Commentary

Broadband Policy Undergirds Much

Broadband doesn’t get much play out on the campaign trail, but just about every other issue in the headlines ââ?¬â?? health care, immigration, the war on terror, education, environment ââ?¬â?? have a broadband, or at very least an IT, component. How well the telecom and IT sector is able to respond depends on the degree of freedom it is given to innovate and invest. As to be expected, the Republican candidates are more amenable than Democrats to allowing market forces to work. Still, the GOP frontrunners have not been shy about proposing federal government solutions in areas where the market seems to be doing quite well on its own. Republicans in general, beginning with President George W. Bush, over two years.seem enamored with a centrally-planned, centrally-operated health information system ââ?¬â?? a government-run repository for the health records of all citizens. Sure, it will make portability of records easier, but the government will know everything about your medical history. Private sector solutions are emerging that stand to be more private and directly under control of the consumer. Both John McCain and Mitt Romney have made proposals that follow Bush’s lines, which that National Taxpayers Union pegs at $169 million in its first year. Mike Huckabee also has an extensive health IT proposal, which the NTU pegs at $234 million in the first year. None of the Republicans propose grandiose infrastructure funding in competition with the private sector. But oddly enough it’s Romney, the so-called conservative, who is talking about boosting spending on dubious government IT programs. For example, Romney wants to mandate an employment verification system relying on biometric ID cards that the NTU estimates will cost $150 million a year for five years. The former Massachusetts governor also envisions a nanny state role for the government in PC distribution, ensuring no machine is sold without Internet filtering software. It’s not clear whether he use taxpayer money in this effort or foist this cost on manufacturers and retailers, but his proposed program to involved the government in education about Internet parental controls will cost $10 million

Steven Titch served as a policy analyst at Reason Foundation from 2004 to 2013.

Titch's work primarily focused on telecommunications, the Internet and new media. He is a former managing editor of InfoTech & Telecom News (IT&T News) published by the Heartland Institute. His columns have appeared in Investor's Business Daily, Total Telecom, and America's Network, among others.

Prior to joining Reason in 2004, Titch covered the telecommunications industry as a journalist for more than two decades. Titch was director of editorial projects for Data Communications magazine where he directed content development for supplemental publications and special projects. He has also held the positions of editorial director of Telephony, editor of Global Telephony magazine, Midwest bureau chief of CommunicationsWeek, and associate editor-communications at Electronic News.

Outside of the telecom industry, Titch conducted rich media and content development for publishers and corporate marketing groups. He has also developed and launched his own web-based media, including SecuritySquared.com, an on-line resource for the security industry.

Titch graduated cum laude from Syracuse University with a dual degree in journalism and English.