Posts Tagged ‘congress

The American Republic

Posted in Politicson Apr 4, 2013

Tocqueville-AlexisThe American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.

Alexis De Tocqueville 1805-1859

The latest U.S. government debt debate was very painful, and congress should but probably won’t, learn from that pain.

The problem is that our government spends way more than it collects (from taxes).  To make up the difference, the government takes out more and more loans to pay for all that spending.  After years and years of spending like a crazy college student with their first credit card, the government has racked up tons of debt.

The latest round of some members of government begging for the ability to take out more debt, and other members of government trying to put conditions on the increased debt allowance, should teach congress that nothing is free.  Every bit of spending comes at a price.  With the latest debt debate, congress took a quick glance at the price tag of all that debt they’ve racked up, and it hurt.

So hopefully the next time congress wants to approve some amount of spending, start a new program, or join a new war, they will remember the price of spending.  The next debt debate, which is right around the corner, will be a lot more painful if congress keeps on agreeing to spend more and more.  We know that more government spending cuts are coming up, so congress needs to realize that every dollar spent now means an additional dollar cut from other programs like medicare or social security.

DTV conversion screw up

Posted in Technicalon Feb 17, 2009

In case you haven’t heard, broadcast television stations are converting from analog to digital signals. This means that those people who use an antenna to receive free television signals will need a setup capable of receiving the new digital signals. Many newer TV can receive DTV (digital TV), while older TVs like mine will need a converter box.

This conversion has been in plans for year and years, but many consumers aren’t ready for the old analog signals to be discontinued. Originally, there were plans for all analog signals to cease on February 17th, but since so many consumers were unprepared for the switch, congress decided that the plan was screwed up and they decided to do what congress does best, screw it up even more.

Congress voted to extend the conversion date until June 17th, but the problem is that they gave the TV stations the option of turning off the analog equipment anytime between now and then. So rather than having one established date for the conversion, some TV stations will turn off today, others later, and others on June 17th. This wasn’t communicated well to consumers, many of whom might be surprised when some of their TV stations switch today rather than the “extended” June 17 date.

There are 491 stations which will go digital-only on June 17, including a few PBS stations in the Denver area. A full list in PDF form is available.

An additional problem is that a government program to provide $40 coupons for purchases of converter boxes has run out of money, and although congress allowed some stations to extend their conversion date, they didn’t provide additional coupon funding as part of their analog expiration extension plan.