accounts for routine health needs, not tied to any insurance. If families budget for food, why not budget for routine health needs? Insurance should only be for catastrophic emergencies (hit by a bus, etc).

If this were the case, people would once again shop around for medicine and drs....like they did 40 years ago and prices would be lower.

Comment Re:Unrealistic for you, maybe (Score 2) 372

The problem is routine medical not subsidized is several hundred dollars a visit. Times a wife and two kids and you are talking about thousands annually.


I mean annual check up for family of 4..say at $200 each would be about $800. Now with kids if they get sick a couple times a year, add another $800 maybe....so, $1600 a year for routine health is too much to expect a family to save for?

And..if we did what I was saying and go back to where insurance is only major medical, catastrophic insurance, people would be shopping around for Dr.s and not have middle men HMO's and the like....medicine was MUCH cheaper for routine care 30-40 years ago, even if you count for inflation. It is all the insurance covers everything and HMO's that drove the prices up.

Right now, one of the things that is trending, is groups of doctors that cover full range of the human anatomy are banding together and selling shares in health club type thing...you pay x annually and you're covered for most of your health needs.

If this type thing were allowed to grow, it might solve a LOT of the problems for routine care.

Comment Re:Unrealistic for you, maybe (Score 0) 372

If "provide for the common defense" can be used to justify spending as much on the military as the next 10 countries combined then perhaps "promote the general Welfare" might be considered to include keeping the citizens of the country healthy.

Well, that provide for general welfare, has to be taken in the meaning of the day, not as "welfare" as we think of it today. Basically general welfare as used in the constitution was defined as the overall state of wellbeing of the nation as a whole.

This also was tied in with taxation, for the needs of the US to keep the union of the states strong, and to be able to fund the specific, limited enumerated responsibilities of the Fed. government.

It really didn't mean that the Feds were responsible for the health and happiness of the individual citizens, but for the health of the union, which then would lead to the states serving the needs of their citizens. In general that is...

Comment Re:The view fails to account getting &*#@ed (Score 2) 372

And the lack of bankruptcy means the banks would loan unreasonable amounts of money to 18 year olds who had no clue how much pain they were signing up for.

If the bankruptcy was removed, loans would drop, and so would tuition.

Grants are a factor but they were tiny amounts of money compared to student loans.

Comment Re:The view fails to account getting &*#@ed (Score 1) 372

That's supposed to say "millennial are running about a decade behind".

I was a late boomer- almost genx. I was similarly behind leading edge boomers. They were always in the job I wanted to be promoted too and they were going to be there until i was in my mid to late 50's.

Comment Re:Save 30%, retire early (Score 2) 372

Granted those happen- but buying too much house, eating out too much, buying too much car, traveling too much, buying clothing that's too nice, drinking after work, starbucks, and many other activities enjoyed by the young do not help.

I lived on half I made and saved the rest from 1987 onwards. I retired 16 years early.

Comment Re:The view fails to account getting &*#@ed (Score 5, Insightful) 372

As a boomer, when i went to college, it was $180 a semester. Even adjusted for inflation that's a fraction of the cost today.

Tuitions went up enormously when the law was changed to allow loans not forgiven by bankruptcy.

Boomers are running about 10 years behind my age for every major landmark.

That being said- save hard, don't pamper yourself with eating out and starbucks and you can still retire years earlier.

Comment Re:Unrealistic for you, maybe (Score 0) 372

In the U.S. it's a particularly large one because as a country we've decided we want a huge military, whereas if we scaled that back we could provide better health coverage, even as unhealthy as we are as a population.

I whole heartedly agree with 99.99% of your post, but this part caught my eye.

The US Govt (at least on the Federal level) is mandated by the US Constitution to provide for defense...that is one of its few enumerated responsibilities and powers.

I don't really think it is anywhere in the constitution for the government (at least on the federal level) to provide healthcare for the citizens, at least not without a constitutional amendment.

Slashdot Top Deals

It's later than you think, the joint Russian-American space mission has already begun.