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$2 Billion For Broadband Cut From Stimulus Bill 658

Posted by Soulskill
from the down-the-tubes dept.
pdabbadabba points out a CNN report on changes to the planned economic stimulus bill (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 [PDF]) that will remove the $2 billion allocated to broadband development. The changes also eliminated smaller amounts allocated to NASA, the National Institute for Standards and Technology, and the National Science Foundation. $16 billion in school construction funding was removed, as well as another $3.5 billion for higher education construction. A variety of environmental projects were also cut or reduced (half of the $7 billion set aside for energy-efficient federal buildings, half of the $600 million for hybrid federal vehicles), and over $8 billion in health-related provisions are gone. The bill will likely go to vote in the Senate on Tuesday.
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$2 Billion For Broadband Cut From Stimulus Bill

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  • Great (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jav1231 (539129) on Sunday February 08, 2009 @10:55AM (#26772707)
    Frankly, the telco's were given million of dollars to expand broadband years ago and essentially pissed the money away. As for education spending, I've always said it should be cut and prioritized. The idea that money allocated to education actually goes to educate kids is a sick joke in this country. Higher education? Many universities sit on huge sums of money and still get government help so I'm not losing sleep over that one either. This is supposed to be a stimulus bill but it's been nothing but an attempt to get all the candy out of the bag and eat it at once. With less than 20% of any of it slated to go into effect in the first year the Obama "pass it or else" mantra is exposed as rhetoric.
    • Re:Great (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Sunday February 08, 2009 @11:01AM (#26772775)

      Frankly, the telco's were given million of dollars to expand broadband years ago and essentially pissed the money away.

      Not millions, billions, some two hundred of them (albeit in tax breaks, not cash) and I'm still waiting to see the results from that before I want any more tax money going to those bloodsuckers.

      • by mi (197448) <slashdot-2014@virtual-estates.net> on Sunday February 08, 2009 @12:29PM (#26773555) Homepage

        Not millions, billions, some two hundred of them (albeit in tax breaks, not cash) and I'm still waiting to see the results from that before I want any more tax money going to those bloodsuckers.

        When you give someone a tax break, you become less of a bloodsucker, than you were before, when you were taxing them higher... Or did you call telcos "bloodsuckers" over something else?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Ferretman (224859)
      Exactly right iav1231, exactly right.

      Most of these guys squandered their money the last time they received a serving of pork, so why in the world would we do it again? At least half of this plan's spending doesn't do a thing to "stimulate" (even Obama said as much) and just represent political payoffs rather than "change".

      These guys had a chance to really do something, and they've blown it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by clang_jangle (975789)
      Yes, indeed. Without some serious reforms, just throwing money and calling it "stimulus" is pointless. Some change we're getting...
    • Re:Great (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PinkyDead (862370) on Sunday February 08, 2009 @11:23AM (#26772987) Journal

      With less than 20% of any of it slated to go into effect in the first year the Obama "pass it or else" mantra is exposed as rhetoric.

      Strange though it may sound, it is actually quite a difficult thing to spend $800b. When a stimulus package like this goes into effect, while the budget may be quickly allocated to specific projects, the actual draw down can only occur through vouched expenditure, and this can only occur as work is done. With this in mind, actually spending $160b (20%) is still quite an achievement.

      However, the fact that the projects are started and have a guaranteed completion should provide more stimulus than the actual cash spend.

      I don't know whether the spending is going to the right places, or that it will have the desired stimulus effect, but it's not correct to suggest that this is some kind of ruse just because it appears that the funding is not front-loaded.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by canajin56 (660655)
        The fact thrown around is, if you spent $1 MILLION dollars every single day, and had started the day Jesus was born, you still would be a little bit short of $800 Billion. So yeah, it does take time to spend money.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by SupremoMan (912191)
          In fact, to spend all that money you would have to spend around 365,000 dollars a day for the whole 6000 years of this planet's existence.
      • No, easy. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by S-100 (1295224) on Sunday February 08, 2009 @12:37PM (#26773627)
        It's actually quite easy to spend $800b, just don't let the government do it. If you must "stimulate", just send a check to the people that you are taking the money from in the first place. That would be almost $3000 apiece for every man, woman and child in the USA.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jmulvey (233344)

          That approach has two side-effects, both horrifying to Washington:
          1. The money would be spent on the specific needs of each citizen, and not on the needs of Das Kapital.
          2. Any mechanism of consolidation of power to Washington would be eliminated. When "the people" buy a badly needed refrigerator, who will be there to negotiate for another refrigerator for their state senator's vacation home in Florida?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by furby076 (1461805)
            This stimulous package, while I abhore a lot of it (mainly giving money to movie execs, and not giving money to education based projects like NASA, schools, etc), is designed to stimulate from top-down. So if money goes into updating federal buildings to be more green...well those are construction jobs. That creates jobs for construction workers, architects, suppliers, manufacturing, all the way down to the food cart vendor who will sell food to the construction workers. In addition it has the side-effec
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Aceticon (140883)

          [...] just send a check to the people [...] That would be almost $3000 apiece for every man, woman and child in the USA.

          The problem of that is the following:
          - How much of that money would be spent and how much would be saved?

          The modern financial system is (or at least was, until recently) a big machine designed to make money go around and around and around:
          - People buy stuff; that money goes to companies that sell the stuff; the companies then pay the salaries; the employees buy stuff with their salaries an

      • Re:Great (Score:5, Insightful)

        by CodeBuster (516420) on Sunday February 08, 2009 @01:13PM (#26773957)

        Strange though it may sound, it is actually quite a difficult thing to spend $800b.

        Then why try to spend it all at once? The senate was right to cut down the bill (largely at the insistance of the Republicans although even some "blue dog" democrats grumbled about Pelosi's bill). Trying to rush anything throught Congress virtually guarantees that it will become a christmass tree so overloaded with pork and favored special interest spending that it could easily cost several times more than to pass the measures separately. This is especially true with non immediate spending. They should pass the critical spending first and then work on the other things as time permits and circumstances become more amenable. IMHO, the democrats made too big a deal of their "first 100 days" pledges as if rushing things, regardless of circumstances, was obviously the best way to go about completing the job.

        With this in mind, actually spending $160b (20%) is still quite an achievement.

        In a macabre sort of way I suppose that is true. However, as a Libertarian I am still horrified at the massive government spending that is currently taking place to make good the ill effects of previous government interventions, which notably include flooding the market with liquidity and allowing the money supply to increase massively in the years following 9/11 in an ill fated attempt to "smooth out" some bumps in the economic road and look where that got us. Now the government wants to cure what is essentially a spending problem, with...wait for it...even more government and consumer spending? Do we cure an alcoholic by offering him even more of his favorite beverage? Certainly not, so how can we cure a spending problem with more spending and making even MORE money available to spend?

        However, the fact that the projects are started and have a guaranteed completion should provide more stimulus than the actual cash spend.

        I don't know how it is in your state, but here in California it takes CalTrans and state contractors forever to finish highway projects. In some cases it has taken as long as two (2) DECADES after the first load of dirt was scooped to complete what should have been two (2) year or less construction projects. I remain skeptical that more of these types of projects will provide a lot of stimulus to the economy. After all, trucks cannot use new on-ramps and overpasses to move goods until they are actually completed.

        I don't know whether the spending is going to the right places, or that it will have the desired stimulus effect

        Don't worry, its NOT going to the right places AND it will NOT have the desired stimulus effect.

        but it's not correct to suggest that this is some kind of ruse just because it appears that the funding is not front-loaded.

        At best, it is an unwelcome distraction to the real problem which is the bad mortgage backed debts that are like sand in the proverbial economic engine, corrupting everything they touch and poisoning by proxy the balance sheets of everyone even remotely connected. The really important question, IMHO, that isn't being asked is this:

        How can Amercians, whose real wages have stagnated since the end of the 1970s compared to economic growth and inflation, continue to pay inflated prices for the nation's housing stock? Most americans and particularly young Americans can really only afford a home that costs less than about $150,000 dollars or so and yet in many parts of the nation the price stubbornly refuses to fall below that level. There are too many dollars in the system relative to what average Americans actually produce and earn and until that problem is addressed I think that this economic malaise will continue, even after the "recovery", until this nation addresses its debt and spending problems.

        Housing is at the root of this crises, but beyond even that is

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Rhone (220519)

          How can Amercians, whose real wages have stagnated since the end of the 1970s compared to economic growth and inflation, continue to pay inflated prices for the nation's housing stock?

          Thanks for bringing that up; I've been trying to understand that for a long time (long before the current crisis)

          I'm no economics or financial expert, but I've always found it strange that our society looks at houses like some kind of magic money machines--as if they can repeatedly be bought and sold with the prices growing far faster than the salaries of the people purchasing them. How could that possibly NOT lead to a situation where no one can afford houses anymore (or, more likely, everyone buys houses

    • Re:Great (Score:4, Insightful)

      by guacamole (24270) on Sunday February 08, 2009 @11:41AM (#26773139)

      "Many universities sit on huge sums of money and still get government help so I'm not losing sleep over that one either. "

      Where did you get this idea? This is a complete utter B.S. Most large state research universities are struggling financially right now. Many have a hiring freeze already. Some had been seeing their state funded budgets erode forever. As for private schools with large endowments, most of those too are having serious financing issues right now. WUSTL, Harvard, etc. Many have instituted faculty and staff hiring freeze as well. What large sums of money are you talking about? Their endowments? They already lost 30 to 50% of value in just one year, and schools generally use the earnings generated by those endowments to beef up their budgets. It is plain stupid to spend the endowment itself because this will seriously compromise the future financial positions of many universities. Based on experiences of many people I know, the freshly minted PhDs in any field are facing the worst job market of the decade.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bowling Moses (591924)
      "Many universities sit on huge sums of money and still get government help so I'm not losing sleep over that one either."

      According to this page [indiana.edu], The top public university system in terms of endowment is (surprisingly) the University of Texas system (that's all the UofT campuses) with $10 billion. I imagine post-crash it's closer to half that. My own system (University of Wisconsin) had as of 2004 just under a billion. Sounds like we ought to be sitting pretty, uncorking the champagne, eating caviar, a
  • "Bipartisanship" isn't useful in this context, because one party is working from macroeconomic theory and reason, and the other party is working from the ideological mantra of "Spending Bad. Tax Cuts Good." To the Congressional Republicans, things like school construction won't result in jobs for construction workers: apparently magic pixies will simply drop the new schools out of the sky in exchange for our money.

    President Obama needs to realize that it's the U.S. Congress, not the Snuggle-Senate, and beat

    • by tgatliff (311583) on Sunday February 08, 2009 @11:03AM (#26772795)

      The Republicans are just as clueless as the Democrats in the current situation. The reason is because, just like the Great Depression, there really are no answers to deal with the current economic downturn. Only time and debt destruction can fix it...

      In short.. They can spend $2T if they like, and it will do little to nothing to stop the current problems from advancing. When you are a nation that is 70% consumption and have a 400% GDP debt ratio, there is little you can do to 'simulate" the underlying fundamentals. Meaning, the problem was overstimulation to begin with..

      • by illumin8 (148082) on Sunday February 08, 2009 @11:36AM (#26773113) Journal

        In short.. They can spend $2T if they like, and it will do little to nothing to stop the current problems from advancing. When you are a nation that is 70% consumption and have a 400% GDP debt ratio, there is little you can do to 'simulate" the underlying fundamentals. Meaning, the problem was overstimulation to begin with..

        The way I look at it, they have two ways to handle the economic crisis:

        1. Do absolutely nothing and let the economy continue to deflate until we get back to pre-housing bubble status. The problem with this approach is that you'll have 25% unemployment, soup lines that are worse than the great depression, and the entire world will take 10-20 years to pull itself out of the mess, if people don't riot and burn the world down first.

        2. Dump money into the economy and continue to prop up the housing bubble by buying failed mortgage debt, hoping for a soft landing. This approach is doomed to failure as well because you can't keep pumping money into a bubble hoping to sustain it forever. The bubble is going to either pop quickly or deflate slowly. This approach only kicks the football down the field another 5-10 years for the next generation of politicians to deal with it.

        Guess which approach our government is picking? I guess I'd choose option 2 also but either way we're fucked.

        • by tgatliff (311583) on Sunday February 08, 2009 @12:49PM (#26773729)

          A debt crisis is just a generic way to saying that a nations (or world) wealthy class needs to realize their losses... Protecting a nations wealthy, which is what we are currently doing, is not smart and will not work long term because it will ultimately create social unrest. Personally, I would prefer option 3.

          3. Realize that an economic collapse is inevitable, be a real leader, and prepare the public for it. Next, seize all major insolvent banks and wipe out bond and shareholders. Also, provide "fast track' legislation for corporate and personal bankruptcies. Next, expand social welfare services during the crisis to make sure that no one starves or is made unnecessarily homeless. Next, provide government sponsored services for newly formed businesses, and individuals fresh out of bankruptcy to help them get back on their feet. Meaning, once the mal-investment debt is destroyed, provide stimulus at a point where it actually has the chance of being used as a real investment.

          And finally... Eliminate the fractional reserve banking model forever. It ultimate is the reason for boom and bust cycles, and in the global marketplace its time has come and gone...

      • Bingo (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Weaselmancer (533834) on Sunday February 08, 2009 @12:31PM (#26773581)

        Only time and debt destruction can fix it...

        Exactly. That's why when I read the headline my first thought was GOOD.

        Fixing this problem by taking on more debt is like helping a trauma victim by stabbing him.

        As nice as it would be to have the IT sector get a big slice of pork, it's just not in the national interest. And that's how we have to think for the next few years. "What's good for me" will have to take a back seat sometimes to "what's good for the country."

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by KiahZero (610862)

        It's awfully appealing to say "There is no answer" when one's preferred answer isn't working, and the solution that will work is anathema to one's ideology. Not liking the answer doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

        See also: Keynes.

    • by Ferretman (224859) <ferretman@@@gameai...com> on Sunday February 08, 2009 @11:07AM (#26772819) Homepage
      Republicans are in fact the only ones holding this pork-laden monstrosity at bay.

      I wouldn't bother with a bill in the first place--I don't see stimulating the economy listed as a federal government responsibility in the Constitution--but if you're going to do this at least be honest about it.

      With something like 60% of spending happening in 2010 and 2011 they are "stimulative", they're pork-barrel spending. The boy President thinks that any spending counts as stimulus--the only thing this bill will stimulate is more government and more debt.

      Some version of this mess will eventually pass, but hopefully we'll strip some of the pork out of it. One thing's for sure--this is not "change we can believe in".
    • by bryanp (160522) on Sunday February 08, 2009 @11:11AM (#26772859)

      To the Congressional Republicans, things like school construction won't result in jobs for construction workers: apparently magic pixies will simply drop the new schools out of the sky in exchange for our money.

      No, money for schools would come from the taxes paid to their local governments by construction workers who have jobs as a result of the stimulus package.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jmulvey (233344)

      Well, I don't know about where you live, but where I do we've already had a mess of wasteful school construction. Cities and towns of modest means have built these "Taj Mahal" schools, sometimes approaching $200 Million.

      I don't have a problem with giving construction workers jobs as a stimulus, but let's not be arrogantly wasteful about how we spend the money. It's not JUST about providing short term jobs, it's about putting people to work for the long-term good.

      How about fixing our bridges and infrastructu

    • No no no (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tkrotchko (124118)

      There is no difference between the parties these days when it comes to spending.

      They both want to spend *more*. There is a slight difference in what they want it spent on, but only a little.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kr1ll1n (579971)
      Ummmmm.......No. To the original poster, there exists such a thing as "blue dog" democrats, that have figured it out as well. If you reduce taxation, more job creation and more spending happens. This is simple math. If you have $2,000 in your pocket at the end of 2 weeks versus having $1,500, what would your response be? If you are younger, odds are you would buy useless junk like more video games, or a bigger t.v., or whatever. If you are older, you might be putting aside that extra 500 for a bigger or bet
      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 08, 2009 @11:55AM (#26773241)

        > You can ALWAYS count on stimulating an economy of the US's size by reducing taxation.

        Yeah, so maybe not. Look up the velocity of money, which has fallen through the floor in the last few months. What that means is that people are essentially stuffing their mattresses, and any additional tax cuts will, in fact, not be stimulative. So you need to directly stimulate - and that means spend.

        See this:

        http://www.urbandigs.com/2008/12/you_want_to_see_what_deflation.html

        Also take a good, long, hard look at deflation and what that means, especially in relation to potential tax cuts. Arguably, we are in a deflationary spiral right now.

      • by Kneo24 (688412) on Sunday February 08, 2009 @12:19PM (#26773477) Homepage

        Everyone screams "LESS TAXATION" and other hoopla to waive their economist e-peen around like it's some giant stick of holy fruition to wake up people you disagree with.

        But you know what? I don't think that will help either. For smaller business, maybe, just maybe. Larger businesses already pay next to nothing through creative accounting and the government really doesn't give a shit. Less taxes just makes it easier on them to line their pockets that they are already lining.

        Yeah, some business will be responsible and use less taxes to help grow their business, but I have my doubts as to it being a large majority.

        • by That's Unpossible! (722232) on Sunday February 08, 2009 @02:17PM (#26774713)

          Businesses never pay taxes. YOU DO.

          Businesses necessarily must make up for less profit by sticking it to their customers (in the form of higher prices or less choice), their employees (less wages, fewer benefits, and fewer jobs), their shareholders (less earnings per share, less dividends).

          When you tax businesses, you're just indirectly taxing everyone else related to that business, including YOU. Business taxes appeal to the ignorant, because it makes it seem like someone else is paying, when in reality, it's YOU.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by GNT (319794)

      You have it exactly backwards.

      It's the Republicans (fascists though they are) that are right in macroeconomic theory and its the Democrats (socialists) that are in fact, operating in ideological mantra that spending is somehow going to work. It didn't work for Austria, didn't work for us in 1930's, didn't work in 1974 and won't work now.

    • by ArcherB (796902) on Sunday February 08, 2009 @11:53AM (#26773233) Journal

      "Bipartisanship" isn't useful in this context, because one party is working from macroeconomic theory and reason, and the other party is working from the ideological mantra of "Spending Bad. Tax Cuts Good." To the Congressional Republicans, things like school construction won't result in jobs for construction workers: apparently magic pixies will simply drop the new schools out of the sky in exchange for our money.

      President Obama needs to realize that it's the U.S. Congress, not the Snuggle-Senate, and beat some heads together to get good policy through. The $800b he proposed was too small to begin with, and all of these cuts make it more likely that we're not going to have enough stimulus to do anything useful.

      Oh my God you are so full of crap. No one is saying that building schools won't employ people. What is being said is, "what happens to those jobs when the schools built?" These are not permanent jobs.

      Also, building schools is not what Republicans object to. It's the millions to birth control programs. How does giving out condoms provide jobs? How is money to Amtrak going to produce jobs? Sure, it helps out the people working for Amtrak, but every passenger on Amtrak is NON-passenger on Greyhound or Delta. How does extending unemployment benefits create jobs? How does allocating money so groups like ACORN can purchase houses and rent them out create jobs?

      Now these may be great ideas, but they do NOT belong in the "stimulus" package if they do not stimulate. Seriously, how big of a moron do you have to be to NOT understand that?

      In other words, don't let the facts cloud your preconceived judgment of "Republicans bad, Democrats good".

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by davidphogan74 (623610)

        How is money to Amtrak going to produce jobs? Sure, it helps out the people working for Amtrak, but every passenger on Amtrak is NON-passenger on Greyhound or Delta.

        Interesting theory, but from Portland to Seattle (for an example) for me is a choice between Amtrak and driving. I'm not going to pay the premium to fly, needing to get out to PDX and then from SEATAC to downtown when I can take Amtrak much easier, and in about the same amount of time.

        Greyhound? No thanks, I'll just drive instead. If we're going to help Delta or any airline (as we've done many, many times) why not help Amtrak which is more appropriate for shorter trips?

    • by KermodeBear (738243) on Sunday February 08, 2009 @12:42PM (#26773675) Homepage

      apparently magic pixies will simply drop the new schools out of the sky in exchange for our money.

      And apparently, magic pixies will simply open up their checkbooks and give you trillions of dollars in taxes, too.

      Maybe I'm different than the rest of you, but if I worked for it, I would like to keep it. I'm sick of being taxed out of 50% of everything I earn, so that it can be given to someone who doesn't deserve it.

      Don't believe me?

      Remember: Your taxes are more than income tax.

      Here are some other things you are taxed on: Gasoline. Food. Clothing. Property. Investments. Cigarettes. Beer and Wine. TVs. Cars. Telecom taxes.

      An interesting exercise is to take all of your spending for a month, and break it all down into taxes and non-taxes. You'll crap yourself, I promise.

      We're getting raped enough with the taxes. Much like the schools, the government has more than enough money. The problem is a lack of accountability and wasteful spending - neither of which you are getting with the new administration.

      Oh, don't get me wrong. You didn't have it with the last administration either. I'm not playing sides here, I'm just pointing it out.

      More spending is going to help in any case. [wsj.com] Neither will socialism - and make no mistake about it, America is no longer a capitalist nation. That era is now over, thanks to Congress.

  • have a majority and don't have to cowtow to the Republicans? I mean, there is such as thing as compromise, but listening to everything the other party says despite the fact that the American people resoundingly rejected said party is just stupid. I know now why the Republican party insists that the Democrats have such a loser mentality. For god sakes, grow some fucking balls!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They need to be able to blame somebody when this supposed "stimulus" fails miserably. And I'm hesitant to call it a stimulus because more than 80% of the cash will be sitting in bank accounts untouched for at least a year, obviously not doing much stimulating.

    • but wouldn't that lower the dems to the repubs level? However to some extent I can agree with you, that trying to get all the republicans to be happy should be a small priority, but just big enough to make sure some of their concerns can be addressed.
    • by tgatliff (311583) on Sunday February 08, 2009 @11:07AM (#26772821)

      I am sure they would love to ignore the Republicans... Unlike the House rules, however, the senate requires 60 votes to get anything substantial done. Meaning, they have something called filibuster rules that allow individual senators to slow/stop bills in its tracks...

      Meaning, the democrats are not trying to be nice and work with the republicans... They are forced to deal with at least 3 Republicans to get the stimulus bill moving forward and they know this... Hence, the reason for the compromise..

      • Or 1 republican and 2 indies. Of course, I would not trust Liberman.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by EllisDees (268037)

        So let them filibuster. Let them hold everything else up and yell loudly to the media that the republicans are against saving America!

  • It is easy to show voters the bridge, highway or transit money you got for your state or district. It is hard to show off rural broadband, or a new federal hybrid car as creating jobs for your locality. The school funding was lost because it likely was only going to fill coffers depleted by property tax drops. Hard to stand in front of something they were likely going to build anyway and claim credit.
  • by QCompson (675963) on Sunday February 08, 2009 @11:00AM (#26772769)

    $100 million from law enforcement wireless (original bill $200 million)

    $100 million from FBI construction (original bill $400 million)

    Need to keep pumping that taxpayer money into law enforcement so they can keep us safe from "obscene porn" http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/optf/ [usdoj.gov] and continue to win the drug war.

  • An aircraft carrier cost about 10-15 billion to build and equip with planes. A new light rail line in my home town is projected to cost 2 billion. With a third of this being tax cuts (and tax credits/welfare) and some going to extend unemployment/medical care, where does the other 500 odd billion go? All this did was cut about 100 billion of pork the senators tried to tie onto the bill. What return will we get from a 500 billion dollar investment? Better services, better infrastructure? We haven't reb
  • are merged later. Likely some of those will be added back.
  • by smchris (464899) on Sunday February 08, 2009 @11:07AM (#26772825)

    Cutting higher ed and broadband gives the Republicans what they want: Keep the sheep stupid and uncommunicative.

    So, will Monday night's speech ditch the theme of "bipartisanship"? Isn't getting him any votes anyway.

  • 16 billion in school construction funding was removed, as well as another $3.5 billion for higher education construction.

    By all means cut that waste out of the stimulus package. We can't have people going to school and learning things, nothing worthwhile could ever come from that. I've got an idea, let's take that money and give it to the military to spend on some crap hole half-way around the world. That's a much better investment.

  • I believe we are seeing change all right...of the short variety.

    For those who were sucked into the reality distortion field, this should serve as a dose of reality. Washington will change when hell freezes over.

  • Good. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DustyShadow (691635) on Sunday February 08, 2009 @11:23AM (#26772985) Homepage
    That stuff should not be in a STIMULUS bill. Each of those things should be in their own separate bills.
  • . . . that half of the US population doesn't even want [itexaminer.com] broadband?
  • by isdnip (49656) on Sunday February 08, 2009 @09:47PM (#26778891)

    I'm not going to get involved in the big debate over Keynes vs. the gold bugs. Just on the actual topic of the subject note...

    The House had a $6B broadband appropriation, divided between rural (Dept. of Agriculture) and not-necessarily-rural (NTIA) programs. The Senate totally rewrote those sections. Sen. Rockefeller (D-Verizon) added about $2B for "advanced broadband" defined as 100 Mbps down, 20 Mbps up, in the form of a corporate tax credit, for new service to any residential customer. Even if only a tiny percentage took the higher speed, and it was totally closed to competitive Internet or telephone services.

    So the grant could not be used by most standalone ISPs, because they're generally not profitable (so no need for a tax credit), or aren't Corporations (partnerships, municipalities, non-profits, etc., don't get anything). Nor could cable (upstream speed limits) or AT&T (U-Verse is too slow). The money had exactly one recipient in mind, It was a subsidy for pulling FiOS in suburban areas to compete with established cable companies and ISPs. The "underserved" areas could include Tampa, New York City, Short Hills, Santa Monica, or Chevy Chase.

    The subsidy would have added precisely zero new FiOS lines, since it would have covered their existing plans. It was just more money for Ivan Seidenberg's bonus. Good riddance!

Put your Nose to the Grindstone! -- Amalgamated Plastic Surgeons and Toolmakers, Ltd.

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