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Not Just Apple, How Microsoft Sidestepped Billions In State Taxes

Moridin42 Re:what about slashdot? (595 comments)

Good discussion?

Better than most that I have on a daily basis.

I would only disagree that making it a rule would prevent anything from being done. It just means that some percentage of accomplishments would be classified as immoral. Lots of immoral acts happen daily, of varying levels of severity. I would like to believe I can always be a moral person. I am practical enough to not adopt that belief. It is difficult to choose ethical actions over rational ones. I have a feeling that most of us can live with ourselves because the conflict between rationality and morality is relatively infrequent.

Although if "a seemingly fair and reasonable position is less so if its indirect effects cause people harm" is a reasonable summation of your own morals then we really aren't that far apart. I feel that immoral acts in support of an argument tarnish an argument; this is not to say that the immoral act makes the argument wrong. The tarnish does, however, sap some of the strength of the argument. Extreme political activists of any flavor are the starkest political examples. Tax advocates may not resort to that level of immorality, yet I would not relieve them of their moral burden merely because of its less severe nature.

more than 2 years ago
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Not Just Apple, How Microsoft Sidestepped Billions In State Taxes

Moridin42 Re:what about slashdot? (595 comments)

I hate replying twice to the same post. Especially since this story is already past its sunset. But I had to leave in a bit of a rush after my other post and had some time while traveling to consider my point.

Say we have a wealthy person in favor of raising taxes on the wealthy. He does not pay the government more than is currently required for reason R. If R were unchanged (or it improved) for giving up the money, it isn't a reason for withholding the money. Now, there is one and only one person that can argue in favor of increasing taxes while withholding their portion of the money*. That shielded person is the one guy who will be most damaged in terms of R after the tax hike. That guy is not asking of others more than he is asking of himself. Everyone who is not that guy and withholds money is implicitly saying, "I'm not willing to suffer most heavily in terms of R; I am still willing, however, to pass the tax and make someone else suffer most heavily in terms of R." That's the hypocrisy.

Well surely, the hypothetical wealthy person can be that guy, right? Well he might become that guy after the tax hike, but he cannot know it before the tax hike. We can only estimate who that guy will be. The act of estimating and the difficulty in collecting and quantifying R will introduce noise into the result. The noise drowns the mathematical confidence required for the hypothetical wealthy person to be able to claim that he is that one and only one guy and is therefore not demanding more of others than he is willing to give himself. Without the mathematical confidence of being that guy, no one can withhold the money without being hypocritical. Not even the person who actually will become that guy after passing the tax hike.

*I haven't exactly thought it out. but I have a gut feeling that even if knowing who that guy is were possible, not even he can withhold the money. Arguing in favor of the tax without hypocrisy requires being willing to suffer the most heavily in terms of R AND that the funds deserve to be in the hands of the government. Withholding the money once he knows he will be the guy implies either the money doesn't deserve to be in the hands of the government or that he is not actually willing to suffer the most R damage.

more than 2 years ago
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Not Just Apple, How Microsoft Sidestepped Billions In State Taxes

Moridin42 Re:what about slashdot? (595 comments)

Sadly, it does. Not people who are paying attention, maybe, but there are few enough of those that they don't matter quite so much.

In what way is having people who are paying attention be angry and the people who are not paying attention not angry the success of the government to account for the populace's emotional states? It isn't. People who don't pay attention are.. not paying attention. All the sleight of hand keeps the government from having to actually justify their actions. They're happy with the low effort fig leaf.

When did a taxing entity have an attitude at all?

The taxing entity is the legislature. The public employees that implement the policies are the administrating agents. The sleight of hand is from the top. We're getting pretty far afield here (and Iv'e got someone to be soon), so I'll leave off my undistilled outlook on who is perpetrating the the madness.

I'll be honest -- I don't see the boundaries you're talking about here

When planning spending and taxation, politicians should really (mostly? generally?) be concerned with whether or not they do more harm than good. What we actually get with public policy is favor trading, pork barrels, and bandaids. Pragmatism dictates the compromise .. but once you're in that area, you've left the discussion about taxation. If the compromise result was a good idea, why wasn't that the first draft?

I wouldn't, however, say you're hypocritical for holding an opposed position and arguing from and for your position.

Would only perfectly fair redistribution satisfy you?

Not at all. I just feel that if someone is going to argue for redistribution that they be the first to sacrifice in line with their argument. To call on others to sacrifice and then refrain from sacrificing until the others do for personal gain is an act contrary to one's words. The sacrifice of others will cause them to sacrifice more than the money. Everybody has personal preferences. Placing one's own personal preferences ahead of one's sacrifice while extolling that everybody should sacrifice, against their personal preferences, is hypocrisy. And it will be against their personal preferences. If people wanted to pay out money to the government, they would. They don't. Hence taxes. For non-monetary-related preferences, everybody has them. Redistribution of wealth will affect them. What makes the presenter's preferences more important than everybody else's?

It is rational self interest to not pay taxes until compelled. It is probably rational (although not necessarily self interest) to argue for taxes to be raised. But doing so puts the needs of the group over the needs of oneself for whatever amount of money that person believes is the "correct" amount of taxes. Keeping the money kicks the argument to the curb.

more than 2 years ago
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Not Just Apple, How Microsoft Sidestepped Billions In State Taxes

Moridin42 Re:what about slashdot? (595 comments)

To the contrary, practices by the taxing body intended to cater to the emotional state of the taxed

Not really. Dubious justification doesn't make people less angry at the taxes. Hiding them doesn't make people less angry about them. The state and attitude of the taxing body is shiftiness. It is political sleight of hand.

In the Real World, in which we live, being able to market public policy is absolutely critical to its implementation. An idea with no chance whatsoever of being passed into law is useless.

For a guy who has harped on the value of recognizing equivalency, you sure are keen on equating topics undeservedly.

Uneven redistribution I would grant you. That said, do you remember the point I made early on, about how people compare themselves to others within their peer group? Keeping the ratio roughly even within given social circles thus minimizes this impact. Asking a lone individual to sacrifice without other members of their peer group doing the same does not.

There is no way to evenly redistribute the wealth. Not in the real world in which we live, but apparently we only live there when it suits you.

Making an argument about the good of society, but acting in one's own self-interest is certainly rational. That means nothing about the hypocrisy about the presenter of the argument. The act is not compatible with the argument.

more than 2 years ago
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Not Just Apple, How Microsoft Sidestepped Billions In State Taxes

Moridin42 Re:what about slashdot? (595 comments)

Ooooh someone who doesn't understand what a slippery slope argument is!

That said, you can keep your bridge. You and I haven't been talking about the same things .. pretty much this entire time. You're talking about emotional states of the taxed but then carry on about practices that demonstrate the emotional states of the taxing body. Then about marketing, as if that were equivalent to taxation.

The "injury" is only there in the eyes of those unwilling to appreciate nuance. I can argue that I'm willing to sacrifice Thing A but not Thing B -- and if the only option immediately available to me is to sacrifice both things A and B together, I can choose not to do that in complete consistency with my stated views.

In general, you can argue that, yes. Taxation is not "in general". And is not about individuals. Taxation is about society. Thus, the argument is about society. This specific Thing B is about the individual. You being willing to sacrifice absolute wealth for society is okay. You being unwilling to sacrifice relative social standing for society is okay. You arguing that everybody should sacrifice absolute wealth, as long as you don't sacrifice relative social standing is hypocritical. Redistribution of wealth will affect somebody's relative social standing. Thus, you are arguing for everyone to sacrifice wealth as long as somebody else sacrifices their relative social standing. The hypocrisy is only nonexistent for those that do not wish to find it.

about 2 years ago
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Not Just Apple, How Microsoft Sidestepped Billions In State Taxes

Moridin42 Re:what about slashdot? (595 comments)

First.. never made a claim that giving up buying power and giving up social standing are unrelated. Social standing is a motive for personal behavior. It is totally irrelevant to a discussion about taxation. I don't give a damn about your social standing. You don't give a damn about mine. I suspect, unless you are Warren Buffet, that neither of us give a damn about his. So any of our social standings are irrelevant as to whether any of us can or should pay more, less, or not at all. Further, social standing is difficult, if not impossible, to quantify and is nontransferable. If you would allow social standing in, you would need for fairness sake to also allow other subjects like emotional state. Which is part of human willingness to do things, including sacrifice for the greater good, but not terribly relevant to governance and taxation.

Second, once any one person has come to the conclusion that everybody/some segment of the population should pay more, the strongest argument that person can make is to put up and pay more. End of story. Anything less than that hurts the argument that everybody should pay more. There are no morals involved. It is short, clear evidence that the person does not believe enough in their argument to live it, right now. Why their belief falters may or may not mitigate the injury to the argument. But it will never eliminate the injury to the argument.

Third, I did not say that game theory was irrelevant. I said that game theory being able to model hypocrisy does not legitimize the hypocrisy. Which.. it does not. Rather like psychology being able to discern the motivations of criminal behavior does not legitimize criminal behavior. Understanding is helpful. Understanding bad things does not make bad things into good things.

Lastly.. if we were discussing what people will accept, then we're having the wrong discussion. Because I said Warren Buffet's argument is hurt by his hypocrisy. Whether or not anybody will accept his less healthy argument in no way makes his argument stronger than it would be if he lived his argument. But if we were talking about what people would accept, we could start talking about all sorts of topics, including all sorts of things that may or may not be good for the individual or society .. but that the individual certainly wants to hear.

about 2 years ago
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Not Just Apple, How Microsoft Sidestepped Billions In State Taxes

Moridin42 Re:what about slashdot? (595 comments)

To claim that someone who is arguing in favor of an absolute decrease be willing to accept a (more severe from a social-stature perspective) relative decrease lest they be branded hypocritical ignores the difference between these categories.

No. It doesn't. It accurately portrays a hypocrite. Social standing has zero place in a discussion about taxation. Sorry, if your beliefs cost you relative standing. If relative standing is important enough to you that you would sacrifice your supposed principles to maintain your standing, then your argument is injured by your hypocrisy. You can believe you should pay more or you can believe that you should not pay more. If you believe the former, argue for it, and do not follow through because you want to protect relative social standing then you are a hypocrite. The words spoken argue individual sacrifice for the needs of the country. The actions taken advance the individual's desires antagonistic to the argument for the country's needs.

If you want to play in the pool of politics, go crazy. Say anything you like. If you want to make a political argument, live it. Anything less hurts your case. People who harp on family values, but are out having affairs hurt their case. People who are tough on crime but trade favors to get friends/relatives off the hook hurt their case.

There are lots of game theory exercises about a lot of human behavior. So what. Hypocrisy is one of many human behaviors. The fact that game theory can model it in no way legitimizes it.

about 2 years ago
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Not Just Apple, How Microsoft Sidestepped Billions In State Taxes

Moridin42 Re:what about slashdot? (595 comments)

Allow me to assert that the bulk of the people you disagree with here do not see these as equivalent, so your argument of hypocracy rings false in their ears.

Oh, I see the problem. We're just going to roll with opinions, not logic. Got it.

It only hurts his argument if you're coming from a mindset in which "paying $X more, while everyone else does not" and "paying $X more, like everyone else" are equivalent acts.

No. It hurts his argument regardless of whether or not you believe those are equivalent acts. There are a number of applicable sayings. "Put up or shut up" or, more fittingly, "put your money where your mouth is".

Warren Buffet is trying to make the case that everybody should be legally obligated to pay more money. But if he thought everybody should be compelled to pay more money, he must already believe he should pay more money. He does not. Therefore it is obvious that he does not feel morally obligated to pay more. Which leaves his argument open to questions of motive. The only motive I'm sure it cannot be is "it's good for the country!" It can only hurt the country to pay less than he thinks is appropriate for him to pay, regardless of other people also underpaying. And that does hurt his argument.

Also.. "peer pressure" is a shitty reason for taxation. So.. "$X more, while everyone else does not" and "$X more, like everyone else" are only different for shitty reasons for arguments about taxation.

more than 2 years ago
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How Apple Sidesteps Billions In Global Taxes

Moridin42 Re:Why does Apple hate America? (599 comments)

Look, corporations are "people" for the purposes of BUSINESS. That is all. Regardless of what any court of law may say, business is the end of the need for corporate personhood. Because it is easier to write Corp X on a legal document. And because signage is really hard to do when you have to write "Offices of Shareholder A, Shareholder B, Shareholder C ... Shareholder M901c760". You need a skyscraper just to hold the sign, even if the sign is in a uselessly small font.

Collectives do not have rights, inherently. They have rights transitively because individuals do. So a group cannot hold office or vote. But the group cannot inherently own anything either. A corporation on the deed is, as I said above, shorthand for writing out each shareholder's ownership in the property in proportion to their shares. It is administrating thousands of individual's property rights to save a lot of people a lot of time (and save a lot of paper).

Political speech does not need a collective. Because the result of political speech, governance, is the desired collective*. Giving corporations access to political speech gives some people two voices. Their own plus their corporate one. This is not equitable. Also.. those who would speak with a corporate voice have huge financial incentives to speak in favor of corporate friendly laws without regard to things like civil liberties. This is not desirable.

Undesirable inequality should not be acceptable, nor one of daily reality.

*In a government that actually represents the people. Not.. the fictional people.

more than 2 years ago
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Not Just Apple, How Microsoft Sidestepped Billions In State Taxes

Moridin42 Re:what about slashdot? (595 comments)

Selfishness is not reduced or eliminated by talking about selfish behavior. So if minimizing one's tax burden is selfish, then he is. And, because he talks about how he shouldn't do what he is doing, he is hypocritical in his selfishness.

more than 2 years ago
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Not Just Apple, How Microsoft Sidestepped Billions In State Taxes

Moridin42 Re:what about slashdot? (595 comments)

And, like I said, he'd have more credibility if he paid, himself, the appropriate level of funds to the US government. It is not a difficult process. His claim is that he should be paying more. So.. why the fuck doesn't he just step up and pay it? He does not do it. Which is why his argument suffers. He acts in ways that are not in line with his mouth. You know.. lead by example?

more than 2 years ago
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Not Just Apple, How Microsoft Sidestepped Billions In State Taxes

Moridin42 Re:what about slashdot? (595 comments)

Even Warren Buffet claims all the deductions and tax breaks he can, all while pointing out that he could and should pay more. If he, or I, or Fluffeh just gave money to the federal government, it would have no measurable effect on the overall deficit or direction of government spending.

On the other hand.. it would make Warren Buffet's claims more credible. If he should pay more taxes, and doesn't.. it hurts his argument severely to spend a lot of money on tax accountants to pay less in taxes. The extra voluntary payments aren't covering for other people's selfishness. Its fucking covering one person's share of the supposed extra costs we should all be paying. "Do as I say, not as I do" isn't a strong argument for most people. If we should pay more and don't, making us selfish, then not paying more when he could makes Buffet both selfish and hypocritical.

more than 2 years ago
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EA Defends Itself Against Thousands of Anti-Gay Letters

Moridin42 Re:Anti-Gay? (1069 comments)

Well.. since conceiving a child is no prerequisite to raising a child, I'd say you've got no point either.

more than 2 years ago
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Dysfunctional Console Industry Struggles For New Profit Centers

Moridin42 Re:Worked for the PC game market (351 comments)

lol.. console plebian.. funny stuff. The PC industry is not "doing great." It survives. Big fucking deal. Perhaps you would like to look up the definition of "flourishing." The market segment that is doing well is, as I said, the segment hitting the price points (and game types) as can be found on mobiles. This is essentially the segment that consoles are NOT suited to, precisely because they are readily filled by the mobile or PC that quite a lot of people have or can get for less than a console.

Maybe you'd like to stop replying without thinking.

Also, I've spent way more hours on PC games than console ones.

more than 2 years ago
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Dysfunctional Console Industry Struggles For New Profit Centers

Moridin42 Re:Worked for the PC game market (351 comments)

Yep. it worked so well the PC game ecosystem is flourishing! Only.. it isn't, really, unless we're talking indie developers that are hitting close to the mobile app price points. I have a hard time believing Microsoft, Sony, or console development studios are going to aim that low ..

more than 2 years ago
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All Video Games Cause Aggressive Behavior, Say Two US Congressmen

Moridin42 Re:I'm fine with this, (483 comments)

You, sir, are a rather nice guy. Me? I'd make 'em get a tattoo on their big lying faces that reads:
WARNING: Politics as a profession has been linked to ignorance, corruption, and sociopathy

So that every time they speak into a camera, we will all be reminded that nothing they say is to be trusted.

more than 2 years ago
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AMD Rejects SYSmark Benchmark

Moridin42 Re:Once again... (118 comments)

.... and get everybody to compile all their stuff a second time?

Not so simply solved..

more than 3 years ago
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AMD Rejects SYSmark Benchmark

Moridin42 Re:AMD a bit lost (118 comments)

I'm not sure you understand the point of benchmarking.
You can benchmark a lot of stuff. But its pointless to benchmark HD read/write speeds when what you're interested in is FLOPS. So there are benchmarks which see how many floating point ops your system can do. And there are benchmarks about hard drive performance. But there tends not to be one benchmark to rule them all.

BAPco say that SYSmark is a benchmark for real-world business app performance. But AMD say SYSmark doesn't utilize the GPU in any way.

Given that modern operating systems go to GPUs for rendering, which they're good at, and freeing up CPU time for CPU stuff, SYSmark isn't benchmarking what they claim to be benchmarking.

Which would make SYSmark a pointless benchmark.

more than 3 years ago
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AMD Rejects SYSmark Benchmark

Moridin42 Re:A CPU benchmark absolutely should (118 comments)

Okay, but SYSmark isn't a CPU benchmark.

From BAPco's SYSmark page:

SYSmark® 2012 is the latest version of the premier performance metric that measures and compares PC performance based on real world applications.

As stated by the GP, there are CPU benchmarks such as SPEC's. But SYSmark isn't one and AMD alleges it isn't designed to benchmark what they say they're benchmarking.

more than 3 years ago
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Radioactive Water Found In Two Reactor Buildings

Moridin42 Re:I heard it on TV! (442 comments)

And... your solution is to advance ... what, coal? where bits of radioactive particulates, greenhouse gasses, and carcinogens are released into the air .. which, I don't know if you know this, gets everywhere.

I mean, I guess when it gets bad enough we can just make a planetary exclusion zone. But thats gonna make a lot of people unhappy. Its rather hard to just pick up and find a new planet.

YOU are doing the nuclear industry no favors by making such arguments. The nuclear industry has responded, but governments are more interested in listening to people like you who do not know what they're talking about. Thus newer, safer reactors don't get built and we're at greater risk because we're still using old hardware past its end of life date.

The nuclear industry has responded to safety concerns by developing reactors with passive safeties, meaning that even in the event of complete coolant system failure, they still will not meltdown. And they do not use water as a coolant/neutron moderator so they don't get hydrogen buildup leading to explosions in a failure state either. They have reactors that can consume "waste" from current reactors as fuel reducing the need for storing a bunch of radioactive waste.

more than 3 years ago

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