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Posted by Richard Whitt, Washington Telecom and Media Counsel
When you're walking around town chatting on your cellphone, or sitting in a cafe surfing the Web over Wi-Fi, do you ever wonder how wireless signals travel through the airwaves around you? Most of us probably don't give it much thought -- and yet use of these airwaves is precisely what makes many of our modern communications systems possible.
Radio spectrum is a natural resource, something that here in the U.S. is owned by all of us as American citizens. But which entities are operating in our nation's public airwaves, and where? Are these resources actually being used efficiently and effectively, or is a sizable portion of useful spectrum simply lying fallow?
We cannot conclusively answer these critical questions today, because our government has not taken and published a full inventory of spectrum ownership and use in the United States. Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) have introduced a bill in Congress that seeks to do just that. The Radio Spectrum Inventory Act calls on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to take a full inventory of our nation's spectrum resources between the 300 MHz and 3.5 GHz bands.
July 2 - An article in the Wall Street Journal today outlined Obama's and McCain's plans to reform the estate tax, which is set to disappear in 2010 and then reappear a year later. Jason Furman, Obama's economic advisor, said Obama would:
"'add certainty and stability to the tax code by making the 2009 estate-tax parameters permanent... [retaining] the estate tax for the top 0.3% of estates in order to restore fairness to the tax system.'"
Douglas Holtz-Eakin, speaking for McCain's campaign, proposes to:
"[Cut] the tax rate to 15%... 'so Americans will not be forced to pay more in death than they would if they had sold property prior to their death.'"
June 26 - In a response to Lawrence Lindsey's Wall Street Journal op-ed criticizing Obama's Social Security plan, Jason Furman, Obama's economic advisor, wrote a letter to the editor. Furman defended Obama's Social Security Program saying:
"Barack Obama's proposal to extend the life of Social Security is fully consistent with the spirit of Social Security...Mr. Obama has stated that he would like to extend solvency while protecting middle-class families and asking those making over $250,000 to pay their fair share. As president, he would work with Congress on a bipartisan basis to design the details of such a change, including the tax rate, how it is phased in over time, the linkage between these tax payments and benefits and other critical design elements of this plan."
July 11 - As barbed rhetoric darts between the campaigns,
beneath the spin it is becoming increasingly clear just how seriously both
candidates are taking fiscal policy. In a town hall meeting yesterday,
Senator Obama called Senator McCain's plan to balance the budget by 2013
"absurd" and claimed that "‘people looked at [McCain's plan] and started
hooting and hollering and laughing...It just wasn't true.'"
McCain's spokesman replied:
"‘What's laughable is that Barack Obama has absolutely no
plan to balance the budget...[Obama's ideas are] bad economic policy supported by
bad foreign policy - and it shows he's just not ready.'"