And taxpayers foot the bill.
John Borland over at CNET laments the fact that telecommunications providers and “golf-themed” community developers in the suburban Houston area are tapping into $2.2 billion in federal giveaways designed to fund rural broadband deployment. The Houston developments receiving the sweet, sweet subsidies also happen to be in Tom DeLay’s district.
The article also bemoans the fact that very few rural communities are ponying up to the Bush broadband trough to fund broadband investment in rural and “underserved” areas. One telling sentence near the end frets: “This is money that could literally save rural towns from extinction.”
A few quick thoughts:
1. Who can’t give away $2.2 billion?
2. After years of waste by government and abuse of “well-intentioned” federal programs by corporations and others suckling on the federal sow’s teat, why would anyone be shocked or appalled at such corruption in Bush’s rural broadband plan or at DeLay taking advantage of his position to benfit his home district, especially since tech and telecom pork is the hip thing to do on Capitol Hill? How else can Congressmen show that they are concerned and relevant except by throwing subsidies at technology?
3. If the only thing standing between your town and extinction is a subsidy for broadband development, maybe you should just let your town die.
4. The only way to stop abuse and corruption in federal subsidy programs is to end federal subsidy programs. I know that we in the U.S. have romantic notions of the family farm and living out in the wilderness, but that pastoral vision shouldn’t be propped up artificially, especially when it costs the rest of us billions.
Check out these previous posts on tech pork and the inevitable waste and misallocation that giving away loads of taxpayer “scrilla” engenders: