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State Senator Admits Cable Industry Helped Write Pro-Industry Legislation 426

Posted by Soulskill
from the at-least-he's-honest dept.
jamie sends in news of comments by David Hoyle, a State Senator in North Carolina, about recently defeated legislation he sponsored that would have limited the ability of government to develop municipal broadband. Hoyle readily admitted that the cable industry had a hand in writing the bill. We discussed the cable industry's extensive lobbying efforts in that region last year. From the article: "The veteran state senator says cities should leave broadband to the cable companies. 'It's not fair for any government unit to compete with private enterprise,' he says. In the last legislative session Sen. Hoyle tried to put a moratorium on any more local governments expanding into municipal broadband. When the I-Team asked him if the cable industry drew up the bill, Senator Hoyle responded, 'Yes, along with my help.' When asked about criticism that he was 'carrying water' for the cable companies, Hoyle replied, 'I've carried more water than Gunga Din for the business community — the people who pay the taxes.'"
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State Senator Admits Cable Industry Helped Write Pro-Industry Legislation

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:04PM (#33395296)

    The veteran state senator says cities should leave broadband to the cable companies. 'It's not fair for any government unit to compete with private enterprise,' he says.

    Yeah, just look at how the Post Office drove UPS and FedEx out of business.

  • Who pays taxes? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:05PM (#33395308)

    'I've carried more water than Gunga Din for the business community -- the people who pay the taxes.'"

    So much for the idea, hugely popular with the 'business community,' that taxes are always just passed through to the consumer.
    I guess he must be a democrat, right?

    PS - it isn't this David Hoyle [wikimedia.org] in case anyone else was wondering...

  • Competition (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:06PM (#33395320)

    Cable companies should not be allowed to have a monopoly on anything. If you ever think that it's a good idea, look at the mess we have in Canada. There's only a handful of companies, none of them competing with the others. They all have their own territories, just like organized crime.

  • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@ ... a - h u dson.com> on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:08PM (#33395352) Journal

    Hoyle replied, 'I've carried more water than Gunga Din for the business community -- the people who pay the taxes.'"

    Business can only pay tax on income from spending. Consumer spending is direct from citizens. Government spending is indirectly from citizens.

    This guy needs to be reminded as to who pays his pay-check - especially since business pays proportionately a lot LESS tax than they did a generation ago, and the soon-to-disappear middle class a lot more!

  • by DaHat (247651) on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:12PM (#33395408) Homepage

    David Hoyle is... a Democrat [state.nc.us]

    Somehow I suspect that if he was a Republican that would have been mentioned once or twice in the /. Story.

  • FTFY (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:12PM (#33395414)
    "I've carried more water than Gunga Din for the business community — the people who pay for my reelection campaign."
  • by boristdog (133725) on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:14PM (#33395450)

    I'll give him +1 for honesty, but -10 for jackassery.

  • Re:Who pays taxes? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:15PM (#33395458)

    'I've carried more water than Gunga Din for the business community -- the people who pay the taxes.'"

    So much for the idea, hugely popular with the 'business community,' that taxes are always just passed through to the consumer.
    I guess he must be a democrat, right?

    PS - it isn't this David Hoyle [wikimedia.org] in case anyone else was wondering...

    Translation: I am bought and paid for so screw you.

  • Contradiction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ukab the Great (87152) on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:16PM (#33395470)

    Whenever there's a discussion about privatizing municipal services, private industry's selling point is always that they can do a far better job than government because government is so inept and inefficient.

    If this is indeed the case, then shouldn't a municipal broadband should be no threat at all to private industry, and therefore there should be nothing at all for them to worry about.

  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:16PM (#33395478) Homepage

    Only one problem: most municipalities contemplating running their own broadband Internet service are doing it precisely because the cable and phone companies aren't providing the service. It's time to stop thinking about Internet access as a service and start thinking about it as a utility, with the changes in mindset that implies (eg. you don't want parts of your city to be without water or electricity just because the utility companies think it won't be cost-effective to serve them).

  • by blair1q (305137) on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:23PM (#33395566) Journal

    Politicians serve the money.

    America has died.

    You probably voted for it, too.

  • Re:Who pays taxes? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SpaceLifeForm (228190) on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:23PM (#33395570)

    Does not matter if Republican or Democrat, he is an
    idiot. A corrupted brain, he needs to be removed from office.

  • by GungaDan (195739) on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:23PM (#33395576) Homepage

    This is not a mystery: the corporations fund the election ads for the parasite class that makes our laws. Problem is that the modern Democratic party has now shown us quite convincingly that even when campaigns are funded mostly by small individual citizen donations, they still rule for the benefit of corporations once they get into office (I'm looking squarely at you, Mr. Obama - you fucking disgrace). It's a win/win for business and a no-win for citizens. The only solution is to take money out of elections entirely by mandating public financing for all elections and forbidding any private money at all to be used in campaigning.

  • Re:Who pays taxes? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by icebike (68054) on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:24PM (#33395596)

    He quite possibly believes that businesses actually do pay taxes.

    But more likely he probably understands he would get no bribes or campaign contributions from cities.

    As to the issue at hand

    I'm not convinced that community broadband wouldn't turn into an unmaintainable wasteland of governmental mismanagement, but I'd be willing to give it a try.

    It would be great to have it around as a price anchor, to keep the big providers honest, but with no monopoly mandate.

    If nothing else we would have worst case pricing data of how much it really costs to run such a system on a city wide scale, something we never get from the big boys.

    In much of the US, you have very little choice in broadband providers. Who ever wired your neighborhood pretty much owns you.

  • by MrHyd3 (19709) on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:29PM (#33395654) Homepage

    As a business owner, I can say, in the end, companies don't "pay" taxes, we just raise our rates and make the consumer pay it. That's how it works. So every time, the GOV passes a stupid law or regulation, a company has to raise their rates to compensate the hiring of someone to manage the new law, equipment, new rules to abide, paperwork, etc for the hike.

    In the end, consumer is always the one that's screwed. So to you people who FEEL good when you hear politicians talking about taxing, regulating businesses - YOU pay more. How does taxing a business help any individual? It doesn't....typical class warfare tactic and ignorant emotional people who put politicians there.

    This applies to all political parties...

  • Yay for Shills! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:34PM (#33395722) Journal

    , 'I've carried more water than Gunga Din for the business community -- the people who pay the taxes.'"

    Translation: I get lots of great kickbacks from these guys, so fuck you, consumer!!!!

    Hopefully his constituents aren't asleep and give him the appropriate treatment when his name shows up on the ballot. Business may pay the taxes, but it's the voter that gets to mark the ballot.

  • by tekrat (242117) on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:36PM (#33395732) Homepage Journal

    I've given up with "Party affiliation" as if *that* matters anymore. They are all crooks, regardless of which side they claim to be on. There is only one "side" in Washington DC, the side that represents yourself, and how much you can take from the country.

    There's no politician actually representing "the people", without fail, all these guys are elite, wealthy, went-to-the-right-school, skull and bones club, lawyers or businessmen who only wanted to get elected so they could become part of the corruption process.

    And they will do or say whatever it takes to "get in", they will promise you the world, hawk wedge issues, and destroy their opponent, all so that they can get in and take as much of the pie as they can get their hands on. It's all a power game.

    None of it is about doing anything for the American People.

  • Re:Contradiction (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 0123456 (636235) on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:36PM (#33395746)

    If this is indeed the case, then shouldn't a municipal broadband should be no threat at all to private industry, and therefore there should be nothing at all for them to worry about.

    Except the govermnent-run system can run at a loss forever and drive the competition out of the market. You really don't think that free government broadband might be a slight problem if you're trying to sell broadband access to people?

  • by Kristian T. (3958) on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:37PM (#33395754)

    This senator for some reason seems to have forgotten that the sole reason privately owned services are often preferable to public ones is competition. In every instance that I've seen, a private monopoly is always a disaster. Given that private telco's stop at nothing to avoid competing - a public monopoly is the lesser evil. Free market fans like this guy should spend their energy ensuring that private industry keeps competing rather that trying to raise legal fences around markets that are no longer free because they have degenerated into monopolies. Granted there are many telco's - but if it's anything like here (in Denmark), their broadband cable networks are meticulously dug into the ground without any overlap at all, efectively leaving each customer without any choice. And when a municipal broadband appears - the previous local monopoly is always suddenly able to sell a much better product.

  • by rbrander (73222) on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:38PM (#33395774) Homepage

    As Kurt Vonnegut once put it, the real two parties in the USA are "Winners" and "Losers".

    Ralph Nader would be your classic Loser. Stands always for a set of principles, never wins a thing. Ron Paul also very principled, despite having won at one level, despite having a crowd of fanatics that love his every utterance ("Nader's Raiders" could probably exchange some notes with them) has no better chance at a presidential run than Nader, and so is another Loser.

    The "rightward shift" of recent decades has basically been both parties wanting to be Winners, because corporate lobbying, corporate personnel going through revolving-doors into government and vice-versa, and regulatory capture of government agencies like the FCC and the MMS, and other forms of influence, have clarified for them all that anti-corporate laws and regulations will make you a Loser.

    Why nobody ever seems to do a kamikaze political career, a one-term deal where he does all the damage to the system he can and goes back to his law practice, mystifies me. Unless that's what Alan Grayson's plan is. (No plan is actually visible at present.)

    So both parties now claim to champion the Regular Little Guy while emphatically not doing so. The only difference I can spot is that Republicans openly claim that What's Good For Business IS Good For Everybody, and Democrats claim to be restraining business while putting only the most superficial and ineffective limits and controls on them, for show.

    Please, I'm not taking sides on that. It's possible that letting telecoms do anything they want with the airwaves and internet is a good thing, letting Wall Street make any deals is wants is a good thing, letting oil companies drill and frac anywhere they want (not "frack", that would be obscene) is a good thing. I'm just saying that one party says that and does it, the other ALSO does it while saying something different.

    It's getting ever-harder to stand for Party rather than principles, and much of Mr. Paul's appeal is he actually does so, breaking with is party, diametrically, and often. I happen to think his principles are frequently batshit crazy, but hey, I'm Canadian and can safely be dismissed from Serious Discussion.

  • Re:Wohoo! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by timeOday (582209) on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:39PM (#33395796)
    Just don't fall behind on your protection money!

    Stories like this remind us that representative democracy (a form of government), isn't particularly tied to capitalism (an economic system). In fact, the pairing is counter-intuitive and occurred only relatively recently in history. Honestly, what self-respecting captain of industry believes they should share political power equally with the underclass! Even the authors of the Constitution lacked [history.org] this vision; "in the eighteenth century, the right to cast a vote belonged largely to white, male property holders. Even John Adams, in 1776, opposed broadening the franchise." So, it is only something that has come about over time.

    The type of government most similar to capitalism is not democracy but plutocracy, since that's what private companies are. It turns out that democracy and capitalism, though conflicted in some ways, are a very powerful combination. But if we neglect to uphold the separations between them, democracy will be lost.

  • by TheFlamingoKing (603674) on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:42PM (#33395832)

    It's "self-sufficient" in the sense that they do not get direct taxpayer dollars to pay for operation like other departments. It is not "self-sufficient" in the sense that it runs at a massive deficit and has to borrow money from the US Treasury like crazy to stay afloat. For the last 3 years, the post office has borrowed the maximum $3B from the Treasury, and is expected to lose $238B in the next 10 years.

  • Re:Who pays taxes? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tthomas48 (180798) on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:43PM (#33395834) Homepage

    I like the fact that you're making this into a partisan issue, rather than pointing out that he's completely out of touch with who pays taxes in his state. According to this website (http://www.taxfoundation.org/research/topic/47.html) while corporations may pay a lot in North Carolina, individuals are taxed at some of the highest rates in the US.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:46PM (#33395888)

    Only individuals pay taxes. All business pass on the *expense* of taxes to the consumers.
    No business ever paid a single dime in taxes that wasn't paid for by a consumer.

  • Re:O RLY? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tthomas48 (180798) on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:47PM (#33395902) Homepage

    Yeah that would be awesome, governments would get a one-time fee. Then they would have to bail out the industries when it became clear that the reason they were public in the first place was that they couldn't make a profit, or that they still had to provide only the unprofitable part of the service. It would be a win-win for taxpayers who bought privatized government entities!

    Of course, lose-lose for everyone else.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:48PM (#33395908)

    No matter how you slice it, taxes are money taken out of private hands by the government. As such, private citizens are the ones who ultimately pay those taxes. If you tax a company, well that tax is then a part of their cost and will be structured in as such. It will manifest as increased prices, decreased compensation, etc. If you don't tax the company but instead tax the purchase, again it shows as a higher price to the consumer. Maybe it is listed on a separate line, but the consumer still pays. If you don't tax that at all but instead tax a person's income, then they just have less to spend, and lower prices are a larger part of their total disposable income.

    There just isn't any way around it. So trying to say something like "Businesses pay the taxes," is stupid even were it true (which as you pointed out it isn't). Businesses are made up of, and shopped at by, regular people. Those people are the ones who pay the taxes in the end. Now there's nothing wrong with that, the government needs to collect taxes to provide the services we want, but let's be straight about who's paying.

  • by DarthBender (1071972) on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:54PM (#33395972)
    Where is the 'Democrats' tag? Where is the party affiliation in the summary? And where is the donkey icon? If he was a Republican can anyone here seriously say that there would not be a 'Republicans' tag, the word 'republican' in the summary and the elephant icon?
  • Re:O RLY? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 0123456 (636235) on Friday August 27, 2010 @03:01PM (#33396084)

    If you want to annoy a right winger, ask them why we don't privatize the military. They'll go on at length about all the horrible things government does, and how much better it would be if they didn't---except for the military.

    How strange. When I ask American right-wingers I know why they don't privatise the miltiary they go on at length about how the founders never wanted a standing army and the whole thing should be shut down and replaced with a citizen's militia.

    Perhaps you're confusing right-wingers with Republicans, who mostly seem to be just a different brand of socialist.

  • Re:O RLY? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Friday August 27, 2010 @03:15PM (#33396314) Homepage Journal

    anyone that calls anything about our government "socialist" is simply a troll whose opinion means nuts.

    We live in the most pro-corporate state in world history. It doesn't matter which "side" is in control of the U.S. government... whoever is in charge is on some lever a corporatist right now. Socialism is a buzzword to whip shallow thinking people into and uproar.

  • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Friday August 27, 2010 @03:16PM (#33396338) Journal

    I don't think it actually works that way. In reality, businesses have many different expenses, payroll, taxes, inventory, and so on. The prices of the products and services they sell will certainly not be any less than the costs they incur. But how meaningful is it to say, "No business ever paid a single dime in taxes that wasn't paid for by a consumer?" You could say that about absolutely any expense a business had, "No business ever paid a single dime in payroll that wasn't paid for by a consumer," or "No business ever paid a single dime in inventory that wasn't paid for by a consumer," are all equally accurate statements.

    In fact, by your logic we could easily say that only businesses pay taxes, as individuals pass on the expense of taxes to their employer. No individual ever paid a single dime in taxes that wasn't paid for by a business, because said individual would be broke if they didn't have an income form some sort of business. And that is why your statements are meaningless.

    The real question comes when we raise taxes. Is the entirety of that increase always passed on to the consumer, or does some of it occasionally come out of corporate profits? I would hazard a guess that if corporations could just raise prices willy-nilly, they would. Competition keeps them from raising prices to arbitrarily high levels. If a corporation is hit with new taxes while making high profits, they may have to accept a reduction in profits in order to stay competitive.

  • by interval1066 (668936) on Friday August 27, 2010 @03:16PM (#33396344) Homepage Journal

    "Only at the mercy of the USPS which has an absolute monopoly over mail delivery in the US."

    Which of course explains why the USPS is sinking like a lead balloon.

  • Re:O RLY? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sarhjinian (94086) on Friday August 27, 2010 @03:19PM (#33396380)

    I'm not American, hence the reason I didn't say "Republican". Not that it matters in the US: the political choices run the gamut from the Right to the extreme Right anyways.

    That said, it's pretty safe to make such an assumption. There aren't many actual libertarians, but a heck of a lot of greedy, curtain-twitching, closet-authoritarians in the most countries' political right.

  • by VojakSvejk (315965) on Friday August 27, 2010 @03:23PM (#33396434) Homepage

    I just can't get over the fact that a state senator (or a US one, really) knows that Gunga Din was a water bearer. Maybe US education is better than I thought.

  • by ISoldat53 (977164) on Friday August 27, 2010 @03:24PM (#33396440)
    The bought and the for sale.
  • Re:O RLY? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jonathansdt (1176719) on Friday August 27, 2010 @03:27PM (#33396476)

    Most utilities are not run by the government but by private companies....make any case at all for privatizing them in your view?

    Most utilities are regulated. Those that are regulated provider cheaper power than their unregulated counterparts because their prices are based on average cost rather than marginal cost. The states that deregulated their power generation now have higher electric rates. This American belief that unchecked competition automatically produces cheaper products simply isn't true, especially with infrastructure.

  • Re:Contradiction (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Red Flayer (890720) on Friday August 27, 2010 @03:41PM (#33396674) Journal

    Except the govermnent-run system can run at a loss forever and drive the competition out of the market.

    No, they can't. Their operating cash must come from somewhere... whether it's some combination of public funding via taxes or from consumer charges for service. It's a question a community can answer for itself, I think -- should we, as a municipality, band together to eliminate an extra cost (corporate salaries/profits) from cable service most of us want?

    If anything, massive corporations are far more able to practice predatory pricing to drive out competition. We've seen it so many damn times that we KNOW it will happen whenever we let up our guard a little bit. A massive, multi-state corporation with a deep warchest can quite easily take losses in local markets to drive competitors out of business in those markets; and since infrastructure cost in this industry is so high, no one is going to enter that market when they have to compete against an established company.

    If a private company can't provide a service cheaper than a public entity, why should people continue to pay that private company? To protect the profits of that private company? The key here is to ensure that there is full cost and income accounting so that the public can make educated decisions on it. Subsidies should not be hidden -- either tax funding of the public entity, or concessions to the private company (land use, tax concessions, direct subsidization, etc).

    You really don't think that free government broadband might be a slight problem if you're trying to sell broadband access to people?

    You really don't thick corporate profits and executive salaries are a problem if you're trying to acquire broadband in the most cost-effective manner?

  • by shentino (1139071) on Friday August 27, 2010 @03:41PM (#33396676)

    That's a valid quid pro quo to compensate for the fact that mail service in the US is done for everyone, no matter how unprofitable a particular place might be.

    If it were left up to the free market, they'd welch out on the boonies and stay in the cities where it's profitable.

    Which would leave the USPS with nothing but losses as they get stuck with all the sucky spots.

  • by Volante3192 (953645) on Friday August 27, 2010 @03:48PM (#33396754)

    Well, being unable to reduce home delivery to five days, unable to close branches, unable to remove drop boxes, unable to raise rates beyond the rate of inflation...things a private company could do without an Act of Congress to reduce costs...don't exactly help it stay afloat.

  • Re:Competition (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jedi Alec (258881) on Friday August 27, 2010 @04:07PM (#33397030)

    Either the corporations can do whatever they damn well please, or there is *some* sort of organization, be it an official government or a less official entity, in place that serves as a layer of protection between the might of the corporations and the individual citizens. The moment such an organization exists, the corporations *will* try to corrupt it.

  • by cgenman (325138) on Friday August 27, 2010 @04:08PM (#33397044) Homepage

    The original point seems to be that the Post Office has been a model for actual successful government programs (broke even, cheaper than anyone expected, and worked) for many years. The post was relied upon by most businesses in some form or another since 1775.

    Recently, it has been evolved out. But the point still stands that successful government run programs do exist.

  • Re:Who pays taxes? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cgenman (325138) on Friday August 27, 2010 @04:12PM (#33397094) Homepage

    So far, community broadband seems to have evolved in communities that traditional network providers refuse to service. As far as I know, no community simply decided that Comcast was too expensive, and tossed up their own solution. They've all been communities that couldn't get modern networking, until they threatened to put up their own.

    Really, the question is should communities have a right to service markets themselves that the free market simply chooses not to. Framed in that way, the cable industry arguments seem incredibly hollow.

  • by Ichijo (607641) on Friday August 27, 2010 @05:17PM (#33398016) Homepage Journal

    If it were left up to the free market, they'd welch out on the boonies and stay in the cities where it's profitable.

    Then people who live out in the boonies would just pick up their mail at the nearest post office. That doesn't sound unreasonable. Consider it part of the cost of living far away from civilization.

  • by JohnRoss1968 (574825) on Friday August 27, 2010 @10:50PM (#33400428)

    Sounds fair to me...
    And You City slickers can come all the way out to the "boonies" and get your veggies and meats.

    Just remember to talk slow to us country folk after all we are soooo far from living in the civilized world.

    If only we could be like you city dwellers with all of your civilization. High speed internet, good mail services and all the other wonderful things that y'alls citys have.
    Wonderful things like your LOW LOW crime rate. Or the courteous and professional police departments that seem to go out of their way to catch the bad guys and preserve civil liberties. (our police department here is made up of people who have lived here their whole lives and have family here and want to make our town a nice place to live)
    Oh and I am so jealous of your homes and apartments. They are so small and expensive. I guess that means they must be much better than the big old house I'm living in.
    I'm sure that fresh clean air is over-rated anyway.

Money can't buy happiness, but it can make you awfully comfortable while you're being miserable. -- C.B. Luce

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