And if they're in front of, say, a PC or Android tablet instead of their phone? If you want to ensure they get the message, you have to send it over IMessage *and* whatever other platform they use (most likely Skype or AIM). Or, you could skip iMessage and just send it on the other platform, which they'll likely have installed on their PC, tablet, and phone, so they'll get it wherever they are without you having to send it twice. That's precisely the scenario I talked about in my initial post, and it's precisely why my die-hard Apple friends have abandoned iMessage (and Messages on their Macs and iPads) as unreliable.
That's the real problem though isn't it? If I'm going to send a message to somebody, I have no idea what device they're in front of, or if they're near any device at all. I'll use the messages app either on my phone or on my Mac and that message will get to them on their phone (at least) whether it's an iPhone or not. I'm not going to send two messages because SMS is the least (or may be better said "most") common denominator. I'm certainly not going to use Skype unless I know for a fact that they do. Other friends or associates might prefer hangouts. Some of them may have Skype installed on all their devices while others may not. Frankly, I don't want to keep track of that.
Your friends may use something instead of the messages app on their iPhone for long group chats when they know what everyone else is using, but I doubt they've abandoned it for all texting.
Right now there is no universal protocol for messaging, but most people have a phone which is capable of sending and receiving SMS/MMS messages. That is your safest bet, or you could, you know... call them.
And to be clear, one doesn't explicitly choose to use iMessage or not. The built in messaging apps will use iMessage to communicate with other apple devices when they can, but will use something else when they can't. Instead of creating an iMessage for Android, Apple could simply allow the messages app on the iPhone to use an AIM, Yahoo, or Google account like the Messages app on the Mac does. But again, none of of those are universal.
Oh sure, crap can happen.
But **on average**, by nature of the "progressive" taxation system, of course those at above-median income will have to pay more, probably far more, than they take out.
But not necessarily more than they'd pay on their own for the same services if they were only available from private providers operating for-profit businesses. The wealthier you are, the less that is true but I'm guessing that even engineers enjoy the added benefits of paid family leave and more vacation per year that the more progressive society provides. Even though I make a decent income, it would be a net gain for me if my taxes were 50 percent, but I didn't have to pay for my kids' college tuition, our health care, save for our retirement, and a had a couple of extra weeks of paid vacation per year.
Besides, you don't get away from that issue in the US system even with the lower taxes. On average, a US citizen is going to pay more for health insurance than than they will ever get back in services, otherwise health insurance companies would go out of business.
Another benefit from a more progressive society is there is less of a gap between rich and poor in the first place so there is less need to subsidize. And finally, even the wealthy benefit when society as a whole is stable, healthy, and well educated.
In the US, it's not being taken from you to begin with. You can also live off a single income if you're engineers. If both of you work, you can just bank the 2nd income.
Your claims are absurd. They sound like old Soviet propaganda.
They aren't "claims". Those are the laws, policies, and the stats. You pay less in taxes in the US, but you're getting less in return and just having to pay somebody else (more) for those services. For health care, you're paying insurance companies and your paying with lower wages because your company is paying the insurance companies. Your either saving for your kids' college education or they're going into debt or both. Instead of the government managing a pension fund on your behalf, you have to pay into a 401K, IRA, or equivalent.
I guess if you consider health care, retirement savings, and college tuition for your kids to be optional expenses, then yes, you come out way ahead in the US.
I'm an IT director at a 100 person non-profit. I'm making a decent wage, but not a fortune. My wife works part time (less than 20 hours a week). We have what's considered to be an upper-middle class income. She was working very little when our kids were really young. So it's not like the lifestyle you're describing is foreign to me. But, by the time our kids get through college I'll be just a few years from retirement and I wish we were socking more away. We don't live extravagantly and we have virtually no debt. If 50+ percent of our income went to taxes and we didn't have to worry about health care costs, college tuition, or saving for retirement, I would take that deal.
I know lots of people my age and older that have virtually no retirement savings. 68% of working age people in the US are not participating in an employee sponsored retirement plan. Presumably some of them don't need to, but I'm guessing that's a small percentage. We are headed for a real crisis.
Maternity pay? Now every Tom, Dick and Harry will get pregnant. -- Malcolm Smith