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What Robert Reich doesn't get is that Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and the new Internet billionaires have built up this country without and in spite of federal government financing and interference.

What is needed to improve our education and healthcare systems is less, not more, federal involvement. If the feds had funded the early innovators our cars and gadgets would likely work as well as the Post Office, Amtrak and our measly public educational system. Good thing Reich wasn't around to advise McKinley, TR, Taft, Harding and Coolidge!

Antonio Manetti

"...the new Internet billionaires have built up this country without and in spite of federal government financing and interference"

In spite of?

The internet and the Web began as government-funded and incubated technologies. Prior to that, the IBM business model prevailed in which private enterprises fought among themselves to create balkanized proprietary networks as well as software and hardware. Thus, they could lock-in customers, lock out price competition, price goods and services monopolisticaly and surprise, surprise, stifle innovation.

Oh, and does anyone remember the days when AT&T ruled the roost. Back then, you could not even buy let alone connect an extension phone without paying AT&T's outrageous tariffs.

The wealth and jobs that were created, including the share that those 'internet billionaires' now enjoy, would not have existed without the government's role in fostering innovation.


Quite wrong Antonio Manetti.

AT&T maintained its monopoly for so long because obviously the Chinese and others could not compete in installation of landlines in the USSA. Regarding the internet and all the software, from Microsoft's to Google, however, the US gummint played almost no part, unless you consider the braking effects of corporate taxes and other interferences that Edison and Ford didn't have to deal with.

Once the landlines were freed from the gummint-imposed AT&T monopoly, the field was open for competition. It's sada to live in a country where gummint gridlock, abstention and inaction are the best you can hope for.

The fact that DARPA funded the original Arpanet is irrelevant. Although it's impossible to guess "what might have been," there were lots of competing networks around,

cf. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Physical_Laboratory_(United_Kingdom),

and they would have taken off just as well without the $billions of our tax dollars wasted by the defense industry.

What the gummint gives us at great cost is Amtrak, the USPS and the publik miseducational system.

I was there.

Antonio Manetti

So was I.

Strange isn't it that the govcvernments of China, Japan, India and Europe all have or are building state-of-the-art rail systems and telecommunications infrastructures, while providing superior educational systems, which somehow manage to turn out scientists and engineers with the skills and brains to out-compete us (as we contemplate our own failures). Why is that?

I guess they haven't swallowed the gospel of the omnipotent free market and the dogma that government can do nothing right.

car cardiff

In response to a question as to what to recommend to the incoming president regarding a fair and sustainable income and wealth distribution, Reich said, "Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit — a wage supplement for lower-income people, and finance it with a higher marginal income tax on the top five percent. For the longer term, invest in education for lower income communities, starting with early-childhood education and extending all the way up to better access to post-secondary education.

I hope president Obama listen to Reich words so that the economy can improve.

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