Saturday, February 14, 2009

A joke

I read a joke once about the difference between Republicans and Democrats. The details escape me but the gist of it was that during one session of Congress Democrats urged that $1 trillion be given to NASA to build a ladder to the moon. Republicans, self-styled defenders of the taxpayer, argued that such a ladder should cost no more than $500 billion and that private contractors should oversee its construction instead of a government agency.

I think a lot about that joke:
The potential problem involved the roughly 21 million U.S. households that still received television over the air -- that is, without cable or satellite. Elderly, low-income and Hispanic viewers were most at risk of losing reception. If they had older TVs -- and most did -- they would need a converter box for their analog sets. Boxes cost $50 to $80.

Democrats, led by Rep. Edward J. Markey (Mass.), chairman of the Energy and Commerce subcommittee on telecommunications and the Internet, argued in 2005 that because the government was making so much money on the deal, it should help pay for converter boxes. He outlined a program to give consumers two coupons for $60 each to buy the devices. The program would cost about $4 billion.

Republicans balked. To save taxpayer money, they argued, the program should be less generous. They wanted to limit the benefit to low-income households and hold the coupon amount to $40.

No comments: