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Van Voorhis: FCC needs to bring same broadband to rural Americans that urban Americans enjoy

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The 2016 election, which catapulted President Donald J. Trump into office largely because of unexpected support from rural communities, represents nothing less than a mandate for the federal government to do everything it can to close the immense divide between urban and rural Americans.

One of the most pressing issues rural Americans face today is a lack of basic, affordable internet access, 34 million people in the U.S. still don’t have broadband internet access — defined as having download speeds of 25 megabits per second — according to the Federal Communications Commission–about 23.4 million live in rural parts of the U.S.

Access to the internet is one of the least expensive ways for rural Americans to be connected to the rest of the country, and to the rest of our increasingly global society. Think of how often you access the internet – whether it’s to check driving directions, to find a quick answer to a pressing issue, or even to get a package delivered to your door in a matter of hours.

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Now imagine that you did not have the capability to do that at any second of the day from your smartphone or computer. Imagine if you were cut off from all of the world’s information overnight. How would your life change?

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Urban Americans like ourselves take this for granted. I know I do.

Unfortunately, this is the predicament that tens of millions of rural Americans find themselves in on a daily basis, and only furthers the divide between the haves and the have-nots in our society.

If this is a truly a problem, then something must be done about it. Liberals like Hillary R. Clinton have proposed that the federal government spend billions of your tax dollars to allow people to access the internet. As conservatives, we believe that the best solution to problems in society is almost always to have government get out of the way, instead of using its power to craft a ‘solution’ that often represents anything but that.

We need a smarter alternative, and in this case, the best opportunity is for government to recognize that it is not the solution, but the problem.

The Foundation for Economic Education reported that many of these “frequencies are not being used, causing certain channels to be ‘white spaces’ — channel-less and wasted. According to research, there is a notable range — the 600 megahertz bandwidth — that offers three spaces for this new television to internet signal conversion.”

If the FCC simply loosens its regulation of these ‘white spaces,’ private investment could easily bring affordable internet access to millions of rural Americans. Fortunately, a bipartisan group of over forty members of Congress have called on FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to make the use of rural broadband through ‘”TV White Spaces” a priority as they begin the process of repacking broadcast stations after the recent broadcast spectrum auction.

Chairman Pai, a conservative who has been an advocate of decreased regulation during his tenure at the FCC, would be wise to use this free-market solution to solve the internet access problem, instead of a heavy-handed government intervention.

Peter Van Voorhis is a conservative activist, commentator and journalist. He is a weekly contributor to iHeartRadio’s PowerTalk 96.7FM.

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Big League Economics

Dairy Farmers Dump Thousands of Gallons of Milk Down the Drain as Economy Halts Due to Coronavirus

The economic disaster is beginning.

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Dairy farmers are being forced to dump thousands of gallons of milk down the drain due to the economic slowdown resulting from coronavirus fears.

The dairy industries of the United States and Canada are suffering mightily because of the coronavirus panic. Even as individuals are desperate to buy essential goods and stock up for a crisis, there is far too much supply for the moribund consumer markets.

John Walker of Walker Dairy Inc. in Ontario said that he has been jettisoning his milk supply since last week due to the economic crunch.

“There is just nowhere for it to go,” Walker said to CTV News London on Sunday. “Schools, restaurants, and even Tim Hortons’ amount of cream is down. Those are all things that have slowed down demand for our product right now.”

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“The dramatic changes in demand and the related challenges being felt throughout the supply chain have resulted in the need for the disposal of some raw milk, which is extremely unfortunate and difficult,” the Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) said in a statement released last week.

Nikki Boxler, who owns and operates the Boxler Dairy in Varysburg, New York, says that her small, family-owned dairy farm is in shambles.

“Watching your hard work literally go down the drain is heart-wrenching. The wasted product represents our livelihood and the massive amount of hard work that takes place year-round to produce it,” she said Sunday in a Facebook post.

Boxler believes that the dairy industry is suffering due to milk’s perishable nature. This is causing the industry to be “hit harder and earlier than other agricultural commodities” by her estimation.

One Wisconsin farmer was forced to dispose of an incredible 56,000 pounds of milk, citing restaurant closures as being particularly devastating to his farm.

“It’s really depressing,” said Mark Mueller, owner of Mueller Dairy Farm. “It’s like all your hard work just running down the drain.”

Wisconsin dairy farmers are asking for a bailout from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in order to stay afloat. They hope to receive the assistance through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or CARES Act until normalcy can be returned, if that is even possible at this point.

While alarmists like Dr. Fauci call for an open-ended shutdown of society to fight coronavirus, millions of lives are being destroyed due to the economic damage caused by the government overreach. The dairy industry is the canary in the coalmine, and the rest of the market is likely to follow.

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