The Digital Revolution Provides More Welfare

Posted: 09/01/2008 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,
In one year and a few weeks the analog television you watch the nightly news on will cease to function. The electronic industry will be required to transmit signals in a digital format. While this really is no big deal to talk about at the outset, it brings into question several whys and what ifs regarding the affair. But more importantly is the huge Welfare subsidy bill the taxpayers are going to be paying for, and in my opinion, needlessly.
February 17th, 2009 is the day analog broadcasting will become non-existent over the airways, to be replaced with a more reliable, and far superior signal in the form of a digital transmission. I have no problem with the fact that the Federal Government is requiring the conversion. One of the powers the Constitution provides for is that the Congress has power over interstate commerce. Given the fact that many Television Stations broadcast over multiple states, it’s an easy no brainer argument.
But what does that mean to us here in Maine? About the same as any other state, really. People in rural areas that have a hard time getting analog signals now, will still have a hard time getting the digital signals. But the big difference is that you will not be able to see digital signals on your analog set. The mountainous areas of the state will be harder hit than the coastal areas for the most part, just like now. Radio waves don’t go through solid objects. But the antennas use today help solve that problem of reception.
So as the big day draws closer, you only have two basic options available to you. Number one, you can go out and drop a wad of cash, better used to pay for other necessities, like heating oil and food. The second option is a converter box. Those who have cable or satellite service should be all set, as those signals are already digitally broadcast and converted into analog signals via the equipment you already have through them. And converter boxes are being made available at the retail level.
So here’s the big problem I have with all of this business. I’ve known about the coming conversion for a couple of years now, and I’m far from a technical sort of guy. I don’t even like television. But I am aware of the need for the change and will either buy a digital TV this summer or fall, or a digital to analog converter box so I can be ready for next year’s changeover. No problem there. There is a need, I know what the solution is, and I plan to prepare for the event by implementing a proper solution.
But now for the rub. In a time when taxes are skyrocketing, just like every other expense we encounter in this state, the Feds want to provide funding for 1.5 billion dollars worth of coupons to act as rebates on the purchase of these boxes. That’s $1,500,000,000.00 dollars of tax money that could be going towards more important things. Like helping poor people pay for heating oil and medical needs. Or decreasing the federal deficit and lowering the tax burden. Or any number of other needs far more beneficial to the public than making sure everybody can see the twenty second sound bites being spit out on the evening news, or TV stars having sex in front of your kids in the evening.
Maybe it’s just me, but do we really need to have a program like this in the United States? Come on folks! We’ve got over a year to get ready for the switch. I’m sure that’s plenty of time to scrape up enough money to buy a converter box, even if getting that new digital set is out of reach. Here’s the clipping from the Gov’s website regarding the converter coupon windfall to the electronics industry….
“The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), a department of the federal government, is administering the Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Coupon Program (Coupon Program), as authorized in the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005.
Between Jan. 1, 2008, and March 31, 2009, eligible U.S. households can request up to two coupons, worth $40 each, to be used towards the purchase of up to two coupon-eligible converter boxes (CECB).”
The program goes on to state that the coupons will be paid out at the cost of the box or forty dollars, whichever is less. I sure am glad that this money is going towards something I truly beneficial, instead of repairing our highways or reducing the tax burden. Gotta love those taxes, don’t you?

For more facts about the issue, right click and go here http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/digitaltv.html.

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