Tag Archives: internet

The deeply dishonest Republican Budget

I’m  currently making my way to a trauma conference. I have internet access – sort of. Currently, I’m “enjoying” in-flight internet access which is kind of like getting access to the internet and kinda not. What makes the internet great is access to content – videos, original documents and the like. With this in-flight thing, I really can’t download big files and uploading smaller files to Dropbox has proven problematic. So, I’m not going to be able to get the work done that I had planned on doing. This means that I can (should be able to), I hope, post to my blog. 

The House and Senate Republican budget plans are so deeply dishonest that they are laughable. Sure, Democrats have pushed “pie in the sky” budgets but anyone could look at the budget and understand the nuts and bolts of the budget. The GOP has decided that we need more mystery in our lives. So, this budget, like several before, doesn’t spell out where a lot of the budget cuts are coming from. One of the most laughable items in the budget has to do with repealing ObamaCare. It seems that Republicans not only want to kill ObamaCare, but they want to cut Medicare on top of that. All of the revenue generators that were added to ObamaCare in order to control costs would be cut, of course.

More from CBPP:

  • Balance the budget in ten years through massive cuts in domestic programs, with no revenue contribution;
  • Hit programs for low- and moderate-income Americans exceptionally hard, with about two-thirds of its budget cuts likely coming from programs for the less fortunate, thereby exacerbating poverty and inequality;
  • Repeal health reform and cut Medicaid deeply on top of that, likely causing tens of millions of people to become uninsured or underinsured;
  • Essentially balance the budget only on paper, with the help of two huge “magic asterisks” that are as large as Chairman Price’s — about $1.2 trillion in entitlement cuts over ten years that are left essentially unspecified, and about $1 trillion from the repeal of health reform’s revenue-raising measures without any identified replacement (as explained below);
  • Cut funding below the already-damaging sequestration levels in the years after 2016 for non-defense discretionary programs — the part of the budget that funds education, job training, early intervention programs for children, basic scientific and medical research, and transportation, all of which are important to increasing opportunity, raising productivity, and boosting long-term economic growth;
  • Shrink federal spending to stunningly low levels, measured as a share of gross domestic product (GDP), that are unprecedented in modern America and far below the levels in recent decades, including the Reagan years; and
  • Eliminate a 2007 Senate rule that creates a point of order against budget reconciliation bills that increase deficits over the coming ten years, such as the 2001 and 2003 reconciliation bills that included huge tax cuts without any measures to offset the costs.

Come on. I’m happy to debate conservatives on supply-side economics. This is not debateable. This is a half-budget or maybe not even that much. Oh, this kind of craziness is new. This isn’t a “they all do it” kind of thing. If you take our democracy seriously then this can’t be tolerated. (Dear GOP, please complete this budget. Insert the magic numbers and tell us what you are planning on doing. If you can’t do that, can you simply admit that you hate the poor and most of the middle class and be done with it?)

Net Neutrality

net neutralityI think this is important.

From DailyKos:

With the Federal Communications Commission set to vote on strong net neutrality rules this Thursday, the opposition is getting increasingly shrill, and their favorite talking point—a false one—is that it’s going to raise your taxes.

“Stop the federal internet takeover!” That’s the warning that Sen. Mike Lee blasted out to readers of conservative email lists last month. “This is essentially a massive tax increase on the middle class, being passed in the dead of night without the American public really being made aware of what is going on,” wrote the Utah Republican. “New taxes and fees” could total “$15 billion annually,” Grover Norquist, the head of Americans for Tax Reform, claimed in an op-ed. It’s “Obamacare for the internet,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) hollered.

That false talking point comes from a discredited analysis of the issue by a group called the Progressive Policy Institute that claims that the option the FCC plans to take on net neutrality, reclassifying it under Title II of the Telecommunications Act, could cost American consumers up to $15 billion annually. The claim has been debunked by internet advocates andtraditional media fact-checkers alike, as relying on “fuzzy math” and “significant factual error[s].”

But it still gets traction, including at The New York Times, as Media Matters points out. TheTimes “Bits” blog, which really should know better, repeated the debunked claim in a post last week, even while it included a statement from FCC spokesperson Kim Hart that Wheeler’s plan “‘does not raise taxes or fees. Period.'”

The reality is that the FCC can and probably will “declare that broadband is a purely interstate telecom service,” as Free Press explains. “Because broadband access is interstate and not intrastate, none of the intrastate taxes or special telecom fees would apply.” States could impose a sales tax on interstate telecom services, but that’s just about the only tax that could apply here, and it would be a maximum of about $4 billion, nationally, as opposed to $15 billion. But the FCC and Congress could both take action to eliminate any extra taxes. (more…)

Is the Internet a Utility?

Blog Frustration
Blog Frustration

(Wow, I typed this way too quickly this morning.) Gas, electricity, water, sewer and telephone have become for most Americans our basic utilities. These are things that most of us can’t live without. These are the services that we believe should never be interrupted. Is the Internet now one of these services? If so, how do we get to uninterrupted Internet service?

Psst, I’m talking to you, Comcast. Yep, I’m posting this using my cellphone. Why? Because Comcast has let me down again. 18 hours of no service. Multiple calls. Time wasted. The runaround. My kingdom for an honest answer from anyone who works for that dysfunctional company.