IndieDems has been shocked, shocked to discover that, just as Trump has launched a campaign to make “socialism” a bad word and to brand the Republican Party as the anti-socialist Party, forces are at work trying to spread socialist programs into the flyover hinterland—the very heart of pro-Trumpist fervor.
These forces have found a new avenue to advance socialism—defined by Republicans as anything that increases the size and power of the federal government and provides federal assistance to average Americans, as contrasted to corporations and rich Republicans.
These socialists, motivated by nothing more than their single-minded goal of making all Americans more dependent on the federal government, want the Feds to take charge of making broadband available to all of rural America! To quote from an op-ed in the New York Times written by Christopher Ali, an assistant professor at the University of Virginia:
“What we need today to solve the digital divide between urban and rural America is a renewed federal commitment to rural communications. We need a national rural broadband policy, demonstrating that the United States shocked is serious about becoming a fully connected nation.”
Professor Ali points out that “In 2017, a full 30 percent of rural Americans (or 19 million people) and 21 percent of farms lacked broadband access.” He compares this to rural America’s lack of electricity and telephones in the 1930s, when such utilities had become common place in urban areas. “Electricity and telephone companies were simply unwilling to enter rural America: The population was too sparse and the geography too vast.” Rural communications were viewed as a “market failure” — “something that happens when private companies cannot or will not provide a socially desirable good because of a lack of return on investment.”
Ali cites the socialist (not his term) solution to this problem: “President Franklin Roosevelt created the Rural Electrification Administration in 1936 to provide loans and grants to rural electric and telephone companies. It was a tremendous success: Within 20 years, 65 percent of farmers had a telephone and 96 percent of them had electricity.”
Ali advocates a similar federally-sponsored solution to a similar problem. He points out that there are already two federal agencies charged with subsidizing rural broadband:
- The Rural Utilities Service—the successor to the Rural Electrification Administration and now a division of the Department of Agriculture—has meted out about $800 million per year for rural broadband loans and grants since 1995. Last summer, Congress allocated an extra $600 million to the RUS to subsidize broadband projects for the most underserved communities. This is in addition to the $7.5 billion in rural broadband loans and grants provided by the 2009 Recovery Act.
- The Federal Communications Commission provides about $8.8 billion per year in broadband subsidies (rural, tribal and low income) with at least $4.6 billion earmarked for rural.
Ali goes on to state that the lack of coordinated federal policies has allowed major telecommunications companies to receive a large portion of these funds without much regulatory accountability. As a result, rural America has not seen broadband deployed and adopted at the same speed and effectiveness that it had with electricity and telephone service almost a century ago.
Ali’s major conclusion: “A designated point agency is crucial to coordinate federal expenditures and to encourage more data sharing, collaboration and coordination between the F.C.C. and the Rural Utilities Service.”
In support of his proposal, he offers this astounding statement: “I recently traveled to the Midwest to find out where and how federal broadband policies have failed rural America. I spoke with residents, business owners, broadband providers, farmers and officials, and they all told me about the need for high-speed connectivity and a renewed federal strategy.”
IndieDems is appalled to discover that socialist subsidies are already being forced on rural Republican-voting areas to expand their broadband access—and those damn socialists have the gall to propose a major increase in the program!
And the biggest horror of all—the socialists want to massively expand the power of the federal government to accomplish this goal! Starting with the creation of a new federal bureaucracy to set nationwide standards and oversee the distribution of the tax dollars. While diminishing the role of big communications companies, just because they are getting nowhere in connecting rural Americans to the high-speed Internet.
Please, help save America’s Trumpist Republicans out there in flyover land from this terrible fate of having their worst socialist nightmare come true. Contact your U.S Representative and Senators and tell them, “no additional federal subsidies for expanding broadband into rural America! In fact, do away with the funds that are already being provided! And above all, do not create a powerful federal agency to implement this socialist plan.”
Remember the famous words of Ronald Reagan: “Government is always the problem, never the solution.”
Even better: eliminate those massive agricultural subsidies, loans, and other federal benefits targeted for rural America, that has turned our agriculture into the most socialized segment of the American economy. Hey, why not exclude the rural areas from having to be burdened with Social Security and Medicare payments. Let those believers in rugged individualism and capitalism take care of their own senior citizens.
Take all the federal payments now going to rural America and divert all of it to the Blue States. After all, they have no shame about being socialist welfare queens, right? Plus, they are the economic engines of the United States, regularly sending more money to Washington than they get back in federal aid.