Chris Kranky

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Your gov’t tax $$$ at work

Chris KoehnckeChris Koehncke

The United States Dept of Agriculture Administrator for the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) proudly announced with a beautiful color report they the USDA had just written checks in excess of $1.0 billion dollars to various service providers to help extend high speed internet services to those unfortunate folks who still live in rural areas. Even better, the Administrator said he had another $1.0 billion in his checking account and looking to spend more. Jonathan Adelstein ended his report stating how proud the USDA was to support this initiative started by none other than Mr. Obama himself.  I think I want a recount.

This billion dollars didn’t seem to go very far and as I dug into the numbers, I saw stupid all of it. Only 68 firms got checks for this RUS funding, averaging $14m apiece. I smell a pork barrel. It’s amazing how much we worry about rural America. The problem is most people who live in rural America are trying to get the hell out of there. Today, only about 20% of the America population lives in a rural community and in fact the total rural population is actually decreasing about 3% a year.

I dug into the grants and there is precious little information on what exactly the firms plan to do with the money. What little information I found, I got scared.

Let’s take a look at Flint Cable TV based in rural Georgia. They got a mere $8 million dollars to basically run cable TV to 3 small communities in nearby cities. For this $8m, the grand total of 845 people will now get cable television. Praise the Lord, how did these poor people live without the Price is Right? This works out to $9,467 dollars for each person. I’d guess they’d just rather have a check.

Totah Communications fared a bit better, they got $9m. Seems there’s a group of 800 folks living 152 miles away and damn if they ain’t gonna run one of those new fangled fiber optic cables out to them. Unfortunately, the government didn’t give them enough money, these poor 800 are only going to get lower speed DSL service. Cost? $11,250 per subscriber.

Baca Valley Telephone serving, I assume, the greater Baca Valley in New Mexico quickly deposited their $3.2 million check. They are gonna get out as fast as possible to hook up 372 homes with this money including a few ranches for the relative bargain price of $8,678 per subscribers.

It’s sad to watch your tax dollars go to waste. None of these for profit businesses could find any real business case to serve this markets, yet the government believe it’s going to help and they were all too happy to take your money to help their business.