PRESIDENT Barack Obama seasoned his Sept. 8 “Jobs Now!” address to Congress with more than a soupcon of class warfare rhetoric. Such arguments pepper virtually everything this president says.
When he's not making salty straw man arguments (as he did again last week, with remarks on union bargaining rights), Obama is a master chef who cleaves the nation into haves and have-nots, reducing the portions of the former to fill a platter for the latter.
Into the stew pot of the haves, the administration puts Americans with access to broadband Internet connections. That's most of us. The have-nots include Americans relying on slower dial-up connections.
Washington is paying $2,571 per resident of three Oklahoma hamlets for broadband connections. These citizens (fewer than 600 altogether) won't get the money themselves. It goes to large telecom firms. But please don't call that corporate welfare. Surely you know that only Republican fat cats cook up that kind of sauce.
If you have a connection, slow or fast, use a search engine to look up satellite Internet services. The links you'll find are spiced with references to the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the sweet-and-sour pork otherwise known as Obama's 2009 stimulus plan, which was the main course for the dessert selections outlined in Obama's “More Jobs Now!” address.
One satellite Internet vendor says Americans who are saddled with dial-up Internet service are in “the newest disadvantaged group recognized by the federal government.” Oh how we long for the halcyon days when “disadvantaged” related to one's poverty or hunger — not overlong waits for downloads.
ARRA set aside $7.2 billion to expand broadband access across America. This, according to a government report, would “increase jobs, spur investments in technology and infrastructure and provide long-term economic benefits.”
If those words have the smell of today's catch at the fishmonger, it's because similar themes came out of the frying pan during Obama's “Even More Jobs Now!” address to Congress.
HughesNet, the largest satellite Internet provider, got more than $50 million from ARRA. Ads for its affiliates tout free installation, no-cost equipment and reduced monthly rates for eligible households.
In April, two economists who studied three communities getting ARRA Internet subsidies found that most people in the targeted areas already had access to faster Internet service. Nearly $232 million in subsidy funds would bring broadband connections to just 452 households that truly lacked them.
As much as Obama tries to sell his “Even More (And Better) Jobs Now!” package as the microwave popcorn (clean and quick) for recovery, and as much as he will demonize his opponents for being wary of yet another stimulus plan, consider that his platitudes are like spicy foods.
They may taste good now but lead to heartburn later.