The Federal Government Will Spend Big Bucks to Help Americans Watch TV

Here in the United States, all over-the-air broadcasts must be digital by February 2009. The move to digital has been years in the making, and the deadline has been pushed back a few times. But 2009 February 18 appears to be Congress’s last stand on making America’s airwaves digital.

That means that all television owners who still use an antenna to watch broadcasts will need to either buy a new digital TV, subscribe to a service via a cable or satellite provider, or get a digital-to-analog converter box. While a new television set can cost hundreds of dollars and cable/satellite service amounts to hundreds per year, purchasing a good converter box is relatively inexpensive (around fifty dollars).

But that won’t deter Congress from spending over a billion dollars to assist people in buying these low-cost converters. The federal government is giving away millions of forty-dollar coupons to citizens so that they can buy set-top boxes for their old analog televisions. All in all, the government is spending a total of $1.5 billion of tax-payer funds to assist ordinary Americans with their TV fix.

To make it worse (assuming such a horrible waste of funds could be any worse), these coupons are not just for low-income families; anybody can apply for one (or two). And the coupon program is on the honor system, so a person desiring a coupon need not even prove that he needs a converter box.

There is no lack of governmental waste in Washington, but for some reason, this particular program just really raises my ire. I despise the arrogance of these politicians who seem to believe that average Americans need their hand-outs to get by. Honestly, any American who is so poor that he cannot save up about fifty bucks in a year’s time to pay for a converter box really doesn’t need to be watching TV that badly.

And to think that the Democrats actually want to raise our taxes…


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