Why Does Government Not Know — Or Ignore — The History Of State-Backed Broadband?

Seton Motley President, Less Government
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It’s one of the most often-cited quotes. George Santayana’s “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  The reason it so regularly recirculates is because we far too often fail to heed it. Which is truly sad, because if you pay attention to the past, you can make some reasonable, rudimentary predictions about the future. And avoid a whole lot of completely unnecessary errors.

As predictable as the sun rising in the east and water being wet, government is stinking on ice at everything it attempts to do.  We have more than a century of such evidence just here in the United States. The Soviet Union and its many satellites were a 20th Century-long global visual aide of government gone wrong. Then there are the juxtapositions. East Berlin vs. West Berlin, North Korea vs. South Korea. There is tons more evidence, for those who care to remember the past.

Sadly, far too many leftists instead adhere to the Shampoo Principle: Lather, rinse, REPEAT.

Which brings us to this pathetic “news” retread: “‘Needless Experiment’: Cities Weigh Gov’t-Backed Broadband, Critics See Tax $$ at Risk.” Wherein we learn local governments all across America are ramping up plans to use our money — to try to be Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

Yet again. Because local governments have already tried being ISPs. The 2000s were rife with their attempts. Shocker — the results were disastrous. A particularly pernicious example was Provo, Utah’s “UTOPIA”: “UTOPIA … was conceived in 2002 as a local government-managed alternative to commercial cable, telco and satellite broadband and has struggled ever since … As of late 2012, the agency was $120 million in the red and had fewer than 10,000 customers.”

But fret not – President Barack Obama uber-crony Google made out like a bandit: “Provo, Utah…ultimately…sold to Google for a whopping $1.” For everyone else — a woeful misadventure. For which all of Utah must pay: “Residents of 11 Utah cities would be billed as much as $20 a month, as part of a plan to salvage the state’s once-heralded UTOPIA fiber optic network.”

Twenty states decided Santayana-style to learn from this past — and passed laws limiting their local governments’ ability to engage in this folly. But as history teaches us, President Barack Obama cares not a whit for the past – or the rule of law.

Despite this decade of failure, the President signed the horrendous 2009 “Stimulus” — which contained $7.2 billion for more such local government nightmare messes. But those twenty state-outliers remained a thorn in President Obama’s federal UTOPIA side — so in February his Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unilaterally threw out their laws. Despite having zero authority to do so. Because that’s what this Administration does.

So this latest administration absurdity is indeed a “needless experiment.” Just as the 2009 Internet “Stimulus” was. Unnecessary errors piled on top of unnecessary errors. Government-as-ISP has time and again been a dismal disaster. But there is no amount of history the Left won’t ignore — so as to continue to inexorably grow government.

Again, this is why the late George Santayana is so often re-cited.