Slowed! to the Highest Bidder

Hilarity ensues as the Trump ministration launches a trial balloon for building a nationwide 5G network:

it was an unpleasant surprise to many when a draft proposal urging heavy federal involvement in the next generation of fast mobile networks emerged from the White House of Donald Trump — who won the presidency after promising massive cuts to regulations.

”We’re not Venezuela,” Representative Greg Walden, an Oregon Republican and the chairman of the House Commerce Committee, said at a policy gathering in Washington. “Government taking it over, controlling it, is probably — clearly — not the way to go.”

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican chosen by Trump, was even more blunt: “I oppose any proposal for the federal government to build and operate a nationwide 5G network”

The proposal is rooted in concerns about China and cybersecurity, according to two administration officials familiar with the plans who were granted anonymity to discuss them. Unresolved questions include the extent of taxpayer funding, and whether a fifth generation, or 5G, network would be owned by the government, one of the officials said.

If the federal government directly participates in building a wireless network intended for commercial use, it would be a departure from the decades-long tradition of auctioning licenses to telecommunications companies to build their own networks. Phone service has been on a deregulatory path for decades, including legislation in 1996 that President Bill Clinton said “promotes competition as the key to opening new markets and new opportunities.”

Very observant of Representative Walden, but so many (and varied) plans are afoot and this is where they play the V card? So frightened are we of the massive, self-created Beowulf of ‘government-run _____’ that we are willing to abide any and all inferior services because THE MARKET! One might say it is cunning to introduce the security threat into this discussion until you remember who’s in charge and that you have every reason to be suspect even of unscheduled emptying of waste baskets. But the rending of garments about how great our competitive monopolies are at doing everything and the temerity to threaten them with a network built and own by Guhvuhmint is indeed tender and endearing.

What does 6.2% mean?

I can dig it when the Grey Lady steals my construct.

On Friday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that gross domestic product fell at an annualized rate of 6.2 percent from the third to the fourth quarter of 2008. This was bad news, but some journalists have exaggerated the finding merely by misreading the report.

That post and graph is by a UChicago economist. Another economist I read regularly is Brad DeLong at Berkeley (who hopefully will be taking academic leave to work at the Treasury department very soon). Anyway, this post reminds me of something I heard DeLong say in a NPR essay, I think yesterday. He was talking about all the bad news that’s out there, about the fixation on the stock market as an indicator, the unemployment numbers, the CPI… and he was saying that its enough to make us all worried and scared. But he pointed out that because of certain trends in the fundamentals of the economy (which have been out of whack for several years, really), the stock market should be going down. And though we’ve known about most all of these trends and statistics since last fall, the news media has been more all over them of late. So while they are sufficiently dire that we should be worried and scared, we shouldn’t be more worried and scared than we were in December just because the news media is finally rending their garments.

But… check out DeLong; he has a great running gag (except its not so funny) about the Washington Post Death Watch that should serve him well when/if he gets back to DC.