Friday, November 21, 2014

Net Neutrality

I.e., ensuring the Internet continues as an independent news outlet and forum for resistance, instead of being sold off to the highest bidder as FCC Chair Tom Wheeler, a former cable company lobbyist and venture Capitalist, has been trying to do, seems more likely now, according to this blog post at AcronymTV. But after the president made his important statement recently in support of Net Neutrality, the Obama-appointed Wheeler delayed a final FCC decision on Net Neutrality so he can regroup his corporate allies.

After his statement, Obama distanced himself from the controversy by asserting that the FCC is an independent agency and he has no control over it. But he does have the authority to fire Tom Wheeler and replace him as chair with one of the less corporation friendly commissioners, AcronymTV says.

"Good" Jobs

Contrary to conventional wisdom, and to what I thought, manufacturing jobs pay less than many other kinds of jobs now. Most start at less than $10 an hour. The weakening of unions is no doubt one reason. The increasing use of temporary workers, "temps", is another, a union-commissioned study that focuses on the auto industry shows.

Temporary workers, supplied by "staffing" or "temp" agencies, are heavily used in the auto parts factories that supply the components assembled at auto plants into cars and pickups, and are increasingly being used at auto company assembly plants, especially in the South where state and local overnments have given companies huge concessions to locate, often requiring them to pay no taxes whatsoever. Temps make on average 29 percent less than a regular employee and have no benefits (workman's comp, unemployment insurance, sick days, etc) and of course no retirement of any type.

Governments' not holding employers who are given sweetheart deals accountable for coming through with the good jobs promised is a big part of the problem, the study shows.

New Mexico's legislature a couple years back voted to lower corporate income taxes. The idea was that other states had lowered theirs, so to attract jobs we must also. This scenario is sometimes called the "race to the bottom."

New Mexico is also putting a lot of money and effort into business incubator programs, such as a much ballyhooed "public-private partnership" at the University of New Mexico. These incubator programs essentially consist of giving our tax dollars away to help companies get started. But there's nothing requiring the companies to provide decent paying jobs or from hiring "temp" workers, and as we've learned the hard way, to prevent a business that gets started this way from moving out of the state once it's become profitable.

As I've railed about before, in this UNM program we're funding research that can then be patented, i.e. privatized. No other professors can learn from it or teach it to their students. If it's not shared, it can't be built upon or inspire new research. It basically puts an end to the process that has advanced civilization for centuries. The only ones who will benefit now are the stockholders of the companies we'll help get started.

The same goes for private space flight.

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