Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Coming Soon to the Taxpayers' Tab: Free WiFi for Welfare Recipients?

We realize the list of "things Sacramento should stop spending money on before it asks for higher taxes" is getting very long, but Cal Watchdog reports on something that might soon need to be added to it. Apparently Long Beach state Senator Alan Lowenthal is pushing a continuing resolution that, if approved, will guarantee free wireless internet service for residents of state affordable housing for at least ten years.

The future of welfare?

If Lowenthal weren't a politician, it would be hard to fathom the sheer stupidity at work behind the resolution. His bill claims that the Internet "strengthens communities, opens new markets for business, offers new workforce development opportunities, and inspires individuals towards entrepreneurship." Yet, "only 48 percent of Californians who are renters have a broadband subscription in their home and of the 35 percent of Americans who do not have broadband service in the home, 36 percent cite cost as the primary reason, making this barrier the most common reason." Leaving aside the fact that taxpayers already pay for a public service that provides Internet access for free (you might know it as the library), we're not sure how it helps the people who can't or won't pay for broadband to, you know, tax them to pay for someone else's services. We think the first assumption is pretty dubious as well: the people using the web to research business and job opportunities are probably not the ones who need free WiFi; the people who need free WiFi are probably the ones who will spend most of their online time streaming porn or playing Farmville.

It's just another reminder, if you needed one, of why everyone except taxpayers thinks life is beautiful in California. The goal in Sacramento is to make dependence on the government as agreeable as possible, on the assumption that someone else will put up with footing the bill.

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