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elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·EarthLink

Hooray!

Finally, government acts in the best interests of the community.

Labelling the bill "anti-community" is so Newspeakian. Karl should be ashamed. At best, it is an "Anti-Muni" bill.

Competition and the market have not failed - the locals simply aren't willing to pay the local market rate, instead they're seeking to tax their neighbors, in order that the local government will sell them subsidized broadband.

amigo_boy

join:2005-07-22

1 recommendation

said by elray:

Competition and the market have not failed - the locals simply aren't willing to pay the local market rate, instead they're seeking to tax their neighbors, in order that the local government will sell them subsidized broadband.

Is that how you describe sewer, water, building codes, zoning laws and social control of electric, gas and telephone utilities?

elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·EarthLink
said by amigo_boy:

said by elray:

Competition and the market have not failed - the locals simply aren't willing to pay the local market rate, instead they're seeking to tax their neighbors, in order that the local government will sell them subsidized broadband.

Is that how you describe sewer, water, building codes, zoning laws and social control of electric, gas and telephone utilities?

Based on the manner in which our local municipalities have mis-managed and abused their government-owned utilities, yes, I would, stipulating, of course, that some cities are more corrupt than others, and some private utilities make Munis look attractive. The difference is that with most private power/gas utilities, you can buy their stock as a hedge.

But we're discussing broadband (and by extension Pay TV and Landline service), not traditional utilities or codes deemed essential for life/safety. These are not-quite-natural-monopolies today.

Local government has a duty to the taxpayers to act in a fiscally prudent manner. We've seen all across the country where city after city is going bankrupt despite confiscatory taxes. Going into the broadband business not only condemns the local populace to government servitude, it virtually assures that no competitive options will arise.

amigo_boy

join:2005-07-22

1 recommendation

said by elray:

But we're discussing broadband (and by extension Pay TV and Landline service), not traditional utilities or codes deemed essential for life/safety. These are not-quite-natural-monopolies today.

How is broadband less essential? You have to have it to do your income taxes, file unemployment, apply for jobs.

Also, how are zoning laws essential for life/safety? We force people to perform activities where they wouldn't choose to. How is that different than your argument that socializing a business (either as a government-run or publicly-commissioned utility) is forcing some people to carry a burden for others?

said by elray:

Local government has a duty to the taxpayers to act in a fiscally prudent manner.

How is it prudent to create an unregulated monopoly which benefits from the use of rights or way or airwaves, both finite public resources? Giving the business a social benefit which alleviates their "free market" requirement to negotiate property rights with each private property owner along the way?

That seems bad enough. But, when the monopoly reaches the level of necessity that normal utilities have, it's not clear how this is prudent. What could be operated through greater public oversight (to operate in the public's interest), or completely owned by the public, is basically a taxing entity under the guise of a private business. All the downsides of taxation without the upside of representation.


gergles
Greg
Premium
join:2003-05-30
New York, NY

1 recommendation

reply to elray
Yes, because there's so many competitive options now. You can choose Time Warner or Time Warner or Time Warner, all of whom refuse to build modern infrastructure because they won't make enough money to pay their executives ludicrous bonuses and to fill up the company jet!

Your "competition" will get you a capped, throttled, 3 megabit connection for $50 a month, and by god you'd better like it because that's competition and the government building infrastructure projects is godless socialism.

elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·EarthLink
reply to amigo_boy
said by amigo_boy:

How is broadband less essential? You have to have it to do your income taxes, file unemployment, apply for jobs.

Broadband is not essential for life. You can live without it.

You absolutely DO NOT need it to do your income taxes, file unemployment, or apply for jobs.

said by amigo_boy:

Also, how are zoning laws essential for life/safety? We force people to perform activities where they wouldn't choose to. How is that different than your argument that socializing a business (either as a government-run or publicly-commissioned utility) is forcing some people to carry a burden for others?

Zoning laws/codes exist to protect health and safety.
Without them, we'd have open sewers and the death and disease that comes with unsanitary living, we'd have buildings that are firetraps, slums that breed TB, etc - the public benefit is overwhelmingly clear: protecting life and limb.

As for socializing a business - creating either a government monopoly (by way of the treasury, undercutting those who operate for-profit), or creating a rate-regulated utility, both can be legitimate. But not without compensation to the existing franchises, and not without due consideration for the real fiscal impacts and legal liabilities of such an undertaking. Free-spending power-hungry local governments often understate or overlook the real consequences for their actions when promoting a social agenda.

said by amigo_boy:

How is it prudent to create an unregulated monopoly which benefits from the use of rights or way or airwaves, both finite public resources? Giving the business a social benefit which alleviates their "free market" requirement to negotiate property rights with each private property owner along the way?

Sorry, but while we might not like the status quo, it is neither unregulated nor monopoly.

Those rights were negotiated in the past, when your governments created the Bells/LECs, and when your town sold franchise rights for cable. They were paid for, fair and square. Taking them without compensation is illegal.

The vast majority of municipalities do not prohibit cable over-builders - it is only the local populace who is unwilling to pay the market rate, that serves as the barrier to entry.

said by amigo_boy:

That seems bad enough. But, when the monopoly reaches the level of necessity that normal utilities have, it's not clear how this is prudent. What could be operated through greater public oversight (to operate in the public's interest), or completely owned by the public, is basically a taxing entity under the guise of a private business. All the downsides of taxation without the upside of representation.

Nice try, but again, broadband is a luxury - not a necessity. It is not essential for life.

If your town feels so deprived that it wants the government to sponsor a broadband ISP, then let the people form a cooperative, independent of city hall, and build their own, with their own money. Either that, or contract with a cable over-builder, again, with your own money.

But please, stop expecting your neighbors to underwrite your wants.

amigo_boy

join:2005-07-22

1 edit
said by elray:

said by amigo_boy:

How is broadband less essential? You have to have it to do your income taxes, file unemployment, apply for jobs.

Broadband is not essential for life. You can live without it.

You absolutely DO NOT need it to do your income taxes, file unemployment, or apply for jobs.

Ok. Using the same standard, you don't need water and electricity. You can go to the store and buy your water, and pedal an exercycle to power your tv.

So, we're back to whether you believe some people are using government to subsidize a non-market condition, rather than pay what the market will bear?

said by elray:

said by amigo_boy:

Also, how are zoning laws essential for life/safety? We force people to perform activities where they wouldn't choose to. How is that different than your argument that socializing a business (either as a government-run or publicly-commissioned utility) is forcing some people to carry a burden for others?

Zoning laws/codes exist to protect health and safety.

How do zoning laws protect health and safety?

said by elray:

The vast majority of municipalities do not prohibit cable over-builders - it is only the local populace who is unwilling to pay the market rate, that serves as the barrier to entry.

It sounds like the municipality is willing to pay -- they just want to own it so they don't end up in another situation where the value of the infrastructure is underestimated, and they're told "sorry, your forefathers negotiated this 40 years ago... now you're stuck with a single company holding a monopolistic advantage over a market that wasn't foreseen back then."

That's the problem with your reasoning on this point. Franchise agreements existed, and were modified numerous times at the federal level, to promote a social good. Not merely give a business a jackpot monopoly over a market that wasn't foreseen -- now serving as an impediment to social good.

said by elray:

Nice try, but again, broadband is a luxury - not a necessity. It is not essential for life.

Neither is electricity nor water. So, are you saying social moderation of that market is a result of a bunch of cheats not willing to pay the "free market price?"

said by elray:

If your town feels so deprived that it wants the government to sponsor a broadband ISP, then let the people form a cooperative, independent of city hall, and build their own, with their own money. Either that, or contract with a cable over-builder, again, with your own money.

Why isn't water, sewer, electricity and roads treated the same?

Some infrastructure projects are community investments. Not left to the whims of "free markets."

said by elray:

But please, stop expecting your neighbors to underwrite your wants.

That's the primary flaw with your reasoning. You enjoy the benefits of community investments. It's ok to disagree whether broadband rises to the level of roads, power, telephone. But, describing it as vulgar theft is claiming a moral position you simply do not hold.

It deliberately talks past the other person. It's typical libertarian sleight-of-hand. Use high-sounding, moralist terminology. And then when asked how roads, water, electric, sewer, zoning laws, etc., are different, we're told "they just are. Now stop *stealing*."