Will Rogers on “trickle up” economics

Will Rogers quote
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Will Rogers quote

Posted July 28, 2012 on Political Memes

There’s a meme floating around Facebook this week. It features this “trickle up” economics quote from Will Rogers:

The money was all appropriated for the top in the hopes that it would trickle down to the needy. Mr. Hoover didn’t know that money trickled up. Give it to the people at the bottom and the people at the top will have it before night, anyhow. But it will at least have passed through the poor fellows hands (earliest source I’ve found, March 22, 2012).

The meme isn’t new (it’s been around almost three years, at least) but the quote is mostly accurate (it’s missing ellipses). However, important context is also missing, context that places this observation slap dab in the middle of the Great Depression (to talk like Will Rogers, just a little bit).

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Obama endorses net neutrality

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 Obama’s decision to wade into the net neutrality debate highlights how politicians can no longer simply avoid telecom, broadcast, and Internet issues by claiming that the matter is solely for regulators to determine. Policy issues such as net neutrality and Internet regulation have profound importance for millions and we should not be content to leave the issue exclusively to unelected regulators (no matter transparent their processes).
~ Michael Geist, 11 November 2014

 

Network Neutrality comments due Monday {!important}

netflix chart
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Internet Slowdown


Coalition to support network neutrality sponsored an Internet slowdown day.

Update: My letter to the FCC

You may have noticed a spinning-wheel-of-death atop your browser last week while visiting Etsy, Kickstarter, Netflix, Reddit, Tumbler or any number of sites around the Internet.

The web site owners were raising awareness of something known as network neutrality (which should really be called network discrimination). Comments on an FCC proposal to regulate how website and email traffic moves around the Internet within the United States are due Monday.

Of course, what’s at stake is a buttload of money.

No surprise, then, that companies selling the equipment that shuffles bits around the Net are in favor of network discrimination. It means new equipment sales for them.

 

Why you should care

Think about telephone calls for a moment. The telephone network does not discriminate between carriers. In other words, if you are an AT&T customer and you have an incoming call from Verizon, the AT&T network has to treat the call exactly as it would if it were an internal network call. I’m not talking about pricing, I’m talking about call quality.

As an Internet consumer, you pay a provider to connect your phone, table and computer to the Net. Your Internet provider should not be able to “privilege” content (bits) from sites that it owns or “discriminate” content (bits) from sites that its competitor owns. After all, those competitors are paying their providers based on bit volume.

You’re paying to get content.

Companies are paying to send content.

Your provider should not be able to demand a toll for its competitors just so that you can receive the content you have already paid to receive.

Real world example: “television.”

Comcast owns 100% of NBCUniversal, effective last year.

Comcast provided Internet connectivity to 21 million American households at the end of 2013.

Why might Comcast want to discriminate against Netflix traffic?

Because, grasshopper, Netflix watching eats into their viewership which in turn reduces their television business advertising revenue. Comcast lost about 300,000 pay-TV subscribers in 2013.

PayTV Market Share

So is it any surprise that Comcast “discriminated” against Netflix traffic (bits) in 2013? And reversed itself when Netflix agreed to pay an additional toll to ensure its bits got delivered in a timely fashion? From the Washington Post in April:

Netflix and net neutrality

From the Washington Post

Comedian John Oliver explains:

Flawed regulatory framework

We would not be having this conversation if Internet connectivity (infrastructure) were owned separately from Internet content sites.

That’s how Europe manages it mobile telephony, for example. The companies that sell phone service are not the same companies that own and manage the cell towers. No vertical integration. It means Europeans pay less for more when it comes to cell data.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that in the US, we pay more for less broadband than other countries around the world.

Global connectivity

Act now!

Critics (I’m one) believe the that FCC proposal would create a two-tiered Internet and thus should be rejected.

Even though current system is broken, the current FCC proposal won’t fix it. The courts have said that the FCC can’t fix it because it does not have the authority to regulate network neutrality. Only Congress can fix the system by regulating Internet access like the utility (phones, water, natural gas) that it is.

But the FCC needs to hear from as many people as possible in order to put pressure on Congress (and the White House). The comment period has been extended three times: from July 15 first to July 18 then September 10 and now to September 15. We can’t count on its being extended again.

So write the FCC (you can use openinternet@fcc.gov if the comment form for proceeding 14-28 is broken but be sure to include in your email, your full name, and address and the proceeding number) and insist the the Net to be regulated like a utility. Demand no two-tier system.

Then call your Senators and Representatives and bend their ears, too.

Reference

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