If you like your ridiculously high cell phone bill, there’s good news: President Obama wants to make it even higher! The president is pushing a plan to raise money by hiking cell phone fees and use the revenue generated to wire up local schools with high-speed Internet access. The idea of allowing states and towns to figure out how to pay for their own Internet access is evidently anathema to this administration, as is the idea that government should stay within its constitutional boundaries.
He’s also planning to do this without input from Congress, via the Federal Communications Commission, according to the Washington Post. Congress, not the executive branch, is empowered by the Constitution with the ability to levy or reject taxes.
By circumventing Congress, the president would also avoid hearings, debate, and give and take — what we used to call the legislative process. Now it’s just the government and its functionaries blackmailing the citizenry.
Cell phone users already pay for another massive Obama social program, the so-called Obamaphones. That free cell phone program, which began as a modest program in the Reagan era to help poor and rural families get telephones, exploded from 2009 to 2012 — there were one million of them in use in swing state Ohio in 2012. There is little if any oversight to prevent fraud.
This new program, called ConnectEd, will be added on top of the Obamaphone bill.
In the case of ConnectEd, White House officials worried that Obama could be accused of raising taxes on all Americans who use phone or Internet service, amid a broader debate in which Republicans are saying he is trying to raise taxes on the middle class. The cost for the initiative is estimated at $4 billion to $6 billion, and the administration said it could work out to about $12 in fees for every cellphone user over three years.
A senior administration official said that if the idea had come up during the presidential campaign, it probably would have been abandoned because of the political risk. Democrats faced withering critiques in the 1990s for advocating gas taxes to fund roads and bridges, and then-Vice President Al Gore was put on the defensive over the “Gore tax,” the 1996 law that gave the FCC the power to charge such fees.
Obama doesn’t like the Constitution very much and, like lefty columnist Thomas Friedman, gets envious of foreign governments that can rule by fiat.
Obama had long expressed frustration that countries such as South Korea had embraced technology in the classroom so much better than the United States had. He became enthralled with the idea and gave it the go-ahead.
“We are here to do big things — and we can do this without Congress,” he later told his staff in a meeting, an aide said.
Yes we can — become an authoritarian state in which the federal government controls every last drop of everything.