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Comment True numbers (Score 1) 318

""In the 2015 fiscal year, for instance, the top 10 firms received 38% of all the H-1B visas in computer occupations alone. All these firms, except for Amazon and to a partial extent IBM, are outsourcers."

Maybe this is technically correct, but this statement is misleading.

In 2015, the top-8 firms received 49,539 H1-B visas or over 58% of the 85,000 nominal allotment. Of these, about 700 had advanced US degrees. All 8 were Indian outsourcing companies, and the overwhelming majority of the visa approvals went to Indian nationals, about 48,650 Indians from these top-8 firms.

Of course, the ironic thing was that a few years ago, my company was unable to obtain an H1-B visa for our new Indian worker who has an EE PhD from a top-5 US engineering school and is definitely top-notch. He was forced to apply for an outstanding researcher visa instead. Ironically, the low-paid, not outstanding Indians displaced the highly paid, very outstanding Indian.

Comment Re:45 years (Score 1) 114

Aggregate years are not years.
"Nine women can't make a baby in one month."

It depends. The theoretical bathtub curve is real and simply says that there is an intrinsic constant failure rate that is dependent on the system and an assumed constant environment. That constant failure rate component always exists but is added to the effects of early-life failures and aging/wearout failures. The average failure rates due to early-life failures and wearout at any system age are never truly zero, but there is often an in-between period where both are near zero. This is where the constant failure rate becomes evident.

If the systems are monitored only (or mostly) in this age range that manifests a constant failure rate, then the elapsed time may be aggregated.

Comment Re:Trolling in the summary (Score 2) 277

At least the authors of these rankings couch their results as "perceptions" of corruption, which might be different from actual corruption. There seems to be a correlation between the rankings and the broadness of economic prosperity among the masses in each country. If so, perhaps, the rankings are more a measure of apathy about corruption. People that have no economic complaints may not care about corruption, and that may be measured as a lack of perception of corruption.

Comment Re:US degraded from full democracy in 2016 ?!?! (Score 1) 277

Every society has been a completely "full democracy" based on the historical definition of full democracy as restricted to an elite ruling class. This is certainly the case for the prototypical full democracy of ancient Greece where slaves and women were non-participants in the full democracy.

There has never been a true full democracy of any society except for those societies of sufficiently small size, e.g., for my one-person society.

Comment Re:Correction... all AMERICAN millennials (Score 2) 495

From the Time article: 'The [New York] Times found that nearly 20% of Trump supporters did not approve of freeing the slaves, according to a January YouGov/Economist poll that asked respondents if they supported or disapproved of “the executive order that freed all slaves in the states that were in rebellion against the federal government”—Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.'

Of course, the more detailed results from snopes.com says, "Of the 2,000 respondents, 53 percent said they strongly approved; 17 percent approved somewhat; 8 percent disapproved somewhat; 5 percent disapproved strongly; and 17 percent said they were not sure." So, 13% percentage disapproving was rounded up to "nearly 20%", but curiously the more accurate assertion that 30% did not approve was not used.

Furthermore, the snopes.com suggests from related polling that perhaps the opposition was more towards executive orders in general, i.e., opposition to the means of freeing the slaves rather than the actual freeing of the slaves. It also suggests that liberal Republicans were more likely to be white supremacists than conservative Republicans and that similar survey results were seen before Trump's presidency. Also, without a comparable survey of Clinton supporters, it's not clear that the results are not simply reflective of Americans in general.

Comment Re:It's the content providers (Score 1) 209

People say that they don't want to pay for the big bundle of programming since they only want to watch a few specific shows. However, what they really mean is that want to pay less. If they could pay less and get the bundle, the complaints would largely vanish. The huge question is whether content production would be profitable at the consumer-desired price.

Comment Re:But why? (Score 1) 336

Tim Cook has been paid nearly $400 worth of Apple stock...

So almost 4 shares. Impressive.

What a few million shares between friends? :) Yes, he's been paid nearly $400 million in Apple stock, with another nearly $400 million in the next 5 years. That is definitely impressive, especially next to the measly $10 million or so for his salary.

Comment Re:But why? (Score 1) 336

What's so "incredible" about a $9 million salary for the CEO of one of the most valuable companies anywhere?

It's downright pedestrian compared to what many sports players get to throw a ball or make tackles, and it comes with a massively higher responsibility to boot.

Remember that Steve Job's salary was $1. Why? Because it's good PR, and it results in tremendous tax savings by shifting the income to capital gains. Tim Cook has been paid nearly $400 worth of Apple stock with another nearly $400 million upcoming in the next few years. His tax savings by paying capital gains taxes instead of income taxes will exceed his entire salary.

Comment Re:Blaming the wrong thing (Score 1) 103

About 5 years ago I stumbled across a full internal accounting report of a local school district online. The biggest expense wasn't teacher salaries, classroom supplies, or building construction and maintenance. It was administrative salaries. Think about that. The administrators at the school - the people who sit in offices, push paper, and rarely interact with parents or kids - take a bigger chunk of the school's budget than the teachers.

It's possible that your suggestion that administrators claim a lack of funds for supplies in order to garner government support for budget increases may be true. However, the assertion that administrator salaries are greater than that of teachers is not believable. For example, for my local school district in the previous school year, teacher salaries were $65.5 million versus $8.7 million for administrators. I'm confident that it's similar for the vast majority of school districts simply because there many more teachers than administrators, and while administrator salaries are usually larger than teacher salaries, the ratio of average administrator to teacher salaries is far lower than the ratio of teachers to administrators.

Comment Re:Google, Motorola, Intel . . . (Score 1) 267

Well, you made the claim that lawmakers wrote the law because of an ideological preference, and then implied that their ideology was irrelevant because it had secondary effects that the lawmakers did not (likely) anticipate.

I made no declarations about the intention of lawmakers, because they are irrelevant to my point. Additionally, the intention of lawmakers is also irrelevant, either directly or tangentially, for the companies. Companies based their decision on laws, regardless of the intention or motivation behind those laws.

Change the law to fit a different ideology - do away with the tax, for the sake of american workers - and by lucky coincidence, corporations will find it in their interest to repatriate a _massive_ amount of money.

Everybody wins but the politicians, who would rather drum up taxes by any other means than raising taxes on their constituents.

My main point was that companies will do what is in their best interests, and those interests are significantly affected by the relative tax offerings of all possible countries. The US could reduce its tax rate to zero, but if Ireland had a negative tax rate (i.e., a subsidy), the money would remain in Ireland. In fact, many cities, states, and countries compete on the basis of offering the highest negative tax rate.

Comment Re:Google, Motorola, Intel . . . (Score 1) 267

It's more ideological than you think.

If a US-educated, US-residing workforce designs a product, and that product is then sourced, manufactured, shipped, sold, serviced, and recycled, ENTIRELY overseas, how much of that profit is actually owed to the US government at all?

One could make a case that those US-educated US-residing employees are already paying the "fair burden" of tax dollars simply by raking in a boatload of cash from foreign shores and then paying a large hunk of that in income tax. Why call them dodgers, when you could call them heroes, because they are pulling money into the US economy without creating any wear on the local public infrastructure to source, manufacture, sell, service, or recycle anything.

But this is an entirely different issue about the fairness of tax policies. I was simply commenting about the economic incentives of the current reality. Apple dodges taxes because it can do so legally, not because it thinks the US scheme is unfair. If the US scheme were somehow fairer in Apple's eyes, would they abrogate their fiduciary responsibility to their stockholders to maximize corporate value and voluntarily decline to avail themselves of the Irish tax haven?

Comment Re:Google, Motorola, Intel . . . (Score 1) 267

Part of the issue is that the U.S. has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. If it were lowered, companies would probably be more willing to bring back money or not try to store it overseas because there would be no financial advantage towards doing so.

This is not correct. The entire issue is that there is at least one country in the entire world that is willing to levy a lower rate. The problem isn't that the rest of the EU countries have lower tax rates than the US, it's that Ireland has a much lower rate. The rest of the EU has zero impact on the Ireland situation (other than ostensibly complaining about Ireland's low rates).

The other issue is that there are advantages to operating in the US. If there weren't, these corporations would simply move entirely to Ireland or other tax havens. The immorality of the situation is that these companies want the benefits without paying the fees. Yes, I know that they're operating within the letter of the law, and I'm sure that the lawmakers wrote the law that way because they feel so strongly about the issue ideologically and not for any other reason ...

Comment Re:A new golden age (Score 1) 324

"China, will say, "Give us our money for all the bonds we've been buying from you." That then sends us into an economic depression as we have to come up with ways to pay those bondholders or do what Trump thinks is good business sense and throw up our hands and default. "

Which causes China's economy to tank. They simply will not do that when they rely on the US so heavily. They can't afford to.

The holders of US treasury bonds can't simply return them for a refund. They have to sell them to other buyers. So, there is no direct impact on the US federal budget. However, dumping a large number of bonds on the market puts downward pressure on the bonds, which increases the yield, which then in turn affects things like mortgage rates.

China has dumped large (tens of $ billions) in some months. However, they can't dump them too quickly or they would have to sell at a discount.

Comment Apple problem mostl or platform-independent issue? (Score 1) 121

That fake chargers cut corners that lead to unsafe designs is not a surprise. However, I wonder if Android devices suffer from a similar problem. Is there something inherent about the Apple design that leads to a higher probability of unsafe knock-offs, or is the current focus on Apple chargers simply a matter of more media attention devoted to Apple at the moment?

Comment Re:Great for China! (Score 1) 600

Difficulty: China considers Taiwan part of China and is trading with itself

Besides direct economic considerations, trade with China carries significant consequences for international relations. Almost half of Taiwan's exports are to China, and 1 million Taiwanese businesspeople live in China. This type of economic dependence has succeeded in exerting hegemonic influence with greater success than the 1500 missiles targeted at Taiwan.

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