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Internet Sales Tax Bill Dead In Congress

mpercy Re:Ok, they got ONE right... (257 comments)

Also, on creating a "level playing field"...

What this law would have done is to make online retailers subject to *different* rules than a physical store.

It would make an online retailer demand information about the buyer so that the online retailer can act as a remote proxy tax collector based on where the items are shipped, not where the seller is physically located.

A B&M one in another state is not going to be forced to do the same thing when visitors from some other state make a purchase (which they might take home and might evade their local use taxes).

about two weeks ago
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Internet Sales Tax Bill Dead In Congress

mpercy Re:Ok, they got ONE right... (257 comments)

The issue boils down to: Can a state force a retailer based in another state, with no point-of-presence in the taxing state, to act as a proxy tax collector?

Imagine for one moment a shopping mall full of retailers. These stores sit just across the border from you in another state, but since your house is only a few minutes drive, easily accessible. Further, the neighboring state has a *much* lower sales tax than yours--let's even say they have zero sales tax (as a few states do).

Your state is frustrated that so many of its border-dwelling residents chose to make all their purchases across the border, thus avoiding sales taxes my state perceives as being owed to my state and depriving local retailers of business. Your state has instituted a "use tax," equivalent to the sales tax, that taxpayers are supposed to report and pay for any items imported into the state. But it seems almost no one is paying it!

Your state goes to retailers across the border and *demands* that they collect and remit sales taxes to your state. The stores, recognizing the problems they will face, such as now requiring all purchasers to submit ID and proof of residence and question them as to where the goods they are buying will end up--not to mention additional operating expense and liability for any incorrect tax filings that might occur--wisely tell your state to take a flying leap. Your state has no jurisdictional authority to impose its force on these retailers.

The problem here is simply that states cannot get their own citizens to pay taxes due (use taxes) and are trying to force out-of-state businesses to act as tax collectors for them. Think about it, is your state entitled to force a Wal-Mart or a mom-n-pop store lying just across the border in another state to collect your state's sales taxes? No way! Why should they get to force some other out-of-state business to do so?

about two weeks ago
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Internet Sales Tax Bill Dead In Congress

mpercy Only because you're a tax cheat (257 comments)

Chances are if your state has a sales tax, it has an equivalent use tax. You are supposed to pay the use tax on goods purchased from out-of-state and imported into your state. So if you didn't cheat on your taxes, the local stores would not be at a disadvantage.

Imagine a store in a state with 0% sales-tax, say, Delaware. Further assume it is close to the border with a state that has a high sales tax, like, hmm, Maryland which is considering a 7% rate. By reputation and the lure of 0% sales tax (by virtue of evading their own local use tax), people from the neighboring state make the short trip to buy their wares. Being a brick-and-mortar store, they charge all their customers the local sales tax rate (0%). They do not care nor ask where their customers are from, there is no question *at all* where the transaction takes place.

The store decides to create a website to allow their loyal customers (and hopefully new customers) to buy things online and have them mailed to them. Under this proposed rule, the store not only have to treat their online customers differently from their in-store customers, but have to comply with 10,000 different tax regimes?

The issue here is that Maryland would and should have zero chance of enforcing its will on Delaware business to force them to act as proxy tax collectors for Maryland's use taxes--the taxes being evaded by Marylanders--even if hoards of Marylanders rolled into Delaware every day to stock up. It is the Marylanders who are violating Maryland's use tax laws. Why is it the responsibility of a store in Delaware to enforce Maryland's use tax laws?

There's no practical difference between Marylanders driving to Delaware to shop compared to Marylanders ordering from a store in Delaware and having the loot delivered.

How is it fair to force a store in Delaware to be a tax collector for a California municipality? And without *any* compensation for the favor, not to mention the overhead of tallying and remitting taxes to all those difference jurisdictions, *plus* the inherent liability should they god forbid make a mistake in their forced servitude as proxy tax collector. I'm sure California would have no problem shutting down a Delaware store for failure to comply with California's tax code.

about two weeks ago
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Internet Sales Tax Bill Dead In Congress

mpercy They could reasonably get enough votes to (257 comments)

overturn a veto. It would obviously take a few Democrats who have come to come to believe they fucked up when they first voted for it. Republicans will not hold enough seats to overturn a veto by themselves, that's true enough. Depending on how the La. runoff (and Ak...did they declare a winner yet?), GOP could have 54 seats. There are 2 "independents" who are Democrats in all but name. It is very unlikely but not totally unthinkable that 6 Dems or independents could support overturning a veto on at least some parts of Obamacare.

about two weeks ago
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Power and Free Broadband To the People

mpercy Re:Ok, so we've spend about $20T++ and 50 years (262 comments)

One thing first. "I find your boogeyman treatment of art and artists to be highly distasteful. Whatever caricature you've dreamt up is not representative of the majority of people receiving food stamps." I have no problem with art and artists, I have a problem with the particular people documented in the Salon article "Hipsters on food stamps: They're young, they're broke, and they pay for organic salmon with government subsidies. Got a problem with that?" and people like them. They are an example of exactly the kind of people who paint the program with an ugly brush--I think pretty much everyone is down with the idea that we need to be sure no one starves and that the foodstamp program has worthy aspects--with their unmitigated sense of entitlement display when they host gourmet dinner parties (with wine tasting) paid for by their foodstamps.

On the other hand, if you're a graduate student in poetry, you had to know going in that the chances of you making a living off your poetry are slim. You chose a singularly unpractical major, spent years and probably 10's of thousands of taxpayer subsidized dollars going to school and essentially planned to depend on welfare. And I'm supposed to respect you for that?

Your argument for foodstamps supporting the very foundation of our economy can be made for military spending as well (even when we're not fighting a war). When we spend $700B annually on defense spending, we're paying wages to military personnel (about $150B), and many enlisted personnel learn a viable trade for life after the military (e.g. motor pool, so it's a jobs training program too) and those wages get spent in the economy to buy food and other stuff. We create high-paying engineering jobs to develop technologies that reduce the risk to our personnel in a fire-fight, developments in aircraft, radar systems, communications networks (ever heard of DARPA?), the folks who really invented the internet), etc. all flow down in the civilian world--and many of those jobs are restricted to US citizens (can't be outsourced to China!). Those engineers and their managers and the investors who receive dividends from their shares all buy stuff in the economy too. The military spends about $3B annually just on family housing and about $70B on military construction. The $135B spent on procurement of aircraft, tanks, guns, ... are all providing good, high-paying manufacturing jobs too. The military spends about $200B in operations, buying stuff like fuel, electricity, food, materials and materiel. All that flows back into the economy too.

It's a fair question to ask: are we getting what we need from that military spending? Could we spend less and get the same results? Do we need everything we're spending on? Should some military programs be cut? Are the secondary and nth-order effects worth what we're spending for directly?

Why should I be excoriated for wondering the same things about the $1T of anti-poverty spending in general and foodstamp program in particular?

about a month ago
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Power and Free Broadband To the People

mpercy Re:Ok, so we've spend about $20T++ and 50 years (262 comments)

Rabbit is about $7-9/lb, rabbit tenderloin is about $16/lb (beef tenderloin is about $10/lb). You can buy rabbit at upscale stores like Whole Foods.

It's not the cost of rabbit versus something else, it's the sense of entitlement "I'm a foodie and not going do the 'living on ramen noodles' thing". There are plenty of people working hard to get ahead and living on ramen noodles, but this guy turns his nose up as if such a thing is simply beneath him and he is entitled to his rabbit, raw honey, fresh-squeezed juices, gourmet ice cream, Japanese eggplant, mint chutney and fresh turmeric and all at someone else's expense!

Ever loaned money to a friend or relative and have that person not pay you back? You start to notice that they always seem to be able to buy a new car, or a new TV, or go on a vacation, but can't manage to pay you back and will tell you at length every excuse why they can't? That resentment tends to build.

If you've temporarily fallen on hard times and cannot afford food, I'm happy to fund basic nutrition so you don't starve. If you want gourmet ice cream and fresh-squeezed juice with your rabbit and mint chutney, get a job where you can buy it yourself. When I'm clipping coupons and frequenting Costco and you're dropping your EBT card at Whole Foods for fresh meat, it's kinda like that deadbeat relative.

The key word in your statement is "practical". The unemployment rate for computer scientists is about 4.5% (i.e. below the normal "full employment line of 5%). The unemployment rate for Art & Design is about 12.5%, Interior Design is over 14%, Social Work is nearly 12% and the among the various "Culture" majors unemployment is over 21%. One of my Swiftian solutions for the student loan "crisis" is setting the interest rate for your loan so that it matches the unemployment rate for your major. Why subsidize more Gender Studies majors who will be wholly unable to get a job when they graduate? Go to community college and get a welding or plumbing certificate. P.S. one study estimates that by 2020 the welding trade will be about 300,000 workers short. Welders can go to school for 9 months and be virtually guaranteed of getting a job with starting pay of about $40K, and some welders in certain industries make 6 figures. Think any of those Baltimore kitschy, sketchy, artsy hipsters will take up welding when they can get by on foodstamps and a part-time blogging career?

Also, you can in fact use foodstamps at restaurants, at least in some states. In Arizona, California, Michigan and Florida foostamps can be used at restaraunts. In California, for example, you can use your SNAP card at Burger King, Pizza Hut, KFC, Dominos, Subway, El Pollo Loco, Wendy's, Denny's, Carl's Junior, Del Taco, and a host of smaller chains and local establishments.

What programs did we have the dropped the poverty rate from over 30% down to about 18% in the 15 years before the war on poverty? In the 5 years after the war on poverty started, when we started the big social programs, that rate fell a bit further, down from 18% to about 15%. Since then it has wobbled between about 13% and about 15%.

about a month ago
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Power and Free Broadband To the People

mpercy Re:10M self-employed people beg to differ (262 comments)

"We've had the War on Poverty for roughly fifty years now, and poverty went down considerably at the beginning"

Actually, it went down on pretty much the exact same slope it had been trending on since the end of WW II. Between 1945 and 1965, the poverty rate went from around 32% to around 18%. In the first five years of the war on poverty that trend continued--the question is whether it would have continued without the war on poverty--and has remained more-or-less steady for the last 45 years. On the other hand, spending on means-tested benefits programs has skyrocketed to nearly $1T per year. Are we seeing $1T per year of goodness coming out of that spending? Are we making progress in the war on poverty? Are there better ways to spend that $1T?

I don't question that these programs help some people, I question that we're helping more than we're hurting. It seems every "advancement" simply removes more of the negative consequences and stigma of being on welfare and/or simply doles out more cash. We've systematically removed all the incentives to getting out of the programs and indeed provide numerous disincentives to getting out of the programs.

I question whether we still have a "safety net" or are actively trying to convert it to a hammock.

about a month ago
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Power and Free Broadband To the People

mpercy Re:Actually, I consider the large number of failur (262 comments)

"The Idiocracy phenomena, right? :)

No, real life. Search for that phrase an you'll find the news reports with video and everything.

"And I'm not talking just free condoms... I'm talking the pill, IUDs, for women, RISUG type tech for men, no co-pays, no exceptions for the church. As a society we should be making that available to everyone. I'm not going to force men and women not to have children -- the slippery slope once you start deciding who can and who can't have kids is just too great. But unwanted pregnancy should be eliminated from the first world."

Why involve employers, churches, etc. at all? That's where Obamacare went wrong. If that's what you want, then put together a government program that provides these directly. It is 100% a mistake to try to force employers and churches to be proxy social workers. I'm also not going to tell people not to have kids. But I would be pretty willing to tell people who come to me with their hand extended for benefits: "No more kids while on benefits. Birth control will be provided to you free of charge. If you have a kid while on benefits, you can chose to either put the kid up for adoption where it will be raised outside the cycle of poverty or leave the program." Draconian and unworkable maybe, but so was Swift's idea for dealing with children.

"the homeless drunks and addicts? I don't know what the solution is, but blaming them for it is just silly."

I don't blame them, but clearly what we're doing hasn't done jack to fix the problem either and it is naive to think if we just do more of the same (and I mean more $$$ thrown down the same programs) it will get better.

about a month ago
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Power and Free Broadband To the People

mpercy Re:Ok, so we've spend about $20T++ and 50 years (262 comments)

I'm not sure there are good solutions, and I'm not saying I have them. I am saying that *nothing* we've been doing for the last 50 years and $22T+ seems to have done anything to really impact the problem either. I am saying that simply doing more of the same doesn't seem like a great idea. I am saying that giving people more and more benefits with less and less effort or consequences on their part seems to be misguided at best.

Perhaps it is worth considering making semi-permanent birth control a requirement of benefits. It doesn't seem unreasonable to me to ask that the people who are in a hole and who "need" help to at least stop making it worse by adding more mouths. Perhaps it is worth considering reducing UI payments for the long-term unemployed--study after study shows a nearly magical capacity for the long-term unemployed to find a job right before their UI payments stop. Perhaps we need to rethink a program that lets hipster art majors sit around hoping to make millions with their blog while feeling entitled to gourmet food...'Mak, 31, grew up in Westchester, graduated from the University of Chicago and toiled in publishing in New York during his 20s before moving to Baltimore last year with a meager part-time blogging job and prospects for little else. About half of his friends in Baltimore have been getting food stamps since the economy toppled, so he decided to give it a try; to his delight, he qualified for $200 a month. “I’m sort of a foodie, and I’m not going to do the ‘living off ramen’ thing,” he said, fondly remembering a recent meal he’d prepared of roasted rabbit with butter, tarragon and sweet potatoes.'

Of course, it doesn't help that people have a mental where "hope that one of these benevolent corporate overlords will by some mistake share their wealth with me". Perhaps I'm just a sick twisted person, but I see the world where "I hope to develop skills that someone is willing to pay me for" leads to a job, provided I can put myself in front of employers who are looking for people with those skills. I might have to learn new skills, or move to a new place but if that's what it takes. Lots of folks seem to think they're *entitled* to a $80k job, or at least the level of lifestyle it brings.

"the job market in this country is so far removed from anything that our animal instincts can recognize as contributing to our survival that it just beats most of us down into depressed wage slaves" Again, I know I only see those around, and most of my friends are well-paid engineers, but I have friends and family who are schoolbus drivers, teachers, entrepreneur shop owners (iPhone repair, appliances), accountants, welders, truck drivers. While everyone is always unhappy about something at work, none of them are "depressed wage slaves" and for the most part appreciate their employer as something more than a feudal lord squashing the serfs.

about a month ago
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Power and Free Broadband To the People

mpercy Actually, I consider the large number of failures (262 comments)

The population of people born with all those advantages but who still end up on the dole is pretty damn large. What's the difference between them and their whitebread suburban brats who *don't*?

And we've seen plenty of the inverse (or is it the contrapositive?) of "put one of those pampered, designer-coiffed, $400 shoe-wearing wall street masters of the universe who GOT AWAY with wrecking the economy so they could have those stupid $400 shoes, in the same starting place as virtually any poor person, and they will turn to shit, too..." Lots of stories of poor people winning the lottery and being broke again in a few years.

Certainly there is a difference in starting position for everyone. Paris Hilton exists, and it sucks ass that someone like her gets everything. But there are many many people who have succeeded on their own. Not everyone succeeds like Oprah, either, but Oprah's story is certainly compelling.

What, pray tell, has 50 years of the war on poverty and all its social welfare programs costing $22T and counting (and adding about $1T annually now) done to *actually* change the life of the inner-city urban poor, the rural poor, the homeless drunks and addicts? Maybe you're right, and we just need to keep spending that money to placate the masses. If that's the case, though, can we do it more efficiently? Can we do anything about women like this "I got 15 kids & 3 baby daddy's" ... "Someone's gotta pay for me and my kids"?

about a month ago
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Power and Free Broadband To the People

mpercy Re:BS, they just use their iPhone (262 comments)

I also delivered pizzas as one of my first jobs (and one I enjoyed quite a bit) and saw the same exact thing. I often wondered to myself "These people are living in this shit-hole, but they've got a big TV--there was always a big TV--and just spent $60 on pizza." Invariably, they were smoking a cigarette when they answered to door too.

about a month ago
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Power and Free Broadband To the People

mpercy Re:BS, they just use their iPhone (262 comments)

Progressive liberals regularly and with malice aforethought attempt to portray poverty in the most negative possible way, when in reality the standard of living among the poor in the United States has steadily increased to the point where a US person living in poverty has a standard of living similar to middle-class Europeans, and would be the envy of much of the world’s truly poor.

These folks did a nice job capturing this idea

[Understanding Poverty in the United States: Surprising Facts About America's Poor]

“For most Americans, the word “poverty” suggests near destitution: an inability to provide nutritious food, clothing, and reasonable shelter for one’s family. However, only a small number of the 46 million persons classified as “poor” by the Census Bureau fit that description. While real material hardship certainly does occur, it is limited in scope and severity.

“Although the mainstream media broadcast alarming stories about widespread and severe hunger in the nation, in reality, most of the poor do not experience hunger or food shortages. The U.S. Department of Agriculture collects data on these topics in its household food security survey. For 2009, the survey showed:

* 96 percent of poor parents stated that their children were never hungry at any time during the year because they could not afford food.
* 83 percent of poor families reported having enough food to eat.
* 82 percent of poor adults reported never being hungry at any time in the prior year due to lack of money for food.

“Other government surveys show that the average consumption of protein, vitamins, and minerals is virtually the same for poor and middle-class children and is well above recommended norms in most cases.

“Television newscasts about poverty in America generally portray the poor as homeless people or as a destitute family living in an overcrowded, dilapidated trailer. In fact, however:

* Over the course of a year, 4 percent of poor persons become temporarily homeless.
* Only 9.5 percent of the poor live in mobile homes or trailers, 49.5 percent live in separate single-family houses or townhouses, and 40 percent live in apartments.
* 42 percent of poor households actually own their own homes.
* Only 6 percent of poor households are overcrowded. More than two-thirds have more than two rooms per person.
* The average poor American has more living space than the typical non-poor person in Sweden, France, or the United Kingdom.
* The vast majority of the homes or apartments of the poor are in good repair.

“By their own reports, the average poor person had sufficient funds to meet all essential needs and to obtain medical care for family members throughout the year whenever needed.

“Of course, poor Americans do not live in the lap of luxury. The poor clearly struggle to make ends meet, but they are generally struggling to pay for cable TV, air conditioning, and a car, as well as for food on the table. The average poor person is far from affluent, but his lifestyle is far from the images of stark deprivation purveyed equally by advocacy groups and the media.

about a month ago
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Power and Free Broadband To the People

mpercy You're right (262 comments)

A Department of Energy Survey [www.eia.gov/consumption/residential/data/2009/#undefined], includes a part of which breaks down appliance use in US homes by household Income.

For example it states that 16.9M households are below the poverty line, and of those 15.6M have microwaves, 8.6M have coffee makers, 10.6M have top-door (top freezer) refrigerators, 1.8M have a 2nd refrigerator, 3,9M have a separate freezer, 4.8M have a dishwasher, 10.9M have a clothes washer in their home.

For TVs, of the 16.9M households below the poverty line, only 0.3M had no TV, while 4.8M had one TV, 5.9M had two TVs, 3.5M had three TVs, 1.6M had four TVs, and 0.7M had five or more TVs. Some 8.9M had TVs between 21 and 36 inches in screen size, and 4.4M had “big screen TVs” of 37 inches or more, with 5.7M being LCD or plasma TVs. Some 6.1M had cable TV boxes connected to their primary TV, and 3.9M had a video game console, and 7.1M had a DVD player.

In addition 5.8M of the 16.9M households below the poverty line had computers, while 1.8M more had two computers (and nearly1M had three or more). Some 7.2M had internet access, of those 2.7M had cable broadband, 3.1 had DSL or fiber. And 5.2M had at least one printer.

8.0M (of 16.9M poverty-level) households have cordless phones, 5.2M have answering machines, 0.8M have fax machines, and 0.8M have photocopiers. 5.8M have stereo equipment.

"Living in poverty": in the US is hardly the same as being destitute. Considering how prevalent the trappings of modern-day middle-class lifestyles are in the households living below the poverty line, one may find themselves wondering "Wait, they have a big-screen TV with cable, but I've gotta fork over taxes to give them foodstamps that they can spend at McDonalds?"

In my mind the notion that I am being forced to pay welfare benefits even one household that chooses to squander their real income on Playstations and big screen TVs is too many. If they can afford to buy a TV, they can afford to buy their own food. If they’ve got a big TV from before they were poor (they lost a job perhaps), then sell the TV first to buy food, then when you’ve truly got nothing left, we can talk about your “needs”.

So we should be paying benefits so that more people can have a dishwasher, cordless phone, and computer? Progressives seem to support the notion that everyone should be able to live a lower middle-class lifestyle, one that includes all those things, and that our welfare state should provide it without question of other lifestyle choices that may have been made, without requiring work on their part.

No one needs a dishwasher. It is a luxury, work-saving device. No one needs a TV. It is an entertainment device. No one needs a Playstation, it is a game. No one needs a tattoo. It is a personal choice. No one needs Big Macs, Coke, beer, booze, or cigarettes. If you're on welfare and spend money on those things, you can afford to meet your basic needs, but are choosing not to and expecting others to subsidize your decisions.

My definition of “need” vs "want" comes in much lower than progressive find tolerable, and includes minimal support–I don’t want anyone to starve in this country, and want to provide a helping hand. But if you want more than the most basic subsistence level of support, get it yourself. And I mean *basic*, like here's you sack of rice and beans. Of course, though, people who simply lack the basic mental or physical ability to support themselves cannot be excluded from a reasonable level of support.

I guess the question for progressives boils down to "How rich do you want the poor people in this country to be?" The onus should be on them,since they want to forcibly take money from me and others to redistribute it to those they feel do not have enough. They never have defined “enough” but the level of expectation on the word “need” seems much higher than mine.

about a month ago
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Power and Free Broadband To the People

mpercy Re:10M self-employed people beg to differ (262 comments)

$22T spent in the war on poverty over the the last 50 years in the US. Poverty level essentially unaffected for the last 45 of those 50 years.

People are smart enough the cooperate too. It's called charity. The problem the progressive socialist movement seems to have with charity is a) it is not forced on people by the state, therefore it "can never work" and b) it by its nature discriminates in favor of the deserving poor and against those who choose not to try. It is true that charity will never meet the endless demands of the "gimme free stuff" people, but I simply don't care very much about them. I do care about the sudden widow with two kids, the wounded veteran, the mentally disabled, i.e. people who simply cannot provide for themselves and people who *temporarily and unexpectedly* find themselves in need of assistance. It's an oldie-but-a-goodie: the safety-net system should not be a hammock.

Spending $22T hasn't done fuck-all to alleviate poverty. But keep shoveling the money into that pit, keep putting large and larger burdens on fewer and fewer people to carry more and more dead weight. Or maybe, just maybe, we admit that the way the war on poverty (much like the war on drugs) cannot be won by throwing money at the problem--hasn't worked so far. After we admit that, maybe we can at least *try* something different.

Our Government is a classic enabler and we are all codependent. An enabler is a person who by their actions make it easier for an addict to continue their self-destructive behavior by rescuing the addict. The codependent party exhibits behavior that controls, makes excuses for, pities, and takes other actions to perpetuate the obviously needy party's condition, because of their desire to be needed and fear of doing anything that would change the relationship.

As for "The get a job rant when there are no jobs is stupid." You've obviously never posted a job opening and had to deal with the endless stream of people who simply want you to sign their "I applied for this job" paperwork so they can keep their checks coming. They have no interest in even discussing the job. They don't want the job. They just want their check.

"Mar 12, 2012 - Although the employment picture is improving, the job market can hardly ... lack of work, however, there are jobs that employers can't seem to fill." [CNBC]

"Jul 19, 2013 - Despite millions of workers still looking for jobs, there are a wide variety of positions employers just can't seem to fill, new research shows." [Business World Daily]

"Jul 10, 2014 - A lower unemployment rate doesn't mean all jobs are getting filled. A new survey reports many businesses are having difficulty finding workers." [CNBC]

"The staffing company ManpowerGroup, for instance, reports that 52% of U.S. employers surveyed say they have difficulty filling positions because of talent ..." [WSJ]

about a month ago
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Drones Could 3D-Map Scores of Hectares of Land In Just a Few Hours

mpercy Why wouldn't you just make these measurements (94 comments)

when you were already out plowing or harvesting or fertilizing the fields? Why wouldn't you just do this continually over time to improve your maps, once you made the investment in the GPS receiver?

about a month ago
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Drones Could 3D-Map Scores of Hectares of Land In Just a Few Hours

mpercy Re:units (94 comments)

Still wrong. 50 acres is about 0.2 square kilometers.

about a month ago
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Power and Free Broadband To the People

mpercy Ok, so we've spend about $20T++ and 50 years (262 comments)

"solving" those sorts of problems.

Before declaring the "War on Poverty" LBJ was warned that if "something isn't done" the poverty rate would skyrocket . After the trillions of dollars and years spent fighting the war of poverty, what's the poverty rate, 15.something percent? Before the war on poverty the rate had dropped dropped over 32% in 1950 to below 20%.

The poverty rate is pretty much flat for the last 45 years. Can we at least consider to prospect that what we've been doing, at close to $1T per year nowadays, is simply not working? Can we at least consider alternatives? Or are we destined to forever throw good money after bad--pouring money into a system that simply does nothing to actually "solve" the poverty problem.

Two things get you and keep you out of poverty:
1. Not having kids that you cannot afford (*)
2. An unquenchable drive to improve oneself: education, trade skills, getting that first or next job, getting that first or next promotion or pay raise, entrepreneurship...the basic theme of every rags-to-riches story

(*) A single person working full-time (40 hours/wk for 50 weeks) and earning minimum wage is not, by Federal standards, living in poverty. In fact, they are at about 125% of the poverty line. Add a kid, and bam, both parent and child are living in poverty. Two minimum wage earners, OTOH, could support themselves and up to 3 children without being below the poverty line.

about a month ago
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Power and Free Broadband To the People

mpercy BS, they just use their iPhone (262 comments)

Seems like every person in line in front of me at the grocery store using foodstamps has two or three kids with them and every one of them has an iPhone, usually two generations newer than my own.

about a month ago
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Power and Free Broadband To the People

mpercy 10M self-employed people beg to differ (262 comments)

Self-employed people have no problem with the fact that their employee may not have a college degree. They didn't wait around for someone to hand them a job.

No one said it was easy, and you're spot on with your last statement: many of the people in question are not driven, intelligent or motivated.

If you have no drive or motivation (aren't those the same thing?), even if you are intelligent, you will almost certainly fail. Why should the rest of us bend over backward to compensate for the shortcomings of unmotivated people with no drive to better themselves? Why should we be expected to provide them with a (lower)middle-class lifestyle at our expense?

about a month ago
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Open Consultation Begins On Italy's Internet Bill of Rights

mpercy All the more reason to stop it! (95 comments)

I already said that's I'd eliminate the foodstamp program as it is. A side effect would be to also eliminate the crony-capitalist aspects it may have on top of removing the disincentive to work. Are you saying you support foodstamps at McDonalds?

If the program is indeed sop for the megacorps, I say disallow it. If it is sop for the lazy, I saw disallow it.

Under what circumstances is it a good idea to support anyone's ability to use foodstamps at McDonalds?

about a month ago

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