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Superhighways and Schools

February 27, 2014

Common Dreams posted an essay by Sam Pizzigati titled “The Mess on our Information Superhighway” contrasting the development of the internet access with access to interstate highways. The essay notes that while Americans have generally unfettered access to the publicly controlled interstate highway system,

Americans currently pay much more for Internet than just about everybody else in the developed world. Other countries have established fast, cheap Internet access as a given of modern life. In the United States, we surf the Net at Model-T speeds — and tens of millions of Americans still have no broadband access at all.

The pending merger between Comcast and Time Warner will do nothing to change this and may well make it even worse… and while he didn’t mention it there is more and more buzz about the idea of privatizing highways as a means of avoiding the tax increases that will inevitably be needed to keep the interstate highway system in good repair.

In the comment section, I added this observation:

The battle for public control of a public good is underway in education as well… the USDOE, who should be advocating for public education, has required the administration of standardized tests that “prove” public schools are “failing”and encouraged private for-profit schools operated by wealthy “reformers” take their place… this corporate takeover of public education is cheered on by the mainstream media and politicians of both parties, both of whom are underwritten or controlled by the plutocratic “reformers”…

As noted frequently in this blog, the erosion of trust in the government and the accompanying desire to limit taxes and regulations, first articulated an a national stage by Ronald Reagan, needs to be reversed in order to restore public control of services like roads and to provide public funding for baseline services like internet access. Sadly neither political party has expressed support for public control of services and neither has been honest about the need for tax revenues to fund these services… and this is true at all levels of government. At the same time, faith in the private sector to provide these same services at a lower cost is undiminished despite the lack of evidence that this is true.

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