Small American cities and rural communities are developing high-speed Internet service for themselves, following failures of President Obama’s plan to finance such service under his stimulus plan.
I read two articles on-line this morning—an old one in POLITICO about the mismanagement of the stimulus plan by the Rural Utilities Service (successor to the Rural Electrification Administration) and a recent one in YES! magazine about how local governments are acting on their own initiative to provide these services for themselves.
The two articles fit in with a long-held belief of mine—that role of government is to provide public services, such as public roads, public schools and law enforcement, under neutral rules, and not to divide up the public into worthy claimants and unworthy claimants.
I’m sure federal grants have made possible some worthy local projects that otherwise wouldn’t have taken place. Certainly the original Rural Electrification Administration did a lot to improve the lives of American farm families.
But very often grantsmanship becomes disconnected from actual needs. There is a cost in going through the grant approval process, maybe with the help of a professional grant application writer, and in documenting compliance with the requirements for the grant, which may have nothing to do with local priorities.
Wired to fail by Tony Romm for POLTICO (2015)
Tired of Waiting for Corporate High-Speed Internet, Minnesota Farm Towns Build Them on Their Own by Ben DeJarnette for YES! magazine.