Saturday, June 12, 2010

When the Government Holds the Purse Strings the Public Pays the Piper

The government doesn't have to "nationalize" an institution, ala Rosie O'Donnell's BP rant, to take ownership of it.  They can accomplish the goal of central government control through regulation and subsidies.  In either case, the public pays.  Regulations result in higher costs, paid by you and me.  Subsidies are paid for from our taxes.  But far worse than monetary consequences, when government controls the purse strings, they control the product. 

What would the real consequences of government control be if the product was information?  Consider this from The Daily Caller's post The Neomarxist who is helping to influence Obama’s media policy:

"I certainly think Free Press is making headway with the FTC,” said Adam Theirer, president of the Progress and Freedom Foundation. “They’ve been filing extensive comments with the FTC and they’ve gotten face-time at the FTC workshops. And if you look at the 47-page discussion document that the FTC just released, many of those ideas were borrowed directly from McChesney or Free Press.”

Those ideas, many of them culled from McChesney’s book The Death and Life of American Journalism (co-written with the Nation’s John Nichols), include:

The establishment of a “‘journalism’ division of AmeriCorps” to “ensure that young people who love journalism will stay in the field”

Providing “a tax credit to news organizations for every journalist they employ”

“Establishing citizenship news vouchers”

“Increasing postal subsidies for newspapers and periodicals”

A tax on news aggregators, or even a policy to make news aggregation sites, like the Drudge Report, illegal

The allocation of roughly $35 billion in public news subsidies

A five percent tax on consumer electronics

A ISP cell phone tax

A revision of the tax code to allow for more nonprofit media
Through regulation the Obama FTC is trying to force "bad" news sources out of the market and through subsidies allow "good" news sources to flourish.  I'll leave it to you to decide what is "good" and "bad".  It is a clever ploy.  Americans hold the First Amendment and a free press sacrosanct.  We would never stand for an actual nationalization of our press.  But the government can control the press by regulating who can participate in the process, what the process will be and reward through subsidies those who produce a satisfactory product. 

A press that is beholden to the federal government for its survival dances to the government's tune.  Ultimately, the public and the Republic pays.

Read the rest.

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