Analog TV Switch Is Yet Another Federal Mandate

Today, June 12, 2009, is the last day that full-power television broadcasters in the United States can broadcast in analog signals.  By the end of the day, all stations will be broadcasting in digital only.  This means that anyone who has an older-model, non-cable television, will no longer be able to watch TV.  After today, they will be able to do so only by purchasing a new TV able to receive cable channels, or by purchasing a special converter box and hooking it up to their older model TV.

Has this process occured because the market dictated such a change, based on cost-benefit analysis or consumer demand?  No.  This happened simply because the federal government mandated that it take place.  In the same way that the government now dictates such heretofore private matters as what kind of toilet to have in your home and what kind of light bulbs you can use, Uncle Sam has now told you what kind of TV you can have.

This all came about because a Republican-controlled Congress passed legislation in 2005 mandating that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) order all full-power TV stations to cease broadcasting in analog by February 18th this year (later extended to June 12th).  Of course, a Republican President (George W. Bush) signed the measure into law .  .  .  and here we are.

The 2005 law also sets out a ridiculous — and costly — program whereby the government will dole out coupons to requesting households (worth $40 each; limit two per household) which consumers can then use to defray the cost of purchasing the converter units.  Of the more than $2 billion in direct costs of this program, the Treasury Department is authorized to spend $160 million of our tax dollars just to “administer” the coupon program. 

As we all know, the former, Bush administration moved on to much larger efforts to control the economy, culminating in last fall’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).  With the Republicans having put together such costly and intrusive mandates as these, from which the new, Democratic administration can draw lessons and use as precedent, it should surprise no one that the Barack Obama Administration is now itself dictating and controlling markets (e.g., Chrysler and GM). 

With the Republicans and the Democrats, it’s just a matter of the degree of control; not whether to control.

80 comments Add your comment

nathan

June 12th, 2009
7:18 am

Well the fcc has pretty much always controlled the airwaves, so how else are they suposed to keep up with the demands of today’s media driven culture? We need that analog range for other uses, and only gopvernment has the power to do that.

P

June 12th, 2009
8:16 am

The idea of going to digital is probably a good one. The execution and cost to get there is typical government failure. The “trend” of government control is real and should be viewed with great skepticism.

For the few million who are either too stupid or lazy to have prepared for the switch I have no sympathy and wish the media and government would quit talking about it. Let’em learn the hard way! I don’t want my government always looking out for a few on every dang thing!

williebkind

June 12th, 2009
8:20 am

I am a digital fan. That was a good mandate. No one has to have a TV.

Gasoline, which is needed for many purposes suchas going to work, has no mandate for drilling or keeping prices down. Bob, I think you should put more effort in assisting the citizens in having low energy prices than promoting an ideology.

Jack

June 12th, 2009
8:27 am

Two duly elected administrations decided this was a good change. Unless there is some harm done, I will accept smart governments choices. I don’t think there is some kind of conspiracy to remove the TV controls from our dependent hands, do you?

CJ

June 12th, 2009
8:35 am

Well, we certainly wouldn’t want to advance technology, now would we?

When the government required seat belts of a certain design and ability for vehicles, they didn’t say you couldn’t continue driving old cars without or with less safe seat belts. It was in the public’s best interests to buy cars that were safer.

With TV’s – digital is better quality, so there’s no need to continue servicing low quality TV sets when the manufacturers are only producing higher quality, digital TVs going forward.

bob

June 12th, 2009
8:39 am

The switch may not be a bad idea but the problen is the gov spent millions to help people cover the transition. The figures thrown around would have covered the purchase of brand new tv’s for all that recieved just a converter box. Why is it the taxpayers that had to cover the cost of converter boxes.

The Snark

June 12th, 2009
9:15 am

OMG, Bob, the federal government is … governing. What next? Publicly financed roads? Inspections of restaurant kitchens? Save me from the nanny state, Bob!

Sam

June 12th, 2009
9:32 am

Snark, Why don’t you suck up to the nanny state you dumb sucker.

sane jane

June 12th, 2009
9:36 am

I usually like BB’s blog but this post is dumb.

sane jane

June 12th, 2009
9:38 am

It also shows the growing disconnect between the haves & the have-nots. I can think of a few hundred people who I know well enough to ascertain their “cable situation” and can count on ONE HAND the people who don’t have cable & get their signal over-air.

sane jane

June 12th, 2009
9:40 am

Sam, does that mean you are anti-restaurant inspection? Who peed in your cornflakes?

(seriously) (it happens) (Tyler Durden taught us that people pee in the bisque, fart on the meringue, etc.)

Peadawg

June 12th, 2009
9:42 am

Oh geeze, Bob. This is one of your dumber posts!!! I agree w/ williebkind. Why don’t you write a blog about raising oil prices that Obama said he would keep down? Yet, here we go again…it’ll be 4.00 a gallon by August.

sane jane

June 12th, 2009
9:50 am

Is Bob really whining about government “dictating” what kind of lightbulbs you can use?

When 90% of the power consumed to light a regular incandescent (filament) bulb is emitted at HEAT (rather than light/lumens), I think it might be ok for government to say “hey, we can do better than that.”

JM

June 12th, 2009
9:55 am

If Bob has a problem with this, then I have to believe that he would have a problem with just about anything.

sane jane

June 12th, 2009
10:00 am

Well said, JM.

Eric

June 12th, 2009
10:17 am

Bob, this is idiotic. That you contemplated the many available topics and decided that this was worthy clearly illustrates your intellectual bankruptcy. The free market takes changes like cats take pills – it’s painful, the cat frequently runs away repeatedly, the whole process takes a very long time and in the end no-one is happy. For an example of what happens when the market is allowed to make a decision without any government interference check out cell phone service in the US – ‘nuf said. Don’t be a mental midget, Barr.

The Snark

June 12th, 2009
10:42 am

Hey SAM:

Did you think that comment up all by yourself, or just copy it off the bathroom wall at the Open Campus High School? Seriously, dude, that’s lame, even by the standards of AJC blogs.

Also, Sam: You shouldn’t capitalize the second word in a sentence, even if it follows a comma, and you should have added a comma after “state.”

Michael H. Smith

June 12th, 2009
10:43 am

To control or not to control, no longer remains the question. Better to ask who is not in control?

That would be We the People.

You are very correct Bob Barr and right on target. What we have for a government currently is two dirty wings (Democrat and Republican) on one bird (our government).

Though I disagree with several major parts of the Libertarian Party plank, I do support busting up the total control being exercised by the Democrats and the Republicans of our government.

Hopefully, third or fourth political parties will emerge to restore power to the people, as we rightly should be the ones in control of our government.

ugacpa02

June 12th, 2009
10:44 am

Bob’s right in that no taxpayer money should have been spent on this. I don’t mind the transition because apparently bandwidth constraints are being freed up that are going to emergency services, so that’s good. However no coupons or purchasing of airtime for public awarness ads should have been involved.

booger

June 12th, 2009
10:47 am

What is hard to believe is that with two years of warning, then Obama gave another six months, large numbers of people have not installed a converter box. I watched the news last night as community activist were canvassing a neighborhood in South Atlanta where 40% of the people were not prepared for the change.

In this area the activist had arranged free transportation to stores where the boxes could be purchased, had given everyone who asked a coupon for a free box, and still the day before the conversation 40% had done nothing. At this point the community workers were actually going into homes and connecting the boxes.

We have created a segment of society where absolutely no personal responsibility is required or expected. If I need it you should provide it, and please deliver it to my doorstep.

Michael H. Smith

June 12th, 2009
10:49 am

Anything our government does will spend (our) taxpayer money. Government can only confiscate wealth, our wealth, in order to pay for what it does or fails to do.

We the taxpaying consumers eventually pay for everything.

Chris

June 12th, 2009
10:50 am

You people are missing the point! The point of this article is not just digital television or light bulbs or toilets, it is the way the federal, state and local governments continue to pervade our daily lives. What business does the government have in controlling airwaves in the first place? Did they discover them? Did the gov’t invnet the TV? No, then by what right do they have to control them? What right does the gov’t have to tell me what height my grass must be? What right does the gov’t have in telling me what I can and cannot buy on a certain day of the week? What right does the gov’t have in telling me whom I can marry? These, and many more, are not the areas the gov’t should be involved in. The federal gov’ts only jobs are to regulate disputes between states and secure and defend our country. All other powers are regulated to the states and the people. Wake up people, wake up!

Justin

June 12th, 2009
10:56 am

Why is the federal government dictating how I watch TV? Truly asinine.

oldmac

June 12th, 2009
11:01 am

The changeover should have proceeded the free market fashion with the fastest stations to convert to digital having a competitive advantage (along with the digital set manufacturers.) The only reason they did it this way is so the so called “poor” didn’t get left behind. Heck, if I’m poor the last thing I need to be doing is watching TV. As for the $40 coupons, no one offered me any help when the market switched from Lp’s and Cassettes to Compact discs and I had to go buy one of them new-fangled CD players. It must suck being helpless.

JB

Noway

June 12th, 2009
11:05 am

Honestly…we have bigger fish to fry then Digital vs. Analog. I could care less about the analog waves when we the country is close to losing its AAA credit rating. We lose this folks we are screwed. We will become no better then the second world nations and will fall behind countries like China for god sake. US needs to STOP printing money and people in this country need to take ownership of their personal lifes and not rely on our government for every freaking hand out!!!

Michael H. Smith

June 12th, 2009
11:08 am

The federal gov’ts only jobs are to regulate disputes between states and secure and defend our country.

Some people have woke up (912′ers, Tea Party, etc.) and so have some States to challenge the unconstitutional Federal power grab.

Michael H. Smith

June 12th, 2009
11:17 am

Get ready Noway, Public healthcare the mother of all freaking hand outs is on its way and government will define what is your personal responsibility.

Eat that candy bar and it will cost you an extra $1,000 a year!

Add this public healthcare program cost to the $12.8 trillion our government has already spent, lent out or committed and that should finish off whatever remained of a AAA credit rating.

Don't Like Government? Move somewhere else!

June 12th, 2009
11:20 am

The “guvrmint” isn’t invading anyone’s life. This myth of the rugged individual “self-made” and all that b.s. is really boring. All of these people commenting as if they really wish, or believe we arte living in the Wild Wild West…Little House On The Prairie days is sad too.

But the thing that is saddest of all is that both these so-called individualist and Bob Barr are factually wrong about who is behind this mandate. Congress enacted the legislation sure, but it was the corporations that told them to do it!

So you see, Bob Barr’s lamentation about the lack of a market dictated such a change, based on cost-benefit analysis or consumer demand is laughable because as a former bribe-taker..er…Congressman, he knows full well that the rich and powerful dictate to the rule makers therefore there is no “free market”. It is only a myth fed to the gullible like those who call others stupid and dumb while continuing to let the rich and powerful screw working and middle class folks.

It’s class warfare and people like Bob Barr and many of the commenters here are the ones that are responsible. They continually vote in politicians that allow these corporations and rich people to run things and then they get upset the minute the country votes for anyone who wants to do anything for the people.

So, when you read these comments about the supposed wrongs done by the government, you know that you are reading the writings of a tool. These tools are the enemy of the very free market they claim to want.What they really want is to be patrons of the rich and of corporations. People working for the common good..they’re bad! People working to turn a profit for a very small few…we like them!!

Very. Sad. Enjoy the chaos that is coming with this switch over.

JD

June 12th, 2009
11:22 am

Bob Barr is such a loser…You think since Obama won he’d be happy to have his first black President. However, I guess he thought it should have been him….:D

Michael H. Smith

June 12th, 2009
11:23 am

If government can control what we watch on TV, what we read over the Internet, listen to on the radio and read in the print media, then we will become government controlled zombies.

Chris

June 12th, 2009
11:23 am

Michael Smith:

Only when We the People decide to vote these people out of office and stand up for our rights as citizens and when the general public realizes that there is no such thing as “the public good” or “public welfare”, only then will this country begin to exit the socialist fog we have been in since 1932.

Michael H. Smith

June 12th, 2009
11:29 am

Don’t Like Government? Move somewhere else!

Now that truly is boring. Our ruddy individualists founders found it more entertaining to stay put and move the government they didn’t like, somewhere else!

The Oddball

June 12th, 2009
11:29 am

Friends, a few simple points:

– The government regulates access to the airwaves because it is limited. You can only have so many broadcast signals in one area before they start interfering with each other. The “free market” would not prevent people from jamming or interfering with each others’ signals. Unless you want to see or hear two different stations simultaneously on each particular channel or radio frequency, this kind of government regulation is a good thing.

– The switch from analog to digital was mandated because it will allow many more broadcasters to fit into the available broadcast spectrum. That’s more private companies being given the right to broadcast. That’s more competition in the market. Again, unless you’re just a die-hard ideologue or an anarchist, this kind of government regulation is a good thing.

–The Oddball is also a little bemused by government funded support for converting obsolete televisions. But look at it this way: in all tyrannical states, the goal is to LIMIT the citizens’ access to private broadcast media, not expand it. So, while I question the use of taxpayer funds to pay for converter boxes, at least the policy is aimed in the right direction.

Anyone disagree?

sedimenjerry

June 12th, 2009
11:31 am

Usually I agree with you but good grief it’s 2009. Repairs to analog equpiment from 50 years ago is costly.
Besides, per channel Digital uses less bandwidth. This allows for more channels and higher quality (HD) signals.
Keeping analog would mean having to adapt Technology around that. All digital just makes it easier for higher quality TV.

Toni

June 12th, 2009
11:34 am

I haven’t had a television in years. Don’t miss it. I don’t however, think taxpayer funds should be used for this.

suwanee

June 12th, 2009
11:36 am

“If government can control what we watch on TV”

The government is NOT controlling what we watch on tv.

RD

June 12th, 2009
11:36 am

For all you commenting on how this post is “dumb”…you are missing Bob’s point – the government needs to let the free-market decide. That is the point of capitalism – but Washington bureaucrats (Repub and Democrat) think they have a better way, and want to FIX everything.

I agree with Bob Barr – this is just another case of government waste, which pales in comparison to the socialist moves from the current administration.

SC Ace

June 12th, 2009
11:42 am

The point is this. There was, to my knowledge, nothing prohibiting TV stations from choosing to go to a digital-only signal. If a station had wanted to do so, they could have. I think Barr chose this topic because it is timely and in the news and illustrates another example of government interference into matters in which it just isn’t needed (or permitted by the Constitution to tread). People don’t realize that the point of the Constitution is to proscribe what government can do, to provide boundaries it may not cross.

Barr’s second reason for this example is to show that this is the result of Republican government (the party that supposedly believes in limited government – I suppose that is true only when viewed in relation to the other party’s even greater urge to inflate the role of government).

My other question is this: When did television become a God-given right and basic necessity of life to begin with?

Michael H. Smith

June 12th, 2009
11:43 am

Uh… Chris you may have to go back a little further in time than 1932 in order to make that exit from such things of concern as the “public welfare”. Promoting the public welfare is actually mandated in the Constitution.

In fact, it is one of the reasons that appears in the preamble to the Constitution for having written the very document.

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, “promote the general welfare”, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

I would agree that there is a very big difference between “promoting the general welfare” and that of “generally providing welfare”.

Barry Blakely

June 12th, 2009
11:43 am

Some times it’s not what is good or bad for us, the question is really, should the government be making that choice for us? or even, should the government be taking control of American industries…the auto industry…the banking industry…or even the cigarette industry (as it did yesterday)?

Do any of you readers ever study socialism in school? Does anyone know how wonderful life is in countries under commusism? Bush did his share, and our present President doesn’t seem content to leave office in anything less than a totally socialistic state.

McGroots

June 12th, 2009
11:47 am

What business does the government have in controlling the airwaves?

Imagine what would happen if two or three or thirty stations (TV or Radio) all tried to broadcast their signals on the same frequency?

Life isn’t quite as simple as sound-bite politics makes it out to be.

Michael H. Smith

June 12th, 2009
11:49 am

The government is NOT controlling what we watch on tv.

Oh but of course not Suwanee, that’s why we have an FCC so they can’t regulate the public airwaves. :)

RD

June 12th, 2009
11:50 am

Well-stated Barry Blakely. Bush disappointed conservatives, but this current president has an agenda to “level” the playing field for all Americans – through socialist methods…..Lenin would be proud.

Michael H. Smith

June 12th, 2009
11:50 am

Barry Blakely, we agree.

Harry

June 12th, 2009
11:53 am

Bob Barr has never liked mandates!

When he was younger, we had a mandate called The Draft. Bob avoided that mandate.

His religion has a mandate against adultery, but Bob has ignored that mandate on several occasions too.

General gun safety has a mandate requiring the safety handling of pistols, but Bob almost shot a guest at his house. Accidently of course, he was just ignoring another mandate.

So, why is anything said by Rush, Newt, Cheney or Bob Barr worth printing or repeating on the TeeVee?

JP

June 12th, 2009
12:02 pm

The switch was made to free up the analog wave lengths for other uses, since there is only limited space. It was a smart move. But, sadly, my mother living in Oconee County can only get two channels on the digital signal now; she has too many trees in the yard for a satellite and cable does not run to her home.

Michael H. Smith

June 12th, 2009
12:13 pm

There you have made my one big objection to this digital transition, JP. It was poorly orchestrated and failed to included outlaying area’s. There are antennas available that do help, though, some means of relaying, boosting signals strengths to these outlaying area’s is needed. Digital TV offers a golden opportunity to provide a good number of needful things. One would be a greater focus in delivering educational broadcast 24/7 to every level of learning.

vdawg

June 12th, 2009
12:17 pm

There are some relevant facts missing in this article. The govt made the transition so that they could sell spectrum, there was an auction for this spectrum and it was sold. Some was retained for public use such as emergency responders. A portion of the money raised in the auction was used to pay for people to get tv converter boxes. The tax payer has actually made money on this deal. If you don’t want to buy a new tv, you get a converter box, no big deal. The quality and reception are much better on the new tv signals. It did not cost any consumer any money due to the converter box coupon and tv stations can now transmit more channels than before. There is a cost to tv stations though and I have not seen that quantified.
You have to live in a cave or be a complete idiot not to have heard about this. If you have not tv tomorrow, it is your fault.

Michael H. Smith

June 12th, 2009
12:30 pm

It did not cost any consumer any money due to the converter box coupon and tv stations can now transmit more channels than before. There is a cost to tv stations though and I have not seen that quantified.

PUHLEASE! Do you also believe corporations pay taxes? So where do these corporation get the money to pay those taxes if not from we taxpaying consumers who buy their products or services?

Who pays the costs for redeeming those converter box discount coupons?

Where does the money come from to make up the costs to these TV stations?

You have to live in a cave to believe that all the costs don’t eventually get paid by we the taxpaying-consumers.

Will we get our money’s worth? That remains debatable.

Mike Licht

June 12th, 2009
12:30 pm

The Digital TV transition is no trouble at all if your cables are correctly polarized. Go to Screen 47 of the DTV Converter Box On-Screen Installation Guide and use the resident GPS to correctly align your antenna for each channel, allowing for local ionospheric conditions, and ARRRGGGHH!

Technical reference:

http://notionscapital.wordpress.com/2009/06/12/tv-d-day-usa

Keith

June 12th, 2009
12:39 pm

The time has come for the Fed’s to get out of the media business. All television and radio stations should now own their licenses with no more government red tape about fairness, equal employment, minority broadcasters, etc.

Michael H. Smith

June 12th, 2009
12:43 pm

Yeah, ARRRGGGHH!

That means in some cases, where this applies, a costly rotary antenna, allowing for “good” local ionospheric conditions and low electrical noise in your area.

Digital signals need a relay network to boost their strengths in outlaying areas of less than opium conditions.

Al

June 12th, 2009
12:45 pm

The rest of the info about this conversion — it frees up a bandwidth on the spectrum that will be used, as I remember it, to allow other entrepreneurial uses, with some of it devoted to local police and other public protection uses. It also upgrades and modernizes broadcasting — converting to digital was inevitable, and it’s always cheaper when you do it earlier. No one could choose to upgrade, as long as all the equipment was incompatible with the upgrade.

Seems like a good decision to me, and reasonably well handled.

TMoney

June 12th, 2009
12:55 pm

I really don’t see this as a problem. The government mandated the switch-over for April, and then, when it appeared not enough people were prepared, they moved it to June. Almost all analog formats in current use were standardized between the 1940s and 1950s and have had to be adapted to the technological innovations since then. Initially offering only black and white images with monophonic sound, the formats have had to modified to broadcast in color, stereo sound, SAP, captioning, and other information all while being backwards compatible with televisions unable use the features. Additionally, engineers have had to implement these protocols within the limits of a set bandwidth and the tolerances of an inefficient analog format.

However during this time, the application and distribution of digital communications evolved and proved to be a superior means to distribute the same content. A Digital television transmission is more efficient, easily integrating other digital processes, for features completely unavailable or unimaginable with analog formats.

For the end-user, digital television has potential for resolutions and sound fidelity comparable with blu-ray home video and with digital multiplexing, it is also possible to offer subchannels, distinct simulcast programming, from the same broadcaster.

For government and industry, digital television reallocates the radio spectrum so that can be auctioned off by the government. In the subsequent auctions, Telecommunications industries can introduce new services and products in mobile telephony, wi-fi internet, and other nationwide telecommunications projects.

JF McNamara

June 12th, 2009
12:55 pm

There are only a few users of analog and we need the spectrum back for other uses. Someone has to control the spectrum otherwise none of our stuff will workdue to interference. That’s not intrusion. It’s sound thinking.

Secondly, I don’t think the TV companies were mad about no longer broadcasting analog. It was an old, costly, underused system.

Finally, they DID a cost benefit analysis and it said that there was low usage of analog and the spectrum would best be used elsewhere.

The goverment did citizens a huge favor by giving out those coupons. They could’ve just taken the spectrum back and told those on analog to kick rocks like industry normally does. That’s how the industry did with 8 tracks, cassette, tapes, VHS, and Beta. If you had one of those players, you were just out of luck because the cost benefit analysis said stop making them.

First time I’ve disagreed with you in a while, Mr. Barr, but this needed more thought.

TMoney

June 12th, 2009
12:58 pm

By the way, I’d like to thank Wikipedia for most of the content of my post.

Soulfinger

June 12th, 2009
1:00 pm

DTV transition…whats that?

TMoney

June 12th, 2009
1:03 pm

Soulfinger, DTV transition is the transition from an analog, over-air television signal to a digital-over-air television signal.

Michael H. Smith

June 12th, 2009
1:07 pm

I think your main argument Bob Barr….

With the Republicans and the Democrats, it’s just a matter of the degree of control; not whether to control.

…has been lost to the separate argument of DTV.

No doubt digital is better. More government control is worse.

CJ

June 12th, 2009
1:07 pm

You want government in your lives when it comes to building quality schools, roads, bridges, sewers, , FAA / air traffic control, military protection, police/fire/ambulance, and national parks, but the split second that government does something (anything) you disagree with, you bolt.

Unfortunately, since more Americans than not were never taught responsibility or common sense, it’s up to government to protect those of us who know better from those of you who don’t. Rules, regulations, and requirements are necessary to keep things going.

So… until we privitize all schools, all roads, the military, and so on – government must remain involved.

Brad Steel

June 12th, 2009
1:12 pm

Bob, lay off the free market kool-aid for while. rules and structure in the market -typically imposed by the government – have a legitimate and important function in free markets.

there are many examples of government rules and standards enhancing free markets and competition. as an example, it was Finland’s (Finland for god’s sake) government-mandated cell phone standards that gave Nokia its dominate role in the world’s cell phone market.

with better government assistance in the US’s telecom markets, maybe Nokia would be a US-based company.

Michael H. Smith

June 12th, 2009
1:15 pm

Government involved yes, in total control no. The founders got it right years ago on concentrated power. We have allowed two political parties to get it wrong by concentrating power in government. The only place power should ever be allowed to be concentrated rightly is in the hands of we the people.

David S

June 12th, 2009
1:20 pm

What is wrong with this country is clearly on display in most of the comments written here. There is such a clear lack of understanding of the workings of the free market that even the corruption of the bandwidth through government control is not even discussed. Bob is correct on this in that a truly free market would have moved to address the advancement of technology and the need for additional bandwidth is a manner that respected freedom, choice, and property rights. One need only look at a summary of the existing bandwidths and who controlls them to see that there is clearly no free market in wavelength usage nor any property rights either. As with so much of america, the federal government controls most of the airwaves.

Should we go digital? Was there an alternative approach? We will never know, but you who are all too ignorant – and don’t seem to want to change that situation – are all too willing to cede your rights and your freedom, so long as the picture quality of the big game is enhanced.

Yes, the situation is what it is today, with massive regulation and control. But until and unless we acknowledge this and speak out and vote against it, it will only increase in scope and power. Occasionally the government produces and end result that most agree with. A broken watch is also right twice a day. But the ends do not justify the means – ever – especially when the subjugation of freedom and property rights are concerned.

http://www.lewrockwell.com and http://www.mises.org if you are actually interested in getting educated about the free market and alternatives to subjugation.

Chris

June 12th, 2009
1:23 pm

Did you see how much that spectrum sold for? They could give a $40 coupon to everyone in the United States and still come out $8B ahead.

Chris Broe

June 12th, 2009
1:25 pm

Today’s Find 5 Puzzle: Find Five diff’s between any of Bob Barr’s blogs and any of Wooten’s. They’re both trying to find some sort of variation on the old anti-big government, off the big brother, I’m here to help the little guy against the MAN crap that belongs in the novel they ripped off the idea from. Anybody else sick of hacks? (1). Ex CIA. (2).Libertian Party. (3) Sellouts, one for politics, the other for the lost cause. (4) different barbers (5) aw, this bit stinks, too bad I can’t unclick this. If only there was some way to retrieve a hopeless bit…..maybe if the ajc switches to an all digital troll format.

Okay, palindromes. You can’t have a palindrome without it also being an anagram. Imagine a woman named margaret who is nick-named “Marg”…….then you get, “Marg, an anagram”. (both a palindrome and an anagram.) Well, it’s actually a palindrome with anagrams in it. Start with anagrams, and then you can write palindromes all day long, (if you’re blog-simple like me).

When I turned 36, I realized I had outlived Mozart (35). Now that I’m 58, I just realized that I’ve outlived Hitler. (56)

Political Truth: The USA went sour when America abandoned Curly. The 3 stooges in digital wont be nearly as funny. and who want’s to see Aunt Bea in 1080p?

I had my first blind date in thirty years. We went to a movie. The movie was terrible, and my date blamed me. “Take me home”, she blurted in the car, “The 3 camera technique in the second reel was totally out of sync with the dramatic tension that was supposed to be there but wasn’t. How does that director get any money at all? Take….me….home”

But what about dinner?

“Sure, I’m still having dinner with you, sure… You’re still talking? Drive…me…home.”

Another problem with blind dates: Notice how woman who belly-ache about their biological clock never have an hour-glass figure? This woman wore those old shoulder-paddings underneath her blouse, like she hadn’t bought any clothes since 1986. Remember the shoulder pads in woman’s clothes? What look was she going for? Overweight usher? When I first rang her doorbell, she answered the door holding a flashlight and showed me to my seat in her living room. It’s been so long since I’ve seen shoulder pads that at first I thought she worked out, and was buff, and then I made the logical leap that she could probably kill her own spiders, being such a badass and all, but of course five minutes didn’t go by before she screamed and I had to rush into her bathroom and newspaper-swat a brown recluse.

It’s been 90 days since my wife died, and I miss the lipstick on the straw at the movies. (We used to share a coke to save money).

2Bcontinued……………………..

FinanceBuzz

June 12th, 2009
1:54 pm

Bob is leaving out a key part in his criticism of the government-issued coupons for converter boxes. The spectrum currently being occupied by analog television broadcasts was auctioned off to wireless communications providers for BILLIONS in license revenue. In reality, they are not funding this with tax dollars, as it is more than offset by the license revenue.

As for this being a government mandate, I am not a fan of such moves by government. However, spectrum is a limited resource and there is a great market demand for wireless communications services. The analog spectrum is being repurposed for this use. Because the use of RF spectrum cannot be a “wild west” if it is to work, there must be a “referee” to assure that this limited resource is allocated fairly. To compare it to toilets in your home is completely inaccurate. Had there not been some impetus for this transition, we would still be broadcasting television on antiquated technology while impeding the growth of very highly demanded wireless communcations for years to come.

Bob is off base on this one.

Michael H. Smith

June 12th, 2009
1:57 pm

Did you see how much that spectrum sold for? They could give a $40 coupon to everyone in the United States and still come out $8B ahead.

Okay, who paid that $8 billion that we supposedly came out ahead on this coupon deal? The TV stations, Broadcasters and where will they get that $8 billion to pay the fees for that purchased spectrum?

Eventually we the taxpaying consumers pay for everything and we don’t usually come out ahead on the money making end of the deals. :(

technologist

June 12th, 2009
1:57 pm

“The government reaped $19.6 billion last year by selling some of the freed-up frequencies.” (Source: WSB-TV and the Associated Press) Spend $3 billion, make $20 billion. This switch is netting the taxpayer 7 dollars for every one spent on converters.

Michael H. Smith

June 12th, 2009
2:03 pm

The converter boxes are one small part of the total price we’ll pay. The so-called $20 billion made will come from where? From our pockets when we buy the products or services the broadcasters advertise.

blogenfreude

June 12th, 2009
2:22 pm

Mandrake, have you ever seen a Commie drink a glass of water?

GaLiberal

June 12th, 2009
4:03 pm

Bob “Impeachment” Barr continues to spew his ignorance to any place that will print his tripe. First, this transition was set up long before 2005 when broadcasters wanted to use better quality equipment but were limited to the analog bandwidth. So they got a law passed that reallocated the broadcast spectrum so they would get a big chunk of the higher bandwidth for increased content and quality. The old analog bandwidth would go to emergency services who were restricted into a few frequencies that were now overloaded. So what if people had to buy a new TV or some converter box. The $40 was a compromise between the Republicans wanting to doing nothing (no surprise there) and the Democrats giving them away to the poor and elderly. I don’t really understand the whole point of Barr’s screed except to whip up some anti-government hysteria. Which in Georgia, were going backward is viewed as progress, that’s a no brainer.

fc jackson

June 12th, 2009
4:13 pm

“The old analog bandwidth would go to emergency services who were restricted into a few frequencies that were now overloaded. So what if people had to buy a new TV or some converter box. The $40 was a compromise between the Republicans wanting to doing nothing (no surprise there) and the Democrats giving them away to the poor and elderly. I don’t really understand the whole point of Barr’s screed except to whip up some anti-government hysteria. Which in Georgia, were going backward is viewed as progress, that’s a no brainer.”

1. Why not give the emergency bands in such “need” of improvement the digital, better, broadcasting waves, if it is infact for public safety?
2. If its no problem to just buy a converter box, buy me one.
3. With the SSI Ponzi scheme and 2 wars draining the US treasury, not to mention TARP, why should I pay for instant rebates?
4. History judges society on the treatment of the elderly, underage, and disabled(amongst other factors).
5.(and most important) IF YOU DON’T LKE THE GREAT STATE OF GEORGIA, DELTA FLIES WORLDWIDE. GREYHOUND DRIVES CROSS-COUNTRY. I’LL BUY YOU A COKE ON YOUR WAY OUT OF TOWN.

Michael H. Smith

June 12th, 2009
4:29 pm

The government didn’t give anything to anybody. The government confiscates and redistributes. Under Obumer and the Democrats now in control “our government” the Federal government will do alot more of both and use the poor, the elderly, even those in the so-called middle as an excuse to grab more power and control over everything while the Republicans stand in jealous envy.

Next great Obumer government power grab: Healthcare.

Casey

June 12th, 2009
5:35 pm

This is no different than if the government were to mandate a change on what system of measurement was put on traffic signs. The content is the same, you’re just getting upset over something trivial. Government is no more intrusive because of this than they were before.

Obama, Even WORSE than Bush....

June 12th, 2009
6:56 pm

Mr. Barr, you are, unfortunately, way more correct about the two parties true location on the political spectrum than most of us would like you to be. The Republican Party should change its name to “The LIBERAL/SOCIALIST Party” with its propensity to issue numerous government mandates and borrow and spend money we don’t have (No Child Left Behind, Digital Switchover, Bank Bailouts, etc.) and the Democrat Party should change its name to the “COMMUNIST Party” with its extreme desire to tax (and borrow and spend even more!) the American Economy out of existance (cap and trade, fuel taxes, government-mandated health care, etc). While Bush and the RepubliCONS lowered taxes and raised spending (and borrowing) to unseen before levels creating huge deficits, Obama and the Democraps are ratcheting up government controls, intrusion and spending to UNIMAGINABLE levels (unless you’re in China or the old U.S.S.R.) never meeting a TAX that they didn’t want to impose on the already tapped out U.S. Economy, making Bush look like a thrifty penny-pinching libertarian, which he was NOT by any means. If you recall, it was government control and lack of CAPITAL and FREE MARKET activity which led to the downfall of the Soviet Union. The Soviets had no free market to generate tax revenue so they in effect went bankrupt. Obama and the ‘Craps are adding that philsophy to massive amounts of borrowing and printing money (which will lead to massive inflation) to lead us down the same, if not a worse, road. Is it too early for a PRESIDENTIAL RECALL?

the evil rich

June 12th, 2009
7:51 pm

Big deal, the outrage should be the delay in implementing this!

GodHatesTrash, Superstar

June 14th, 2009
9:59 am

Bob, you could take the shields off an arc welder and ruin radio and TV reception for a couple of square miles. I could put together a 10,000 watt white-noise transmitter that would make TV and radio reception impossible for the city of Atlanta and the ‘burbs for around $150K. But the FCC won’t let me do that though, without fining the hell out of me, and if I do it again, putting me in jail. Where’s the freedom in that?

It’s always funny to me to hear the neo-cons on TV and radio hating on gummint, when it is the electro-magnetic spectrum – the most government-regulated part of our lives – that makes their broadcasts possible.

They raised the capacity of the airwaves for data and information transmission a million-fold or more by going to digital, and raised some $ doing it. Good.

Eric (other)

June 14th, 2009
1:04 pm

Fine article once again, Mr. Barr! I completely agree with your observations. Thanks.

Chris Broe

June 16th, 2009
12:05 pm

Bob Barr is….RIGHT!! The problem is arbitrary government legislation: The congress passed the 1.6 gallon per flush law in 1988. This was the year that Charmins introduced the triple roll, and Kellogs started putting two scoops of raisins in their bran. 1988 is when baby boomers became convinced enmasse of the importance of fiber in the diet.

I cant use no toy commode. I need miles of pipes, teams of plumbers working around the clock at the teamster level in New Jersey, huge underground caverns, and a good flash flood once in a while!!!

this bit will turbo flush in five seconds…..

quailboy

June 21st, 2009
11:33 am

I live in a rural area and used to get a whopping 7 channels! I bought a “converter” at my expense with a discount coupon. I had to get a new antenna at my expense and now I get a whopping no, notta, none stations. Oh someone forgot to tell me that the signal of the new age isn’t as powerful as the old one, just great. Thank God I didn’t go out and purchase a digital television for several thousand dollars!!