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Should Taxpayers Back Cars Only the Rich Can Afford?

phidipides Re:Not Really (752 comments)

I suspect it would be pretty difficult to find anything in the constitution that would go against using money from a bill that passed Congress to do what the bill specified.

Try the Tenth Amendment.

I'm not a Constitutional expert, but Article 1 section 8 gives the Congress the right to collect taxes to use "for the general welfare of the United States", so that wouldn't fall under the tenth amendment (which reserves rights NOT spelled out in the Constitution to the states). There are clearly limits on what Congress can do, but using taxes to invest in the economy doesn't seem to be one of them.

more than 5 years ago

Should Taxpayers Back Cars Only the Rich Can Afford?

phidipides Re:Not Really (752 comments)

What you fail to take into account, is that every dollar the government "invests" is forcible extracted from someone who earned it. By trying to pick and choose winners and losers in the marketplace, the government distorts the market and creates inefficiencies.


So your argument is against all taxation and government spending? American society has organized itself so that we elect representatives who determine how much and for what purpose tax money is collected. If you disagree you campaign against them and try to get them removed from office; failing that your only other options are to refuse to pay taxes (in which case you will go to jail), or to move elsewhere. If you agree to stay here and don't want to be prosecuted for tax evasion then the "forcible extraction" argument is a tough one to make. There are numerous countries around the world where you can live without paying taxes or dealing with a government (Somalia jumps to mind) but there are clearly trade-offs in not having basic services and security in those countries, both of which are benefits of money that (in your words) is "forcibly extracted" from citizens.

more than 5 years ago

Should Taxpayers Back Cars Only the Rich Can Afford?

phidipides Re:Not Really (752 comments)

Then by all means, invest your money if you think it's worth doing. Using tax money for this is immoral, not to mention unconstitutional.


I'm not sure if "unconstitutional" was a typo or not, but I suspect it would be pretty difficult to find anything in the constitution that would go against using money from a bill that passed Congress to do what the bill specified.

As to immoral, is the assumption that using taxpayer money for anything other than core government services (defense, courts, etc) is immoral? From a "get back to basics" standpoint the argument against using ANY taxpayer money for anything other than these core things would make sense, but otherwise I think it's fair to say that the role of government has evolved to include acting as an incubator for future economic success. NASA is not a core service, but it is kept alive because of the technology it generates (amongst other reasons). College loans are not a core government service, but the US benefits greatly from having an educated workforce. Similarly, providing incentives to automakers to develop new technologies drives the industry in a direction that offers great potential benefit, and I'm personally excited that the government is actually including smaller companies that could potentially change old industries in some of the most recent programs. Tesla may not succeed, but if they do then this $400 million loan may some day be regarded as one of the best uses of taxpayer money that the government has ever committed to. Provided you can include investing in the economy among the roles that the US government has then this would seem to be a very "moral" use of taxpayer money.

more than 5 years ago

Getting Hired As an Entry-Level Programmer?

phidipides Re:Demonstrate competence (540 comments)

"So join an open source project and do some real world programming."

Mod the parent up - without significant experience no one will hire you. When the company I work at is hiring people we generally get a ton of resumes, most of which are an alphabet soup of people who read a lot of O'Reilly books. In an interview it becomes apparent very quickly who actually understands the technology and who has merely crammed a bunch of knowledge. By joining an open source project you'll get some real-world experience that will force you to dig deep into a project, to make decisions about how best to solve a design problem, and force you to work with tools and technologies like Subversion, Tomcat, automated testing frameworks, etc.

In addition, when there are multiple candidates that are qualified for a job (and with the current economy there usually are) a company has the luxury of hiring people that are easy to work with, so make a good impression in the interview. Be friendly, be well groomed, and show some social skills. This aspect of an interview may not seem that important, but if you don't have strong experience then you'll need whatever help you can get, and making sure you project yourself as someone that people want to work with is a huge advantage.

Last of all, how are you looking for jobs? Consider asking friends for recommendations or going through a recruiter rather than just posting on Monster. Have a look at sites like - those are usually contract positions, but many companies will hire someone on a short contract and offer them a full-time job if things work out. If you really want a new job in today's economy try every possible avenue you can find and eventually one will pan out.

more than 5 years ago



phidipides phidipides writes  |  more than 7 years ago

phidipides writes "While debating whether or not to upgrade my current laptop and server machines I started looking into what new technologies have arrived and what was on the way, and found surprisingly little. Serial ATA 3.0 offers faster hard disk speeds, and DVI provides better video support, but otherwise there doesn't seem to be much reason to upgrade other than the standard faster processors and more RAM. Are there any other new interfaces or technologies that are worth upgrading for, or is anything on the near horizon?"


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