In last week's Liberty Update, we highlighted the Heritage Foundation's 2022 Index of Economic Freedom…
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Image of the Day: More Economic Freedom = Higher Standard of Living

In last week's Liberty Update, we highlighted the Heritage Foundation's 2022 Index of Economic Freedom, which shows that Joe Biden has dragged the U.S. down to 22nd, our lowest rank ever (we placed 4th in the first Index in 1995, and climbed back up from 18th to 12th under President Trump).  As we noted, among the Index's invaluable metrics is how it demonstrates the objective correlation between more economic freedom and higher citizen standards of living, which this graphic illustrates:

 …[more]

May 19, 2022 • 12:53 PM

Liberty Update

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Coalition to FCC: Broadband Subsidies Meant for Truly Unserved Areas, Not Some of Nation’s Most Well-Connected and Wealthy Communities Print
By CFIF Staff
Tuesday, May 18 2021

In a letter submitted today to the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” of “Commission”), a broad coalition of national organizations and individual policy experts from across the ideological spectrum noted widespread concerns about the accuracy of the FCC’s broadband maps and called the Commission’s attention to newly released information from the Competitive Carriers Association (“CCA”) that questions thousands of locations where significant Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (“RDOF”) funding is set to be awarded to subsidize areas that are served today.

The letter reads, in part:

CCA recently compared RDOF auction results to publicly available data about broadband access. By overlapping speed test data on RDOF areas, CCA found that nearly 286,000 locations with almost 403,000 people that are poised to receive scarce broadband subsidies already have robust connectivity. Indeed, CCA found that current awards are set to deploy between $144 million and $1 billion to subsidize broadband deployment to areas that are well served today. These errors are especially troubling because RDOF Phase I awards were supposed to go to those most in need—areas “wholly unserved” by broadband. If a single household within an area was found to have broadband service, that area was intended to be considered for support later, in RDOF Phase II.

Unfortunately, RDOF’s first round is poised to send scarce federal dollars to some of the most connected, dense, and wealthy communities in the country rather than targeting only “wholly unserved” areas. CCA found that subsidies are targeted for:

  • Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California
  • The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Fisherman’s Wharf, the popular urban center and tourist destination in San Francisco
  • Chicago’s Inner Loop business district
  • Large international airports, like DFW International in Dallas-Ft. Worth and SFO International in San Francisco

The coalition is calling on the FCC “to devote resources to review questionable applications before dollars go out the door,” and explains that “CCA provides a useful playbook for doing so.”

Publicly available data led CCA and could lead the Commission to scrutinize awarded areas that crowdsourcing shows have robust broadband access. CCA also used Census data on population density and household income, which the Commission has recognized are highly correlated with broadband access. The FCC has the authority to require awardees to update their Commission filings with accurate broadband access data, and with the promise of billions of dollars of federal subsidies, it is appropriate that awardees assist the Commission in that effort. The undersigned groups have a strong interest in bridging the digital divide and ensuring that ratepayers’ dollars are well spent. We stand ready to assist.

The letter, which was led by the Center for Individual Freedom, is also signed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Free Press, Jennifer Huddleston, National Grange, National Taxpayers Union, Public Knowledge and R Street Institute.

Read the letter here (PDF).

Quiz Question   
How many days does it take the average U.S. household to consume as much electrical power as one single bitcoin transaction?
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"Lawmakers continued to raise concerns about the Internal Revenue Service at a Congressional hearing this week as the agency deals with billions in misspent dollars, hefty processing backlogs, and complaints over poor customer service.Lawmakers lobbed questions at the tax-collecting agency during the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee hearing.'The program has an annual improper payment rate…[more]
 
 
—Casey Harper, The Center Square
— Casey Harper, The Center Square
 
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Should any U.S. government agency have a function called the "Disinformation Governance Board" (See Homeland Security, Department of)?