Obama backs government-run broadband networks

“President Obama’s call for more cities and towns to create their own broadband Internet services to compete with private companies like Comcast is meeting stiff opposition from many Republicans,” Julian Hattem reports for The Hill. “”

“Unlike the president’s previous proposals this week to bulk up U.S. cybersecurity and protect Americans’ identities online — which were largely welcomed on Capitol Hill — he waded into hotly partisan waters on Wednesday by unveiling a plan to eliminate state laws limiting local government-run Web connections,” Hattem reports. “Republicans were swift to denounce the president on Wednesday, as he spoke in Cedar Falls, Iowa — a town that has created its own municipally-owned broadband Internet provider. ‘In Tennessee we have a term to describe people like President Obama — tone-deaf,’Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) said in a statement. ‘At a time when Americans think the biggest problem facing our nation today is big government, you would think he’d have gotten the message by now,’ she added. ‘We don’t need unelected bureaucrats like FCC [Federal Communications Commission] Chairman Tom Wheeler dictating to our states what they can and can’t do with respect to protecting their limited taxpayer dollars and private enterprises.'”

Read more in the full article here.

“The telecommunications industry reacted angrily to the president’s move, saying that it was circumventing Congress and state legislatures. The industry is also opposed to Mr. Obama’s proposal that the F.C.C. regulate the Internet as a public utility, which he announced in November,” Julie Hirschfeld Davis reports for The New York Times. “‘The private sector is much better at deploying capital efficiently than the government,’ said John E. Sununu, a former Republican senator from New Hampshire who is now co-chairman of Broadband for America, an industry coalition. ‘Standing up in public and saying you’re taking on the big guy always inspires some populist sentiment,’ said Mr. Sununu, who is also on Time Warner Cable’s board of directors. ‘But I think what the president is doing here is giving up on Congress, undercutting state laws and pushing rhetoric that doesn’t match the facts.'”

“Michael K. Powell, who served as F.C.C. chairman under President George W. Bush, said Mr. Obama was chasing ‘false solutions,'” Davis reports. “‘While government-run networks may be appropriate in rare cases, many such enterprises have ended up in failure, saddling taxpayers with significant long-term financial liabilities and diverting scarce resources from other pressing local needs,’ said Mr. Powell, the president and chief executive of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, an industry group.”

Read more in the full article here.

“FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai was not enthused by the President’s signal to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler that he supports preemption of state laws limiting municipal broadband, particularly given that he thinks the FCC lacks the authority to use it,” John Eggerton reports for Broadcasting & Cable. “‘As an independent agency, the FCC must make its decisions based on the law, not political convenience,’ said Pai in a statement. ‘And U.S. Supreme Court precedent makes clear that the Commission has no authority to preempt state restrictions on municipal broadband projects. The FCC instead should focus on removing regulatory barriers to broadband deployment by the private sector.'”

“Michael Powell said… ‘America’s decades-long policy of promoting private investment and exercising a light regulatory touch has yielded substantial benefits for American consumers. As evidence, cable’s top broadband speeds have increased over 3200 percent in a decade, Akamai recently reported that 12 American states are among the 20 fastest regions of the world and our markets remain the envy of the world. While government run networks may be appropriate in rare cases, many such enterprises have ended up in failure, saddling taxpayers with significant long-term financial liabilities and diverting scarce resources from other pressing local needs,'” Eggerton reports. “Powell said broadband would clearly play a central role in the fabric of society, but, ‘rather than chase false solutions, government policies should be directed at overcoming barriers to adoption and extending the reach of broadband to places yet unserved. We welcome sensible government policies that will build on our successes and convince even more Americans to take advantage of the broadband opportunity.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: When the answer to literally everything is “more government,” then you know the answer is very likely wrong.

The crux of the problem here is the lack of competition among private broadband providers in many areas of the U.S.A. The logical answer is therefore to foster real, substantive competition among private broadband providers, not to make it a government-run endeavor. Setting the stage to create meaningful competition among private broadband providers is government’s proper role here, not stepping in the provide the service itself. Foster competition, don’t destroy it.

When Standard Oil became a monopoly that threatened competition and therefore, ultimately, consumers, it was broken up into 90 independent private companies that then competed in the free market, the government did not start drilling, pumping, and selling nationalized oil.

103 Comments

    1. You would prefer hundreds of thousands losing their jobs every month with millions losing their homes, banks collapsing while the stock market loses more then half of its value. That and at least the guy is white.

      1. I have noticed that it is a typical fallacious, statist opinion that when someone criticizes Obola Messiah it is somehow misconstrued as a vote of support for his predecessor. Not dissimilar from the statists’ tactic of dismissing the crimes of Obola by quoting the like crimes of Dubya…like it makes it “okay.”

        Insanity.

    2. Counter-MDN Take:

      Why is it necessary for state laws to prevent local municipalities from establishing a publicly run community internet network? If the Feds should usurp the authority of the states, then the states should not usurp the authority of the local governments. After all, who is better positioned to understand the needs and desires of their local constituents than the local government officials? Try arguing your hypocritical ass out of that logic…

      The second issue revolves around the actual source of this “outrage.” I, like most other consumers in this nation are at the mercy of a couple of broadband providers. Some people only have one “choice.” Those companies have provided overpriced services and poor customer service. It is no wonder that they wish to limit competition. These same companies also line the pockets of our federal and state officials. They cannot possibly pay off all of the local officials, so they employ their federal and state stooges to squash the will of the local municipalities. Congress is now attempting to make good on their paid obligations to these companies. So are various state legislatures and governors. Screw that, let the people decide.

      MDN cuts loose with their “government should foster competition” take and offers up the Standard Oil solution. Setting aside the question of whether this is even a viable or effective solution for this particular situation, does anyone seriously think that the current Congress would even consider implementing such a solution? Most of the current Congressional representatives appear to mistakenly believe that businesses can do no wrong and that a free market will always self-regulate to the ultimate benefit of consumers and society. MDN’s Standard Oil suggestion is worthless, rendering its entire take rather worthless.

      This country was founded on rights, not prohibitions. Why in the hell should there be state laws preventing local governments from establishing Internet services for the benefit of their communities? Such prohibitions make no sense, and the rationale that such laws are needed to protect citizens from wasteful spending is ludicrous as well as hypocritical! Congress and the state governments waste far more resources than the local governments could ever waste, even if they were trying to do so.

      Congress is full of crap. MDN is full of crap. And Botvinnik is almost always full of crap.

      1. Melvin, I know you don’t actually read..but for the record I have posted several times I am fine with municipal governments establishing city internet services (upon approval of a vote of its citizens)…not any different than a city building a municipal pool or a library for the benefit of its people. However, I am adamantly against the Federal government involved in policing the internet in any way, shape or form.

        Think before you type, Melvin.

    3. Botvinnik, Kent, et. al. If you don’t like Obama, then you only have yourselves to blame. The justifiable dissatisfaction with George W. Bush paved the way for Obama’s election, and candidates like McCain, Palin, and Romney were perceived as the poorer alternative.

      If you want a different kind of President, then field a viable candidate. Otherwise, STFU and quite griping about Obama. I swear that you would blame your diaper rash on the President if you could get away with it.

        1. You regularly post in favor of policies that were popular during Dubya’s administration. Nearly everything that you post is anti-Obama and you generally espouse a far rightist philosophy.

          I notice that you said nothing about MCain, Palin, or Romney.

          I get it. I understand just fine. I understand that if I never see anything posted by you on this forum that it would be a better place. I honestly despise you without ever meeting you.

            1. It is not a lie. The GOP platform is fundamentally the same as it was ten or fifteen years ago. I am typically not a hater. But you bring out the worst in people.

              You spend 90% of your time on this forum bashing Obama and making up childish and derogatory names for him. Witness the *very first post* in this thread. There are so many flaws in your arguments
              That it really isn’t worth the time to refute all of them. You believe what you want to believe and leave the rest of us out of it. Your comments clutter the ones that I want to read from people who want to discuss Apple.

              On rare occasions you make a humorous and/or cogent post. But those are few and far between. Why not drop the political crap and stick to Apple topics?

  1. ” he waded into hotly partisan waters ”

    Yep, giving all people access to broadband at a reasonable speed and cost by expanding competition is partisan. One side wants this while the other side says only if you can afford it.

    1. In the beginning, it’ll all seem great. Then, after the private companies exit the market, there is only the government “solution.”

      That is when the foolhardy will pay the piper: Stagnation, corruption, graft, waste, inefficiency, bloat, red tape.. you name it.

      Government is not a panacea.

      1. Except that that hasn’t happened for the Electric or Telephone utilities.

        Look, the real issue here is that some markets have high entry costs because of what’s referred to as a “Natural Monopoly” – – it isn’t cheap to string wire/fiber to every house.

        The problem that the USA has is that **at best**, most markets only have a Duopoly, between the old Phone company and the Cable TV company – – the lack of competition allows them to sellf mediocre levels of service at high prices.

        There’s only three ways to break up this duopoly:

        a) Consumers getting fed up enough to do without the service (completely!)

        b) Government regulation of them (like any other utility) … this controls price but won’t raise the performance.

        c) Government regulations which _foster_ a more competitive environment.

        For this last one (which is what was proposed), there’s basically two elements to it. The first is a ‘carrot’ for other for-profit enterprises to be willing to enter the fray, to increase competition: this is done by outlawing local/State laws which currently exist which restrict competition. The second is a ‘stick’ from the perspective of permitting local Municipalities to throw their own hat into the ring as a service provider…FYI, in some States, this was made illegal – – as another backdoor to increase the profitability of the ISPs.

        We keep on hearing claims from Private Industry that they can out-innovate and out-perform Government and offer a better value to the consumer – – and allowing Municipalities the opportunity to compete (if they so wish) provides “ground truth” on if this claim really is true, or if it is a big lie.

        IMO, let’s call the bluff of the big fat ISPs and figure out ways to increase competition – – there simpy is no technological excuse IMO for today’s consumer not being able to get a 10bT Ethernet connetion on his doorstep for only $20/month.

        1. For those who reflexively say that private enterprise is more cost-effective than government in all cases, take a look at the cost of the for-profit “prison” industry, and the for-profit “health” industry. That said, I do think the actual answer is to ban monopolies for internet service, in most locations you truly have only 1 option, unless you want to go with satellite (with latency problems so bad I’d never be able to get work done). That’s why they can continue to raise your prices and you just have to pay it, there is simply no other real choice.

          1. Well said.

            What the real issue here is that the infracture for all “last mile” utility service are cost-prohibitive, which forms a batter to entry for new competitors into that market…effectively, that’s why utilities have been traditionally regulated.

            For ISP services, there have been various creative proposals floated for ways to lower the competitive entry costs. For example, one is to mandate that the owner of the ‘telephone’ pole be required to rent out space to up to five other busineses, at their own cost-to-operate (vs inflated prices).

            Philisophically, because telephone poles are installed on public land and right-of-ways, the public does have a right to say what the rules are for its use … and that can include the mandate of a “level playing field” for anyone who wants to hang their infrastructure from it. As it stands right now, the traditional phone company has a monopoly on it – – and is the gatekeeper for free market competition – – because municipalities will typically not tolerate allowing second (redundant) set of poles being added along their streets.

            1. Very well thought out posts. My only quibble would be that ISPs may not have any incentive to sink capital into wire/fibre infrastructure if they were forced to shared the lines at cost with competitors. They need to be able to make some profit. But that’s tricky as well because they could potentially find ways to inflate the fees they charge to competitors to make leasing bandwidth unprofitable for their competitors. But what entity could knowledgeably and impartially judge what a fair lease would be? I don’t know. But I’m pretty sure the Government is not up to the task.

        2. Perhaps you are not aware that you can receive your local telephone service and your long-distance telephone service from companies you choose, all of whom deliver their services over the same pair of wires into your home?

      2. The Post Office is similar. They provide a good service, competitive rates, and UPS and FedEx are doing just fine. Moreover, the Post Office is required by the Constitution. All the GOP tactics to kill the Post Office are not only unconstitutional, but cater to their corporate money-givers.

        1. I always find it funny to hear people in line at the Post Office grousing about how they’ve been waiting for 10 minutes.

          Hey, if your time really is that valuable, then go to the FedEx box and spend $20 instead of $4 to send your package.

    2. Yeah!! And we should all get free pizza, free beer, and free porn and free abortions and free paychecks and free BMWs and a few more things I haven’t thought of yet. And if there is a bill, we will just take everything bjr001 owns to pay for it. He is cool with living on the street so we can have all the free stuff we deserve.

    3. “…giving all people access to broadband at a reasonable speed and cost…” Wasn’t that same crap said about Obamacare?!? From personal experiences with O-care, I just know that ain’t so!

  2. All the more reason to vote straight Republican ticket again in 2016, ensuring we don’t get a third Obama term.

    Let’s get Scott Walker in the White House to clean this mess up.

      1. No, we guys are supporting the free market. The regulated free market where real competition takes place. We do not support nationalizing private markets.

        Obama got the answer wrong on health care insurance in much the same way. LESS GOV’T. Government should have fostered competition by allowing insurance to be compete across state lines (for one example), thereby driving down prices.

        Making companies legitimately compete in the free market is the unrivalled path towards low prices and better service.

        People who espouse gov’t control and meddling in markets aren’t thinking straight and cannot see the big picture or the eventual, predictable, historically proven outcomes.

        1. Nice claim, except:

          the ‘Free Market’ does not exist today in the USA’s ISP market, because of CURRENT **interventional government regulation** which restricts competition.

          The current Status Quo in most regions is (at best) a duopoly between the Cable TV and Phone companies.

        2. To Elephant Man:

          Speaking of Government and the medical field: Why do we have national back orders for something as common and easy to manufacture as saline solutions for IV drips?

          Answer: The Government assigns priority as to which hospitals and clinics get the saline solution first. The Government tell these places from whom they can order from. Non-US companies need not apply (all in the interest of quality control I’m sure /s). The Government tightly regulates the entire process. So what does a clinic do if they have patients that require IV drips? They borrow and barter with other clinics and hospitals who have higher priority. They’re not supposed to do that but they do it all the time. It’s they only way they can function and provide the medical care their patients need.

          More regulation is not the answer. Get the Government the hell out of the way and let these dedicated professionals do their jobs.

    1. I’m not sure what the answer is to the problem of monopolistic control of broadband access that is the reality for most Americans would be, but I wouldn’t anticipate things getting any better under Scott Walker. In fact, I haven’t heard any Republican proposing any solution to this problem. If I’m just misinformed and there is a Republican proposal to deal with this, I’m sure someone among the MDN readers will inform me.

    2. Two things –
      Republicans pretend to be straight, but they’re not all. Trying to vote for straight Republicans is chancy.

      You have heard of the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, right? There have been a whole bunch since the 2nd Amendment.

  3. I live in Cedar Falls, Iowa. While I am not an Obama supporter, he is right to recognize what has been done here. We ALL have fiber direct connections. We have incredible speeds, reliability and good prices. 50/25 service is $45. The municipal utility runs electric, gas, water, sewer, garbage, cable TV and Internet. All on one bill. Their service is also great, operators live and work right here in town. Of the 20 largest cities in Iowa Cedar Falls has the best rates in all categories. Proud to be an Iowan today.

    1. One more time for Gary:

      In the beginning, it’ll all seem great. Then, after the private companies exit the market, there is only the government “solution.”

      That is when the foolhardy will pay the piper: Stagnation, corruption, graft, waste, inefficiency, bloat, red tape.. you name it.

      Government is not a panacea.

      1. I’ll agree 100% that Government is not a panacea. That said the local utility has been around over 100 years. MediaCom still operates in our market (they were first.) This is a situation where the local utility is autonomous from local government. The utility pays a “rebate” to the city in lieu of property taxes. We sure like it!

        1. Glad to see you pointed out the word “local” there several times. How do you think changing that to “federal” might change things? Sure, it is great now, but do you really want your great local system suddenly being dictated by the federal government?

          1. If you took the time to listen to what Obama actually said you would hear that his problem was with the “free market” not being responsive to local needs and blocking local efforts to find responsive solutions. Stopping state legislatures from enacting laws prohibiting local governments from setting up local utilities when the free market failed to respond to local needs was his point. Stopping private companies from tying local government up in court proceedings to stop local government action to follow the will of the people is a problem.

            You need to be better informed. Research the fight that Lafayette LA had to go through to get fiber to their citizens homes. ATT and Comcast spent more money fighting them in court that just putting fiber in would have cost. The purpose of government is not to protect private sector monopolies, it is to serve the people. That federal government supports local government efforts to achieve that purpose is a good thing.

          2. Oh, and the next time you jump on the federal highway infrastructure to travel long distances cheaply, quickly and safely, be sure to bitch about how sad you are that is wasn’t built with private funds and isn’t a toll road.

    2. “The industry is also opposed to Mr. Obama’s proposal that the F.C.C. regulate the Internet as a public utility, which he announced in November..”

      Gary, the problem is not your local municipality operating an internet service for its citizens as established through their own voting referendum, it’s the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT regulating (that is, controlling) it.

      1. • Local municipalities used to operate their constiuents’ schools, Federal Government “regulation” was allowed to step in: ruined.
        • Local municipalities used to operate their constiuents’ hospitals, Federal Government “regulation” was allowed to step in: ruined.
        • Local municipalities used to operate their constiuents’ police departments, Federal Government “regulation” was allowed to step in: ruined.

        • Local municipalities are allowed (by vote of the people) to operate their constiuents’ internet service, if the Federal Government “regulation” is allowed to step in: ruined.

        1. further… How does the Federal Government “step in” through regulation?

          The answer is the insidious bribes of “matching funds,” “grants,” etc. in exchange for control of local government services..the “matching funds” and “grants” are the Big Lie, they are the monies taxed from the local citizens in the first place…the Federal Government does not create any wealth, it only takes it. I am not against government, per se, the alternative is anarchy. I am, as all genuine Jeffersonian democrats are, against a centralized, behemoth Federal government that robs the people and controls them with the fruit of their own labor. That is the nature of all tyranny.

          1. At no time did I state that local governments and their services are immune to the Constitution and the equal rights guaranteed therein…your pathetic attempt to equate it with a race card defense of Federal intrusion and control of municipal services makes me vomit.

  4. Yeah. What is wrong with Obama – doesn’t he know that government should only exist to pave the way for corporations? Any time government does something to provide for the common good, then it’s evil.
    Jeez – Obama must of missed his corporations first indoctrination sessions.

    1. “Yeah. What is wrong with Obama…”

      If one posted the answers to that entire line list, the world wide web would instantly melt down into an incendiary ash-heap of evanescent servers. I refuse to post it on behalf of my fellow man.

    2. “What is wrong with Obama?”

      He’s an unprepared, unqualified neophyte who’s well out of his depth and who thinks more government is the solution to everything when, in fact, it’s often the problem. Plus, the fact that he’s an Islamic terrorist apologist ass-kisser.

      This’ll all get fixed come January 20, 2017.

    3. No, government exists so the subjects can pay for his 44 weeks of vacations every year to places where only the top 1% of the 1% ers go, from which luxury spots Obama can pontificate on how he is helping the little guy, like with his free health care, which just caused the little guy to lose his job and his health insurance and the doctor Obama said he could keep. The little guy is still looking for the $2500 per year in savings Obama promised. So far, he has not found it.

  5. 1. Why trust Comcast ?
    2. Competition is great if it appears. But the Iowa experience is working in Gary’s city. Don’t cut down other’s good internet just because it does not fit the ideology. Other countries have good internet too. Learn from them as well.

  6. FACT: there are currently some State laws on the books which absolutely prohibit local Muncipalities from competing with Industry to provide ISP services.

    FACT: the recurring claim from Industry is that they can out-compete the Government offer the consumer better services at lower prices.

    FACT: removing the prohibition on Municipalities from competing against the ISPs … permits their claim that they can easily be better than the Government to be _tested_.

    So I say – – let’s call their bluff.

    If Private industry proves that they can be a better value to the consumer, the consumer wins.

    If, on the other hand, the Government shows that they actually can be more efficient than Industry … the consumer _still_ wins.

    1. “If, on the other hand, the Government shows that they actually can be more efficient than Industry…”

      As long as the “government” is not the Federal government, and it’s municipal government whose services are approved by the vote of the people: fine.

      1. First, what’s being proposed at the Federal level is reguation specifically to prohibit exclusionary laws at the State/Local levels.

        Second, it is an all too common public perception that the cost of public workers is at the Federal level. The facts of the matter can be read here:
        , and they point out that for every Fed employee, there’s an additional 7 non-Federal government employees (2 State & 5 Local).

  7. “When the answer to literally everything is “more government,” then you know the answer is very likely wrong.” – MDN

    That’s an impressively insane ideology. Many important things are literally only possible through government – freedom, justice, and safety come to mind. How can you be so uncompromisingly opposed to something so vital, so clearly necessary, as government? When everything is on the “free market”, the most brutal take everything valuable, and the most defenseless get eaten alive, and people the middle get fucked. History shows this time and time again.

    That’s madness, right?

    I mean, do you actually like Comcast and Time Warner Internet? Is that what you’re saying? You think it’s great that the US’s broadband is the laughing stock of every other developed nation? Is having to wait a 10 hour period for their repair technicians, who ends up not even showing up that day, is some sort of pinnacle of economic greatness, that cannot possibly be improved upon through legal means? I’m sorry, I didn’t realize Comcast’s and Time Warner’s dick felt so great penetrating your assholes. Carry on! It’s a free country, dude. There’s no law saying Internet companies cannot anally rape their customers, and you clearly don’t see any reason to create one. Enjoy it, you crazy guys.

    1. Literally their next paragraph is:

      “When Standard Oil became a monopoly that threatened competition and therefore, ultimately, consumers, it was broken up into 90 independent private companies that then competed in the free market, the government did not start drilling, pumping, and selling nationalized oil.”

      What MDN is saying is that we let these giant media monopolies happen, and *that* is the root of the problem. The free market seems ideally suited to providing innovation and efficiency in this space — we just need real competition.

      1. It’s amazing what a growing economy will do to tax revenue!

        (Remember how low the federal tax revenue was when Bush left office… with the economy in ruins?)

          1. But you do understand that is exactly why federal revenue is increasing, right? Tax *revenue* goes UP when the economy GROWS because the tax *rate* stays essentially the same.

            1. The reasons for the increases in tax revenue are self-evident…

              1. A 156 percent increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco: On February 4, 2009, just sixteen days into his Administration, Obama signed into law a 156 percent increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco, a hike of 61 cents per pack. The median income of smokers is just over $36,000 per year.

              2. Obamacare Individual Mandate Excise Tax (takes effect in Jan 2014): Starting in 2014, anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance must pay an income surtax according to the higher of the following:

              1 Adult

              2 Adults

              3+ Adults

              2014

              1% AGI/$95

              1% AGI/$190

              1% AGI/$285

              2015

              2% AGI/$325

              2% AGI/$650

              2% AGI/$975

              2016 +

              2.5% AGI/$695

              2.5% AGI/$1390

              2.5% AGI/$2085

              (Exemptions for religious objectors, undocumented immigrants, prisoners, those earning less than the poverty line, members of Indian tribes, and hardship cases (determined by HHS). Bill: PPACA; Page: 317-337)

              3. Obamacare Employer Mandate Tax (takes effect Jan. 2014): If an employer does not offer health coverage, and at least one employee qualifies for a health tax credit, the employer must pay an additional non-deductible tax of $2000 for all full-time employees. Applies to all employers with 50 or more employees. If any employee actually receives coverage through the exchange, the penalty on the employer for that employee rises to $3000. If the employer requires a waiting period to enroll in coverage of 30-60 days, there is a $400 tax per employee ($600 if the period is 60 days or longer). Bill: PPACA; Page: 345-346

              Combined score of individual and employer mandate tax penalty: $65 billion/10 years

              4. Obamacare Surtax on Investment Income (Tax hike of $123 billion/takes effect Jan. 2013): Creation of a new, 3.8 percent surtax on investment income earned in households making at least $250,000 ($200,000 single). This would result in the following top tax rates on investment income: Bill: Reconciliation Act; Page: 87-93

              Capital Gains

              Dividends

              Other*

              2011-2012

              15%

              15%

              35%

              2013+ (current law)

              23.8%

              43.4%

              43.4%

              2013+ (Obama budget)

              23.8%

              23.8%

              43.4%

              *Other unearned income includes (for surtax purposes) gross income from interest, annuities, royalties, net rents, and passive income in partnerships and Subchapter-S corporations. It does not include municipal bond interest or life insurance proceeds, since those do not add to gross income. It does not include active trade or business income, fair market value sales of ownership in pass-through entities, or distributions from retirement plans. The 3.8% surtax does not apply to non-resident aliens.

              5. Obamacare Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans (Tax hike of $32 bil/takes effect Jan. 2018): Starting in 2018, new 40 percent excise tax on “Cadillac” health insurance plans ($10,200 single/$27,500 family). Higher threshold ($11,500 single/$29,450 family) for early retirees and high-risk professions. CPI +1 percentage point indexed. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,941-1,956

              6. Obamacare Hike in Medicare Payroll Tax (Tax hike of $86.8 bil/takes effect Jan. 2013): Current law and changes:

              First $200,000
              ($250,000 Married)
              Employer/Employee

              All Remaining Wages
              Employer/Employee

              Current Law

              1.45%/1.45%
              2.9% self-employed

              1.45%/1.45%
              2.9% self-employed

              Obamacare Tax Hike

              1.45%/1.45%
              2.9% self-employed

              1.45%/2.35%
              3.8% self-employed

              Bill: PPACA, Reconciliation Act; Page: 2000-2003; 87-93

              7. Obamacare Medicine Cabinet Tax (Tax hike of $5 bil/took effect Jan. 2011): Americans are no longer able to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin). Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,957-1,959

              8. Obamacare HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike (Tax hike of $1.4 bil/took effect Jan. 2011): Increases additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,959

              9. Obamacare Flexible Spending Account Cap – aka “Special Needs Kids Tax” (Tax hike of $13 bil/takes effect Jan. 2013): Imposes cap on FSAs of $2500 (currently unlimited). Indexed to inflation after 2013. There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children. There are thousands of families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education. Bill: PPACA; Page: 2,388-2,389

              10. Obamacare Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers (Tax hike of $20 bil/takes effect Jan. 2013): Medical device manufacturers employ 360,000 people in 6000 plants across the country. This law imposes a new 2.3% excise tax. Exempts items retailing for <$100. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,980-1,986

              11. Obamacare "Haircut" for Medical Itemized Deduction from 7.5% to 10% of AGI (Tax hike of $15.2 bil/takes effect Jan. 2013): Currently, those facing high medical expenses are allowed a deduction for medical expenses to the extent that those expenses exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI). The new provision imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI. Waived for 65+ taxpayers in 2013-2016 only. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,994-1,995

              12. Obamacare Tax on Indoor Tanning Services (Tax hike of $2.7 billion/took effect July 2010): New 10 percent excise tax on Americans using indoor tanning salons. Bill: PPACA; Page: 2,397-2,399

              13. Obamacare elimination of tax deduction for employer-provided retirement Rx drug coverage in coordination with Medicare Part D (Tax hike of $4.5 bil/takes effect Jan. 2013) Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,994

              14. Obamacare Blue Cross/Blue Shield Tax Hike (Tax hike of $0.4 bil/took effect Jan. 1 2010): The special tax deduction in current law for Blue Cross/Blue Shield companies would only be allowed if 85 percent or more of premium revenues are spent on clinical services. Bill: PPACA; Page: 2,004

              15. Obamacare Excise Tax on Charitable Hospitals (Min$/took effect immediately): $50,000 per hospital if they fail to meet new "community health assessment needs," "financial assistance," and "billing and collection" rules set by HHS. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,961-1,971

              16. Obamacare Tax on Innovator Drug Companies (Tax hike of $22.2 bil/took effect Jan. 2010): $2.3 billion annual tax on the industry imposed relative to share of sales made that year. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,971-1,980

              17. Obamacare Tax on Health Insurers (Tax hike of $60.1 bil/takes effect Jan. 2014): Annual tax on the industry imposed relative to health insurance premiums collected that year. Phases in gradually until 2018. Fully-imposed on firms with $50 million in profits. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,986-1,993

              18. Obamacare $500,000 Annual Executive Compensation Limit for Health Insurance Executives (Tax hike of $0.6 bil/takes effect Jan 2013). Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,995-2,000

              19. Obamacare Employer Reporting of Insurance on W-2 ($min/takes effect Jan. 2012): Preamble to taxing health benefits on individual tax returns. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,957

              20. Obamacare “Black liquor” tax hike (Tax hike of $23.6 billion/took effect immediately). This is a tax increase on a type of bio-fuel. Bill: Reconciliation Act; Page: 105

              21. Obamacare Codification of the “economic substance doctrine” (Tax hike of $4.5 billion/took effect immediately). This provision allows the IRS to disallow completely-legal tax deductions and other legal tax-minimizing plans just because the IRS deems that the action lacks “substance” and is merely intended to reduce taxes owed. Bill: Reconciliation Act; Page: 108-113

            2. Do you seriously believe anyone will actually read what you posted here (more like copy/pasted)? On a weekday, in the middle of a work day (for US time zones)??

              I am sure you are truly passionate in your political beliefs, but your efforts are really counter-productive, especially when you talk to yourself (responding to own posts with exceptionally long text which is clearly not your original thought, but copied from somewhere else).

            3. further, of course it’s copied and pasted: it’s data from the Congressional Record…as an amazing individual as I am, I can’t seem to find the time to calculate and interpret all of Obama’s tyranny. I try though.

            4. Well, this clearly wasn’t aimed at ‘the electorate’, but at MDN readers, who tend to be an intelligent bunch, for the most part (such as yourself, I’m sure).

              I profoundly disagree with many of your arguments, mainly because they seem to be coming from a very political background, but I will never ever consider labeling you an idiot, or a moron, or whatever I’ve seen some posters here label the others who are on the opposite end of the American political spectrum. As a foreigner, I don’t have a horse in your American political races, but since American politics affects the whole world in one way or another, I cannot be completely indifferent.

              It is ironic that it is often the most patriotic American conservatives, who show the highest pride in their most perfect of world’s democracies, also profess the most profound distrust in the very government they are proud to elect every two years… This is a disconnect that I often struggle to understand. Of all the countries in the world, America seems to be the one that claims to have the government that is truly “of / for / by the people”; yet, a good half of the population would be happy to obliterate it almost completely…

            5. The word demagogue actually describes you precisely. Rather than using rational argument and your own thought, you are pasting political talking points from common conservative web sites here.

              You have no idea how to have a rational conversation with anyone who doesn’t think exactly like you.

              There is no hope for you.

              And I still refuse to use personal insults (even at you). Enjoy the rest of your day.

            6. Even if they do, the elephant in the room is still being ignored, which is … just how much of a percentage change do all of these little changes represent?

              For example, #5 is a +$32B increase … which in the context of $3.3T in revenue means only a 1% difference.

              All told, I’d be surprised if the entire list adds up together to a 5% difference.

              And not that I’m talking about percent CHANGE, not absolute percent. As such, if one’s current effective income tax (not the same as ‘marginal tax bracket’) is 20%, a 5% increase means that your ‘absolute’ taxe rate changed to (20%)*(1.05) = 21%.

            7. Oh boy..
              Do u get paid to post these things?

              I cant wait for this term to be over.
              I have had it with all the bs talk and bs walk. And unprecidented polorization !
              We need someone capable up there !
              P.s. Do some research on pseudo intellectualism .

  8. Funny how we are leaving things like Health Care and Broadband Networks to someone who never experienced the real world for one day in his life! Only work experience, working as professor from college, community organizer and state, then federal politician.

    1. Icreacible isnt it! ( by almost the sane token i would make a great ceo at apple… At least the last 30 years of my life and experience is more in line )
      It all boils down to Power of TALK. Sad but true.
      But eventually WALK is what matters.. And we all see where the WALK is… Bogusland !

  9. Without the government building the initial internet infrastructure, there would be no internet. That’s how it got started in the first place (How Al Gore “invented” the internet). I see the internet as free speech and making it a public utility goes a long ways toward making it happen for everyone. There’s no reason private companies cannot still compete, but they are all using the public backbone now.

      1. Don’t try to be dense, it makes you look stupid yourself.

        They got the cash the same way every government in every corner of this world does: taxing the population.

        And the point is, when private sector builds something, it is done in the interest of generating the most profit for the one who builds it, regardless of the consequences for the population. When a good government builds something, it is done so that the interests of broadest segment of the population are addressed.

        In Manhattan, there are several subway lines that in some parts of the city run in parallel a block away from each other. To an outside observer, this looks quite perplexing, especially when there are parts of the city that are still rather distant from the nearest subway stop. A look at the history reveals that first subways in New York were built by two competing private companies (IRT, BMT). Then, some years later, a third network was built by the government (IND), with the longest subway line in the world (A). It wasn’t until the consolidation of all three companies into a city-managed authority that some of the redundancies were removed and the system made more efficient (and less expensive). Some redundant lines still exist, though.

        1. lol, but where did the MONEY come from to finance the bill that Al Gore allegedly introduced? Where did the MONEY come from that is Al Gore’s salary and every salary of every congressman? Come on, Adam Smith, I just KNOW you know the answer to this.

            1. You are going to pay for things one way or another. Or there aren’t going to be things. The internet as a government utility will guarantee net neutrality, and it will not eliminate private businesses from competing.

  10. “Internet users in Seoul continue to get the speediest connections at the lowest prices anywhere in the world, with speeds of one gigabit per second costing just $30 a month, according to annual report released Thursday the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute. By contrast, the best speeds that consumers in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., or New York can get are half as fast and cost $300 a month.”

    “The New America Foundation’s report highlights how city-owned networks are becoming more competitive with the offerings from Internet providers around the world. The small number of towns that have built such networks — like Chattanooga and Lafayette, Louisiana — ranked higher in the report on speed and price than almost every other city except for those in Asia.”

    “Lafayette has cut the cost of its city-owned service from around $1,000 per month to $110 per month in a single year, the report found.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/31/internet-speeds_n_6078204.html

  11. So far “everything” Obama has touched has largely turned to crap, he’s on the wrong side of every policy, right now, as the world almost is literally ready to burn, he’s looking for the next golf game, football playoff, trying to mandate things that will make things worse..

    Anytime the Government touches anything, its gets more expensive.. We should be encouraging competition, and government should get out of the way… Look at Gas prices, the market works if left alone.. It could be even lower if gas taxes were reduced..

  12. “When Standard Oil became a monopoly that threatened competition and therefore, ultimately, consumers, it was broken up into 90 independent private companies that then competed in the free market, the government did not start drilling, pumping, and selling nationalized oil.”

    Who broke up the monopoly, MDN? The government, dumbass. No one else.

    The heavy-handed government broke up that monopoly, and many others. Aggressive anti-trust laws, followed by Glass Stegal, allowed relatively free markets to flourish for more than 70 years. The disasters of the past two decades are due to relaxed regulation and gutting of tax revenues (in addition to crazy spending on unfunded wars).

    The end result of UNREGULATED capitalism is by its very nature monopolies and extreme inequality. And the result of that is revolution or the working class. That is a difficult pill to swallow, but it is simply true. There are no historical examples of societies with extreme financial inequality that did not end with collapse or revolution. None. Our inequality in the USA is at historical highs since the 1920s.

    The struggle is finding the balance.

  13. MDN: “When the answer to literally everything is “more government,” then you know the answer is very likely wrong.”

    No. When the answer to literally everything is “less government,” then you know the answer is certainly wrong.

    Conservative and liberal worldviews are not symmetric. Liberals can recognize when the profit motive is not appropriate. Conservatives can be categorized by which century they want to return to.

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