Search This Blog

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

USF as Peter, FCC as Paul

If you're like me, you can't bring yourself to read the 120-page FCC FY2016 budget request, nor even the 20-page Budget in Brief.  (Here's a good rule of thumb: if you can call 20 pages "brief," you've been inside the Beltway too long.)  But I did read Chairman Pai's recent testimony about it, because he's getting reliably hostile, and I love a good rant.  Plus, he uses bold text and bullet points, so I can easily skim over parts that don't interest me.

But I found one part that does interest me: the FCC wants to transfer $25 million from the USF to the FCC.  Oh, hell no:
  1. This is a step closer to the old Joe "Bleed It Dry" Barton plan to kill the E-Rate by moving it into the Treasury and giving it the Death of a Thousand Paper Cuts.  The USF should not be paying the salary of any government employees.
  2. The FCC wants to use the money to fund more investigations.  I can say with considerable confidence that no one in the applicant community feels that what this program needs is more investigations.  
  3. The FCC can make the USF as large as it wants with no Congressional approval.  If it gains the ability to fund itself from the USF....
So I'm with Commissioner Pai on this one.  I just can't get behind taking money from program beneficiaries and gives it to government employees to investigate beneficiaries.  It feels good to be agreeing with Commissioner Pai; it feels like lately I haven't had anything good to say about his ideas.  I'm not even going to put a Pai pun in the title.

One positive note: the request says $10 million will go towards the creation of  a "Joint USF Anti-Fraud Task Force."  I hope that means the Chairman has finally given up on the "Strike Force" rhetoric.

But instead of spending $10 million on a new Task Force, how about just implementing a few more of the recommendations from the 2003 Task Force?

No comments:

Post a Comment