John Hoeven, Entitlement Hypocrite?

LA Times columnist David Lazarus has ferreted out a bit of hypocrisy in the Republican ranks on entitlements. He notes that some Republicans – including Senators John Hoeven and Orrin Hatch – are against universal health care paid for by taxpayers but for universal internet service paid for by taxpayers.

How do they square the contradiction? It’s a good question Lazarus apparently tried to ask both Hatch and Hoeven, but didn’t get an answer from either.

You can read his whole column here.

Lazarus, of course, is for both universal health care and universal internet access but his larger point is a good one. Should the government be providing things like subsidies for internet and universal health care, or shouldn’t it? Because you can’t have it both way.

“Government ‘help’ to business is just as disastrous as government persecution,” wrote Ayn Rand, and I think that applies in this example. The justification for rural broadband access (keep in mind that most of these areas are already served by telephone-based internet) is wasteful for a lot of reasons. First, many of these rural areas are emptying out about as fast as broadband infrastructure is built to them. Were they growing communities, the private sector would invest in serving them.

Second, other technologies (such as wide-area wireless networks, cell phone networks and even satellite internet access) are crowded out of these markets. These technologies are improving all the time, and could serve rural areas were the government not paying some ISP’s to lay cable out to these areas.

In other words, this sort of government spending is just plain unnecessary.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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