Tag Archives: ATT

The Ugly Head Of Good Intentions

Henry Waxman and... his brother?

Pro-Abortion Democrat Bart Stupak joined Henry Waxman in chiding AT&T, Caterpillar, and several other large corporations who have adjusted their balance sheets in response to some of the first changes of the Health Care Socialization bill to take affect.

These large corporations have been enjoying a substantial tax deduction in return for their paying for their retirees prescription drugs. Because they had built their budgets around the savings this program gave them, as this program ends, they have to report the loss of this expected revenue.

And it’s significant amounts we’re talking here. After all, several hundred million here, a billion there, and pretty soon we’re talking real cash.

So Henry Waxman, from California (“sorry folks” says this former Californian)…

…sent AT&T, Caterpillar and Deere a sharp letter, questioning the charges and saying he wanted top officials from those companies to testify at an April 21 hearing he has scheduled on the issue.

What, he didn’t get enough validation of his supposed superiority after grilling Mr Toyoda of Toyota motors?

Congress is on a power trip the likes of which I haven’t seen before.

Bart Stupak joined in sending the letter which, among other things presumably, said:

The new law is designed to expand coverage and bring down costs, so your assertions are a matter of concern.

Ah, the ugly head of good intentions.

Some studies (which no doubt the Congress-people held to savagely in order to assuage their own consciences for this dastardly deed) projects savings of $3000/employee for employers under this bill.

Unlike the government, though, businesses have to abide by what are called Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, or GAAP (pronounced “gap”) which requires, among other things, that expenses be reported in the financial quarter in which they are incurred. A significant loss of revenue cannot be offset, on the books, with a hoped for or expected long term savings. The company can report that expected savings in their reports to shareholders in order to rally them up and encourage them to keep their investments. But to use a hoped-for (not even really expected) long term savings to offset a current expense is a serious No-No. And if the government were held accountable for it’s accounting, it might actually know that.

So AT&T and these other companies did what they were supposed to do.

Even the AFL-CIO isn’t very enthusiastic about this particular provision:

Gerry Shea, the A.F.L.-C.I.O.’s chief strategist on health care, stopped short of calling for a repeal of the provision. “We’re very concerned about the disruption that could be caused because of this, with people being pushed out of employer plans,” he said. “With all the changes we’re looking at because of the new health legislation, we feel you don’t need this.”

And the President’s response?

White House officials said the provision would not affect job creation because it does not take effect for three years and any charge for a given year would not be large.

They’re reflecting the reality of the situation reflected, in turn, badly on those who jammed this travesty of a Health Care bill through. And one thing we can be sure about, people on power kicks don’t like being shown to be liars and cheats. And since their on a power kick, in all likelihood they’ll use that power kick to try and arm-twist until they get what they please.

So, word of advice to AT&T and Caterpillar and all those other companies writing down significant losses: Don’t go to Washington. They’re out for your head and they’ll stage a show and the MSM will go along because they don’t like you either. You’ll not get a fair shake.

Instead, take your message to the masses. Use that advertising budget to do PSAs on TV, radio, newspapers, and internet. Go viral with your message on Youtube and the like. I’ll even post it here if you do it.

Show the hollow nature of these good intentions. Show how blinded the Congress was by their own ambition and greed that they crafted this nightmare. Show that it’s not just a nightmare for you and others with large pocketbooks, show that it’ll be a nightmare for us as you have to cut benefits and trim payroll.

Good intentions have once again reared their ugly head. Lets cut it off this time.

Quotes from NYTimes article “Companies Push To Repeal Provision Of Health Law”.

Net Neutrality: Taken For Fools

I, Pandora has had a mixed history on Network Neutrality.

Network what?

Network Neutrality is one response to fears that infrastructure and service companies, such as AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast, spell doom for the freedom of the internet as they inevitably begin controlling access to content, enhancing access to content they own, control, or partner with, and limiting access to content they deem contrary to their best interest.

The majority of Network Neutrality supporters want the FCC to step in and set rules requiring the infrastructure/service companies provide equal access to all content and forbidding them from interfering in any way with the freedom of the internet.

Sounds good, right?

As with any other debate, you have to get to the deeper issues. And this debate is rife with deeper issues.

When I first heard of Network Neutrality I was gung-ho for it. I did not understand the goals at the heart of this push.

“Don’t be hasty, master Hobbit!”

There was a reason liberal Democrat leaders were more for this program than Republicans and conservatives. Liberals dream of more regulation and control and private and free systems. The freer the system the stronger the urge to a liberal to regulate it.

My confusion over Network Neutrality did not continue long. I supported it in March of 2007, and by August of that year I wrote about the inherent conflict between government regulation and innovation.

Government regulation is the enemy of innovation.

In the arguments over Net Neutrality, I feel for the plebes. I don’t want my traffic throttled any more than it already is by the ISP. But is it the government’s responsibility to control this? And if we allow the government to say who can access the internet and at what speed, where is our moral authority when the government wants to say who can’t access the internet?

Perhaps I am more libertarian than I like to think myself to be.

Later I quoted Rep. John Sununu (R – New Hampshire) regarding the slippery slope of wishing for government interference:

If the Internet has taught us anything, it’s that it’s pretty presumptuous to predict what the future will be. We should be very, very cautious about imposing regulations based on what we think competitors will do in the future and how we think consumers will respond based on what we think competitors will do.

Gee, that sounds familiar.

Oh, yea. Attorney General Eric Holder, in a 60 minutes spot on healthcare and specifically Medicare and Medicaid’s extremely high levels of fraud made perhaps the most blind statement regarding human nature I’ve ever heard from a lawman:

People didn’t think that something as well-intentioned as Medicare and Medicaid would necessarily attract um… fraudsters.

People not thinking. Not considering the implications of what they want.

Just because it’s well intentioned doesn’t mean it’s right and good and free of the failings that so plague us mortals.

Are Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast completely good in their actions so far regarding the internet? No.

Comcast has been slapped once for purposely throttling connections to certain types of content during peak times load times.

But is the government the solution?

In my article regarding regulation versus innovation I make it clear that while there is a place for regulation, that regulation is best applied to the government itself, limiting it’s ability to tamper with our system of free enterprise.

There is a question I’d ask of anybody regarding this issue. If Thomas Edison were alive today which entity would be the greatest enemy of his innovation: Government or Business?

Sonia Ericson, writing in TechNewsWorld today provides a meaningful and realistic and proven alternative to network neutrality: private control.

ICANN is currently the organization closest to being “in control” of the internet.

It’s a private organization which controls the distribution and changes to the domain names which make the internet navigable.

(A)sking the FCC to “protect” the Internet means inviting government oversight, which injects more politics — not less — into the operation of the Net.

Sonia then talks about someone I’ve met:

Ashwin Navin, cofounder of BitTorrent, also says he doesn’t support government regulation of the Net, even though his name appears on an OIC letter. He says he’d rather see Internet service providers come up with a self-regulatory plan based on a pledge to keep the Net open and the creation of a third body to arbitrate. Indeed, Navin says that his own company’s scuffle with Comcast was ultimately solved without formal rules after a netizen noticed that Comcast was degrading service and brought the matter to the public’s attention.

“The problem is disclosure,” Navin says. “Consumers need to know if the ISP, which is the most invisible layer in the stack, is responsible for an improved or degraded experience for any of the services they use.”

Geek Out Alert!

In my days working for Fry’s Electronics, Ashwin’s step-dad hired us to build and repair his wireless network. He introduced me to Horchata and I watched the Blue Angels practice over his backyard. Ashwin and his brother came by once while I was there and I basked in the presence of those gods of the internet, the business minds behind BitTorrent.

But Ashwin has a point. A good point. A point I may elaborate on further in the future.

Suffice to say that information is the grease for the wheels of the free market and capitalism. And the internet, above all else in the history of markets, has enabled the dissemination of information more efficiently and the finding and gauging of information more easily.

Why do we trust the government to act in our best interest when it comes to such a powerful information force as the internet? The government has no competitors to blow the whistle on it’s misdeeds. The government self-interest lies in a dearth of information.

Trust the government and be taken for a fool. I’ll not be joining you in your foolishness.