Thursday, 20 October 2005

The idiocy of the US Senate - One of MANY

What's it worth to make sure nothing gets between Americans and their TV sets?

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) thinks $3 billion is about right. That's what he proposed yesterday to spend to make sure TVs don't go blank when broadcasters switch to digital signals in about four years.

The money would subsidize the cost of set-top boxes to convert digital signals to play on the old analog sets that millions of people without cable or satellite TV rely on. Under Stevens's proposal, people would make a $10 co-payment for the boxes and the government would absorb the rest of the cost. The cash would come from an estimated $10 billion to be raised from auctioning the spectrum when analog broadcasts end.

Taken from a Washington Post Article on Thursday, October 20th, 2005.

Now, I've got to admit that I watch TV. It's a source of entertainment, news and a good old fashioned 'boredom killer'. I think that everyone should have access to at least their own basic local news and programming, and if that comes through on the bunny ear antennas on top of the set, then so be it. I also think that if you want access to the premium channels then you should pay for them, though I think that the cable companies are charging too much considering the fact that they make money through advertising revenue which should be subsidizing their monthly access fees as opposed to just going into their pockets...but I digress.

The US Senate proposing a subsidy of 3 Billion (or even 1 Billion) so that people can still get TV is just plain ludicrious ! Lets see, the US Government has spent a few hundred Billion in the Iraq effort, there is the cost of reconstruction after all the Hurricanes, the ongoing costs associated with Bush's own spending spree on other issues and NOW they want to drop another few Billion on subsidizing people's ability to watch TELEVISION ?!?

Sony, Hitachi, RCA, Zenith etc...Take one for the team and drop the costs of your basic digital TV sets. Shareholder value is one thing, price gouging the citizens is another thing entirely.

As for the US Senate, why don't you try to keep your hands off of money...Period !! If you think it's more important to subsidize TV access than it is to trim spending, getting your country a little bit out of debt, or heaven forbid, to actually spend that 3 Billion on something tangible like books for schools than you definately have your priorities sadly misplaced.

People, that 3,000 Million dollars being spent to subsidize a little box so people can watch TV !!
For those of you a bit curious about the resulting math of all this, think about the following.

Based on the US population, that all works out to $10 for every citizen. That's every Man, Woman and child in the USA ! Not much of a subsidy if you ask me. But I bet that for the few million people directly affected by the Hurricanes, a $1000 + subsidy would sure go a long way !!

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