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Comment Re:Serving his friends against his constituents (Score -1) 252

There is no such thing as 'essential service', the entire concept is what created the monopolies / oligopolies that are found around the world. Nothing is an 'essential service' (what I mean is that nothing should ever be touched/supplied by any form of government).

This ideology is what lead to the always rising prices and by the way, what the hell is 'infinite inflation of essential services'?

Inflation is expansion, inflation of money is expansion of money supply. You are talking about prices, prices *rise* and *fall*, they don't expand and contract. Inflation around the world is caused by expansion of the money supply and given the status of USD around the world, inflation today is mostly caused by the USA Federal reserve and Congress.

Comment Stepping over a dollar to pick up a nickel (Score 1) 249

You are jumping to a conclusion that may be false, however.

I'm not jumping to any conclusion. We spend WAY too much on our military relative to our actual needs. This is not even a point of debate. There is no rational justification for the US spending more money than the next 8 largest military budgets combined, especially given that most of them are allies.

$600 billion sounds like a lot, but we can't tell if it's actually going to the sort of expenses within defense that we think or not.

$600 billion IS a lot of money. We know perfectly well where most of it goes. The vast majority goes to operations, personnel, procurement, and R&D. Most of this is already a matter of public record if you can be bothered to actually look.

No, but I am going to argue if she spent $100 on that stapler, Or if she hired her nephew's high-priced stapler service company to come in and deliver 10 staplers for $500, because the federal government has a LOT of secretaries, and there's going to be a need for MANY staplers, so it is naturally important that when they get these staplers, the government has applied a procedure, so they're getting good deals on such things.

First of all, you are stepping over a dollar to pick up a nickel. We're spending a trillion dollars on something like the F35 and you're concerned someone might have overpaid for a stapler? That's idiotic and wasteful. You'll spend more tax dollars trying to track the stapler than the value of the stapler. Second, I've been through the government procurement process. It doesn't work at all like you seem to think it does. Third, there already are very well respected oversight agencies like the GAO who do a pretty good job keeping an eye on how government agencies spend their money.

No.... That is not a fundamental principle of accounting.

It most certainly is a fundamental principle of accounting. Talk to anyone who actually is an accountant if you don't believe me. Seriously, I'm a certified accountant and this is stuff they talk about in Accounting 101 classes. You really have no idea what you are talking about. Seriously, if you can show a way to track even the most minor spending details in an economically productive way there is a Nobel prize in it for you.

That is a lazy accountant's principle that only holds water before the event of data-driven companies.

It's adorable how you think data driven means tracking everything to a wasteful degree. Being data driven doesn't mean all data is economically worth tracking even when it is possible to track. It has nothing to do with laziness and everything to do with being fiscally responsible. Only an idiot spends more money to track something than the value that will be received from tracking it. If there is economic value in tracking something then it will be tracked. If the economic value of tracking something (not required by law) is less than the cost that would be incurred to track it then it is a waste of money by definition. Every single company on the planet follows this principle. Stuff you sell to customers gets tracked. Large asset purchases get tracked. Minor expenses like office supplies generally are not and it would be a monumental waste of money and time to try. They are given a budget and if the budget gets exceeded then questions get asked about why. This is how it works in the real world for both companies and governments.

If you work for $Big_Retailer, and you buy a stapler from your office, you pay with a Company CC, and Accounting gets the invoice from you and posts the expense to the ledger, or you file a PO for your stapler, and accounting posts the expense to the ledger, Etc, and an Asset tag gets fixed to the stapler.

Nobody is going to put an asset tag on a stapler unless they are an idiot. The cost of doing so would exceed any possible value one might realize from doing that. You seem to be under the naive believe that going around putting tags on everything and maintaining a database of them comes without any cost. In the real world there is a very substantial and meaningful cost in both labor and asset tracking systems. Even trying to keep track of every paper clip is a great way to lose a ton of money very very quickly. It doesn't happen for free and you will waste a huge amount of money in the attempt.

Knowing that X spent $10 on a stapler is not solely for the purpose of question X person, but also, In part... understanding what the organization's stapler requirements are.... Are we spending too much on staplers? Are we losing them? Did we pick the wrong brand of stapler, so they are constantly breaking? When should we be buying them, and from whom, to get the best deal on this product or service?

If you have an organization that is actually wasting time doing stapler budget reviews then you have an organization that is wasting a huge amount of money on non-productive work. Doesn't matter if it is a company or a government. It's wasteful either way. Your belief that you can economically justify tracking even the most minute details of an organization of any non-trivial size is quite simply wrong. It's economically suicidal and logistically and practically impossible. You will quickly find yourself unable to function and spending vast sums on redundant personnel to monitor unimportant details.

Comment Re:Revolution (Score -1) 127

If you're running a monopoly, and you're running 100% efficient, in what world would you be "making only enough money to survive"?

- you would accumulate savings certainly. However if you pay yourself a salary enough to live on and the rest of the money is always recycled back into the business to ensure that it runs at 100% efficiency what you have then is a fully self sustainable business that consumes almost completely all of the revenue that it generates in order to operate.

Basically if the operational expenses are almost exactly the revenues then there is almost nothing left after all of the expenses are paid. In that case what possible taxes can be applied to a business like that?

Any amount of taxes only would add to the cost of the end product/service and the result is a less than efficient system, where the consumers of the product/service are paying artificially more for getting the product/service.

In reality many businesses operate that way today already, of-course there are larger than average salaries going to the top executives but remove that and you have pretty much nothing left to remove, if you remove more then the business becomes less efficient/prices go up.

So to say that the businesses that will automate all of these jobs away will 'pay taxes' is nonsense, there is no money to pay any taxes. Any taxes added by the government will come out of the pockets of the consumers of the end product/service of the business.

In any case, the so called 'society' will not be able to extract money from businesses to pay for any type of so called 'basic income' or any form of welfare for people who don't work. The money will be extracted from everybody who is *not* a business, so it's quite simple: businesses actually generate all of the wealth and hire all of the people. Adding artificial cost to human labour increases the odds of automation / decreases the odds of new business formation / increases the odds of existing businesses leaving or failing. So the intelligent thing to do is to remove all artificial costs of running a business, removing the government taxes and regulations of business and labour, manipulation of money and interest rates and allow people to work out a natural fluid solution to these questions, not to try and hammer in the idea that those who work are going to be forced to pay for those who do not.

Those who work already provide everybody with all the goods and services that everybody needs, the contribution of any business to the society starts with the product/service the company produces with the added benefit of the person running the company being self reliant and not needing any form of help from anybody. Society should want to encourage people to start businesses and to do that it should remove the barriers to entry, reduce the costs of starting and running business, remove barriers, remove taxes, remove regulations.

The chips will still fall where they may but at least without government interference individuals will start businesses helping other individuals just like themselves. There *will* be separation of companies, some catering to the top tier of buyers, some to the middle and many (most) to the bottom tier. This should be happening now but it cannot because the companies in the top/middle tier prevent the ones at the bottom from competing and they are using the power of the State to destroy the competition by all means, including taxes, laws and money and interest rate manipulation.

Comment American's are not exceptional (Score 1) 619

I want to agree with this statement (assuming "China or Russia" can be replaced with a generic "overseas"), but my experience tells me otherwise.

Only because you aren't comparing things from the right perspective. You are thinking about a few malfunctioning teams. But think of it this way. That smartphone you have in your pocket was built by some very bright and capable Chinese engineers. Russia has a space program that arguably exceeds ours in many ways. To pretend that none of them are any good at coding because you've seen a few who didn't have what it takes is not a logical position to hold.

The immigrants I've worked with, while nice (very much so), and knowledgeable in very specific technology, have no broad critical thinking skills, software design/architecture skills, or outside-the-box thinking.

And some immigrants are guys like Elon Musk. There is a range just like with every population including Americans. Substitute "americans" for immigrants in your sentance and I could say exactly the same thing in many cases. The notion that Americans are better or smarter is just xenophobic nonsense easily refuted. There are and awful lot of very smart guys from China and India and elsewhere. The US is 5% of the global population so the notion that we have some sort of monopoly on smarts is dangerously foolish. There are plenty of people overseas (many educated here) who are every bit as good at engineering and programming as anyone here in the US. We should be trying to bring those smart people here as fast as we possibly can.

I want the H-1B visas overhauled not only to ensure America jobs stay American, but also so these immigrants aren't exploited.

The flaw in your reasoning is in assuming there is such a thing as an "American job". Americans have earned one of the highest standards of living in the world by out competing workers and companies in other countries. But that doesn't mean we get to stop competing. If we want to stay on top we're going to have to work our ass off to stay there.

It's like the idiotic Trump rhetoric about bringing manufacturing jobs back to the US. Those jobs left because US labor was too expensive. The only way we are getting labor intensive manufacturing jobs back in the US is for US wages to fall substantially relative to other countries. Do you really want a bunch of $2/hour jobs or should we focus our energies on trying to do something more economically reasonable?

Comment Idiotic nostalgia (Score 4, Insightful) 249

The following socialist programs should be eliminated completely: Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. We need to roll the Federal government back to what it was prior to 1913.

There is a saying that you shouldn't tear down a wall until you completely understand why it was built in the first place. We have those programs because they address problems that were not being adequately handled before those programs were created. You seem to have some naive nostalgia that somehow things were better prior to 1913. They weren't.. You are demonstrating that you are either a troll or an idiot for suggesting otherwise. You are suggesting eliminating health care and financial security for millions of our most vulnerable citizens, mostly the elderly and poor.

Comment The problem is not where, it is how much (Score 5, Insightful) 249

The number $X spent on defense obscures the fact about how each defense dollar is spent.

It doesn't really matter how each defense dollar is spent. The problem isn't what specifically we are spending it on but the fact that we are spending too much of it on defense in total. We have a $600 billion defense department budget as of 2016. That is more than China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, India, France and Japan combined. We could be getting amazing efficiency from our military spending and it would still be a pointless boondoggle. Our military is really just an inefficient jobs program. The money could be put to far better use as research dollars or to fixing our education system, or repairing/building our infrastructure. Instead we have the sort of military that a paranoid banana republic might build at vast cost. Are you aware that we borrowed almost exactly the ENTIRE defense department budget last year? We are like the guy who buys a Ferrari and then wonders why he's having trouble paying the rent.

We should literally know how much our government is spending on each tool, supply, or service being requisitioned, and what is included with each tool, supply, or service.

Let's stipulate that that was somehow magically possible. (it isn't) What exactly would you do with that information? Are you going to go argue that a secretary at NASA was being extravagant when she requisitioned a stapler? Beyond a certain point the cost of maintaining that information is greater than the value you get from maintaining it.

I'm an accountant and one of the principles of accounting is that you don't bother tracking something if the cost of tracking it is greater than the value gained from doing the tracking. Your proposal would waste an unbelievably vast amount of money on the overhead required to keep track of every paper clip. Far more money than you could possibly save by doing so. FAR more. For big ticket items, sure there should be reasonable transparency. But thinking that you can keep track of everything in fine grained detail and get actual positive value out of doing so is just naively unrealistic. It provably cannot be done.

Comment Whining about taxes (Score 4, Insightful) 249

Stop taxing us.

If you want to stop being taxed then explain to me how you plan to fund roads, bridges, education, police, firemen, defense, schools, medical care, etc. You planning to fund those things yourself voluntarily? How do you plan to get others to help out? I've never heard someone whining about taxes with a good answer for this but maybe you can be the first.

Let us be free to spend our money how we see fit, rather than forcibly confiscating it and wasting it.

First prove how society wouldn't fall apart by eliminating taxes.

It is very easy to waste other people's money. Governments excel at this.

If you think governments are so good at wasting your money go ahead and move somewhere where you won't be taxed. There are countries where this happens or where it happens very little. I assure you that you won't find living there to be very pleasant however. Taxes are the price you pay to live in a civilized society.

Comment There are only four programs that matter (Score 4, Insightful) 249

The only government spending that really matters is Medicare/Medicaid, Defense, and Social Security. Those together account for about 3/4 of the federal budget. Any discussion of federal spending that doesn't involve those four programs is pointless and/or grandstanding. Stuff like NASA and education are almost rounding errors in comparison to those four programs.

That's also why anyone who talks about cutting taxes without also talking about cutting either Medicare or Defense is completely full of shit because we don't pay enough in taxes to cover those programs today. We certainly can't afford to cut taxes when last year we borrowed $600 billion to cover the $600 billion defense department budget. Cutting taxes without cutting Medicare or Defense is simply handing the bill to your children which makes the people doing it assholes. Believing that cutting taxes will magically increase government revenues through growth makes the people saying either idiots or charlatans or both.

Comment Logical failures (Score 1) 619

If you change that current system that awards visas randomly, without regard for skill or wage, to a skills-based awarding, it makes it extremely difficult to use the visa to replace or undercut American workers [...] It's a very elegant way of solving very systemic problems in the H-1B guest worker visa."

This person is either extremely naive or lying through their teeth. Awarding visas for skills does not automatically translate to paying comparable wages to receive those skills. They would have to monitor wages and ensure that the wages being paid do not fall below the median wages for the job and sharply limit the number of visa recipients to prevent flooding the market and thus driving down the median wage.

Of course the problem is that reforms to the H1B visa program risk being basically a form of protectionism. It's potentially little different than slapping a tariff on imported products and has many of the same consequences. It ensures better wages for a small group of workers, typically at the expense of higher product costs for everyone else. For example if we protect steel workers from cheaper imported steel (presuming no dumping) we make cars more expensive the far larger general population. We hurt consumers to protect jobs that possibly don't need protecting. If the workers want to keep wages high they can unionize or lobby and that's just fine but honestly it's something of a loosing proposition if the labor they are doing can be done elsewhere. Programming and many other tech jobs are labor intensive work (albeit skilled labor) and if the labor can be gotten elsewhere for a lower price, sooner or later it will be. There is nothing magical about computer code written in the US versus in China or Russia.

Comment Limiting your news sources (Score 1) 54

What you get a few minutes after the event is less that 5% of the story and is based mostly on rumours and speculation.

What I get is all the available information at the time. As that information becomes available I get it basically immediately. You're assertion that just 5% of the information is available immediately is made up numbers not based on any actual evidence.

What I get the next day in my newspaper is almost 90% of the story and the journalists (if they are any good, depends on the newspaper) have already eliminated most of the speculation and rumours.

Even if we stipulate that "speculation and rumor" have been magically eliminated within 24 hours (rarely true in practice) it still is well behind the news cycle and an unnecessary delay. While you are waiting 12-24 hours for your paper, the rest of us have been reading the information as it comes out, much of it from those very same journalists. Newspapers in paper form aren't magically more accurate than the same words written online. Furthermore you are limiting yourself to a substantially smaller number of sources by getting your news from a paper (people rarely read more than 1-3) versus the entire spectrum of sources available through the net, both good and bad.

Anachronistic a newspaper might be, but depending on the paper it can certainly deliver a more accurate, balanced and realistic view of the world.

Newspapers do not possess information or analytical resources which are not available through internet sources. In fact most newspapers are working frantically to get online because their business model is dangerously close to obsolete so their thoughts are available online too. I can read your newspaper source plus literally hundreds of other sources at the same time without having to wait 24 hours for some journalist to spoon feed me their (probably biased) interpretation. I don't trust any single source no matter how reliable and if you depend on an actual physical newspaper for your news then you are doing yourself a disservice.

Comment Re:Revolution (Score 0, Insightful) 127

people **on the whole** can be squeezed indefinitely with no consequence

- you are under impression that a company that increases its efficiency at doing what its doing and minimizes the costs is somehow 'squeezing' people. I don't think so at all. A company that maximizes its efficiency is the company that improves the standard of living of people who are using the product/service of that company and on the macro economic level that company minimizes the amount of resources needed to perform its function.

There are literally millions of people working in shipping and logistics, hopefully we can reduce that amount by 99%, so that only 1% of people doing the work today are required for that work 20 years from now and almost everything will be automated. That's the goal of any company - to increase its efficiency to the maximum to the point where there are no inefficiencies left.

Inefficiency is in human labour, in the expenses induced by the system and the government, the labour and business laws, regulations, price controls, money controls, everything that reduces the overall efficiency of the system. This has to be minimized, we have to reduce inefficiency to the maximum to get the most profit out of serving the most markets.

Personally I want to develop a monopoly in my market, to take 100% of everybody's business. Let's say for the sake of the argument that I am successful at that, that there is no competitor left because nobody can compete on price, quality, everything (at least for some time) until some breakthrough shifts the balance towards an innovator.

So lets say that 100,000,000 people are out of work because I replaced them *all* with my perfect (for the time being) business machine that does *all* of that work and requires no other human intervention. Would you say that it is a bad thing or a good thing?

AFAIC that's the best possible outcome. It also means that the only way to 'unsqueeze' those people is by breaking my business into pieces, destroying it so that it is inefficient and by creating this artificial inefficiency to supply many people with a reason for them to exist.

They existed and were able to feed themselves because they were an inefficient machine, I replaced them all with an efficient machine, they have to find something else to do, as they are people and they can adopt to the changing environment.

On the other hand they can attack the machine and try to destroy it to reduce efficiency to gain a piece of that efficiency for their own income. This of-course reduces economic power of the rest of the population, who was now enjoying the most efficient way of getting that service.

Somebody here will argue that the most efficient (biggest in their respective field) businesses need to be taxed more to supply the inefficient people with a form of subsistence. I disagree entirely, there is no reason to build all that efficiency in the first place if you are then going to add the inefficiency back on top of it.

Let's say I run a 100% efficient business, where I am making only enough money to survive and no other salary can be paid at all because the prices are absolute bottom without any space in them to pay another dollar in salaries to anybody else. That business cannot survive long, all businesses need savings to survive, otherwise they have no money to innovate, no money to survive through economic downturns. So an efficient business also has to have a healthy return on interest to allow for those savings. To take those savings away from a business to feed the inefficient is the same thing as running a business without savings at all, not allowing for any unexpected economic slow down.

So what you are calling 'squeezing' I am calling evolution, development and progress, minimizing entropy to achieve the maximum economic outcome.

A path to survive for people has to come through freedom from all forms of government regulations, so that new business ideas can be executed without red tape and without the added artificial inefficiency of regulations and taxes.

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