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Comment Re:You make it... (Score 1) 519

This idea got hijacked by the anti-tax, anti-government, anti-union movement who want to lower workers' salaries.

Let's set unions aside for a minute, because you have a point albeit with many caveats there. There are very few complete anarchists, so I'll set those people aside as red herrings.

People who want lower taxes want to keep more of their paychecks. This means greater nominal salaries ceteris paribus, since net pay is less than gross pay due to taxes.

People who want the government to spend less want to decrease the debt. This means greater real salaries ceteris paribus, since debt expands the money supply and devalues the currency.

Now, you are right to some extent in that less unionization generally means lower nominal salaries for the workers. However, those greater salaries come at the expense of lower employment and labor force participation. We compensate for this with welfare spending. Welfare recipients are not adding value to the economy, in a general sense, and so while they can spend the money they receive, they do not typically build wealth in doing so. This is inflation, and so diminishes the real value of the workers' greater nominal salaries.

There is no doubt that there are plenty of people who want to make a quick buck without doing much to justify it. But they are no less prevalent in government and union management than in business. You have to separate intentions from results.

Comment Re:Any idea what's the motivation to remove START? (Score 2) 516

The wireless network selector with a large font that takes over half your screen and the removal of the wireless network manager GUI (seriously, you have to open a command prompt and use "netsh wlan ..." to see what networks are saved or change their settings if you're not connected to them at the time) are definite steps backward.

Comment Re:And the US could turn Russia into vapor (Score 1) 878

As a result, of course, there is no need to worry much about the national debt, or to destabilize things by trying to pay them off rapidly.

Rapidly is the context in which I took the statement to which I responded, hence why I qualified the currency manipulation with "blatant". Gentler and more subtle forms of currency manipulation happen all the time.

Comment Re:America is boned (Score 2) 870

If you think America is not socialist, you need to stop reading propaganda.

We have:

Fixed income for the elderly and disabled (Social Security)
Single payer health care for everyone over 65 (Medicare)
Single payer health care for everyone under a certain income level (Medicaid)
Health assistance for children of parents who don't qualify for Medicaid (SCHIP)
Health assistance for people injured on the job (Workers' Compensation)
Food assistance for everyone under a certain income level (SNAP)
Direct payments to families with children (TANF, EITC)
Direct payments to the unemployed (Unemployment Insurance)
Various forms of assistance to the homeless (shelters, soup kitchens, free clinics, etc.)
Primary and secondary education for all from ages 5 to 18 (K-12 schools)
Post-secondary education assistance for everyone under a certain income level (Pell Grant, Perkins and Stafford loans)

Just to name the bigger programs. Yep, not socialist at all.

Comment Re:America is boned (Score 1) 870

A socialist is someone who believes that some proportion of the population should be sustained at the forcibly extracted expense of the rest.

Not forcible, you say? Well fine, make taxes optional and tell me how long you can afford to maintain welfare benefits at current levels.

The only practical difference between socialists and communists is that one of them thinks the proportion should be 100%.

Comment Re:growing pains toward a better future, maybe? (Score 1) 870

The whole premise behind the world of Star Trek, especially TNG, is a "post-scarcity" society in which all of life's necessities can be provided without cost. But no such thing will ever exist, in the commonly understood sense. The laws of thermodynamics are immutable, and the laws of economics derive from them. You cannot accomplish anything without some expenditure of energy; there will always be a cost, regardless of whether it's quantified in monetary terms or not. The replicator does not run itself; it requires a source of energy, and both of those things require knowledge to produce and work to maintain. Even if the marginal costs are reduced to practically infinitesimal amounts, people will simply expand their idea of what is a necessity for life. Today, we consider education the most pressing human necessity, a hundred years ago it was electricity, half a millennium ago it was sanitation, and ten thousand years ago it was food. Tomorrow, there will be new demands.

Comment Re:Come and get it, stupid future generations! (Score 1) 676

If Warren Buffet pays a lower percentage tax rate than his secretary, I don't see how you can honestly claim taxes are progressive.

The principal reason for this is SS and Medicare taxes, which while definitely not progressive due to being capped, are tied to benefits that are also capped. Buffet will almost certainly have paid more into SS than he will have taken out by the day he dies.

Also, Buffet is roughly one-third owner of Berkshire Hathaway, while his secretary has no such holdings. Not only is he taxed on any realized capital gains, but the company paid taxes on its income, and so he paid a roughly one-third share of those taxes from his equity in the company.

The income tax by itself is definitely progressive; if you want to factor in other taxes, then you need to account for capital gains taxes, corporate income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, etc. as well.

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