Incite -- (v) 1: give an incentive; 2: provoke or stir up; "incite a riot"; 3: urge on; cause to act
Friday, June 18, 2004

Anything you can do I can do better...
Written by: Beck

...said the free market to the government. You probably don't remember when law first went into action--I vaguely remember hearing something about it and then promptly dismissing it as just another stealth tax ramrodded through congress by a congressman with a hard-on for the phone companies. Essentially, everyone gets a small tax on their phone bill, the money from which ($2.25 billion/year, not a small sum) goes towards subsidizing schools' efforts to computerize and get online. Big surprise: the government woefully mishandles the entire project, corruption abounds, and great swathes of money go to waste.
But [the program, called E-rate, is] messy, as cases of wasted equipment, improper or falsified purchases, insufficient payments and poor oversight have been found or alleged nationwide.

Completed audits and investigations underway show E-rate has an unacceptably high risk of fraud, waste and abuse, said H. Walker Feaster III, inspector general of the Federal Communications Commission, in testimony Thursday to a subcommittee investigating the program.

He called for more auditors so the vast technology project would get adequate oversight, and for program changes to ensure competitive bidding, clear rules and solid record-keeping.
Yes, as always, when you ask the government for a solution to a problem created by the government in the first place, their invariable answer: More Government!
Of 122 audits done over the past year, about a third revealed substantial violations, Feaster told the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
That's right. One third. This is not a small time problem. This is not a few random instances of fraud and mismanagement. This is one in every three cases. The program is run by the sorry sods at the FCC in cooperation with a not-for-profit corporation. I've always had an instinctive distrust of any institution that exists for a purpose other than profit. Those not motivated by the bottom line aren't motivated, period, and their work output reflects it.

I'm not arguing that it isn't a noble cause to bring technology to schools. As long as you're going to have public schools, they might as well teach something useful, and to do that these days you need good computers and an internet connection. My point is that there were other ways to handle the implementation of this--ways which take advantage of pre-existing market infrastructure. Rather than letting the companies with the expertise work on it, new institutions are legislated into existence. Anyone who has ever worked for a major corporation knows that such businesses go hog wild for chances to show that they're charitable and "involved in the community." At many Silicon Valley companies, where liberal social ideology often dominates, the desire to volunteer time, effort, knowledge, and know-how, is entirely sincere and quite pervasive. Why not tap into this? You can leave the phone-bill tax in place, raise that $2.25 billion, and then let these people go hog wild. Of course, that never happens (take the recent example of Ted Kennedy gutting every market-based mechanism from the prescription drug benefit legislation). Instead, you get outcomes like this:
An investigative team found in February that about 74,000 wireless computer cards purchased for schools were sitting unwrapped on a loading dock in a warehouse. The cards were purchased in 1999 for about $24 million, including supposed installation charges.

Contact The Author:

John Beck

Feedback Welcomed

Greatest Hits

The Complete United Nations Posts
Immoderate Moderates
Marketing Myopia
In defense of the Republic
UKIP in America
Playing Connect the Dots
A Point So Often Missed: The Presence of an Administered Rate
Reagan Remembrance
Dr. Wolfowitz, or How I Supported the Right War Waged in the Wrong Way for the Wrong Reasons
Divine Right of Kings and UN Mandates
A Fantastic Idea, If I Do Say So Myself
Why We Were Right to Liberate Iraq
The Crisis of Conservatism

Blogs Worth Bookmarking

Steal The Blinds
Poor Dudley's Almanac
Protein Wisdom
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
New Sisyphus
Jim Treacher
Ace of Spades
Captain's Quarters
Rambling's Journal
Neolibertarian Blog
LLP Group Blog
The Llama Butchers
The Castle Argghhh
The Politburo Diktat
The Dissident Frogman
In Search of Utopia
Aaron's cc:
You Know You Wanna
Classical Values
Clowning Glory
Vice Squad
Hit & Run
Link Mecca
The Corner
Power Line
Michelle Malkin
Mises Institute
marchand chronicles
Enlighten - New Jersey

More Top Reads

SlagleRock's Slaughterhouse
This Blog is Full of Crap
Who Tends the Fires
The Bleat
Outside the Beltway
Small Dead Animals
Kim du Toit
Tman in Tennessee
Hog On Ice
Pardon My English
Mr. Minority
Speed Of Thought
La Shawn Barber
Right Wing News
USS Clueless
Belmont Club
Shades of Gray
Seldom Sober
Roger L. Simon
Tacoma Blaze
A Small Victory
Murdoc Online
Iraq Elections Diatribe
Winds of Change
Enlighten - New Jersey
Random Fate
Riding Sun
The Daily File
Matt "The Man" Margolis
Bastard Sword
Roller Coaster of Hate

News Links

Blogger News Network
National Review Online
Tech Central Station
The Drudge Report
Reason Online
Mises Institute
The Weekly Standard
Front Page Magazine
Town Hall

Affiliations, Accolades, & Acknowledgements

The Neolibertarian Network


Image Hosted by
"More tallent than a million monkeys with typewriters."
--Glenn Reynolds

Image Hosted by

Image Hosted by

Image Hosted by

Life, Liberty, Property Community

Reciprocal Blogrolling

Accidental Verbosity
Conservative Eyes
The Moderate Voice
Perpetual Three-Dot Column
Sudan Watch
Mystery Achievement
Le Sabot Post-Moderne
Comment Me No Comments
New Spew

Links That Amuse the Writers

Huffington's Toast
The IFOC News
Dave Barry's Blog
Drum Machine
Something Awful
Cox & Forkum
Exploding Dog


March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
August 2006
March 2007
May 2007
June 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
September 2008
November 2008
December 2008
March 2009
April 2009
June 2009
July 2009
August 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009

The Elephant Graveyard

We Are Full of Shit
The Sicilian
The Diplomad
Insults Unpunished
Fear & Loathing in Iraq
Right Wingin-It
Serenity's Journal
Son of Nixon
Rachel Lucas


Site Design by Maystar
Ask not for whom the blog tolls...
This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?
Weblog Commenting and Trackback by

Listed on Blogwise
Blogarama - The Blog Directory


Image Hosted by

Email Questions and Comments

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
eXTReMe Tracker