Why Has Joe Biden’s $42 Billion Broadband Program Not Connected One Single Household?

“Carr blames the delay on “the addition of a substantive wish list of progressive ideas” to the approval process. In an April 2023 letter to Davidson, 11 Republican U.S. senators warned that “NTIA’s bureaucratic red tape and far-left mandates undermine Congress’ intent and would discourage participation from broadband providers while increasing the overall cost of building out broadband networks.”
Among several examples, the senators noted that NTIA’s BEAD proposal “requires subgrantees to prioritize certain segments of the workforce, such as ‘individuals with past criminal records’ and ‘justice-impacted […] participants.'” The infrastructure law that authorized the program merely required contractors to be “in compliance with Federal labor and employment laws.”

The previous year, in a letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Republican senators warned that the NTIA’s proposed BEAD rollout “creates a complex, nine-step, ‘iterative’ structure and review process that is likely to mire State broadband offices in excessive bureaucracy and delay connecting unserved and underserved Americans as quickly as possible.”

In practice, this is exactly what’s happening: Multiple representatives from the telecommunications industry told MinnPost this week that they had no interest in applying for a piece of Minnesota’s $652 million in BEAD grants. Brent Christensen, president and CEO of Minnesota Telecom Alliance, which represents 70 Minnesota telecom companies, said, “None of them would bid for the federal grants because of the regulations that would come with it—especially the requirement to provide low-cost services to low-income households in exchange for grants that would allow internet providers to build out their networks.”

MinnPost noted that new state laws also “requir[e] companies who receive state grants to pay workers a ‘prevailing wage,’ a basic hourly rate paid on public works projects to a majority of workers in a particular occupation.” Since the federal government’s prevailing wage list does not include telecom workers, “companies in Minnesota would have to pay more because they would have to use a similar, but higher-paying, classification.”

https://reason.com/2024/06/27/why-has-joe-bidens-42-billion-broadband-program-not-connected-one-single-household/

Black Voters in This City Could Determine 2024. And It’s Not Looking Good for Biden.

“Black voters in Milwaukee. An influential bloc that can determine if the state remains blue or flips this fall, these voters have serious and lingering doubts about Biden and whether he’s delivered on his promises to them. There’s no danger that Donald Trump will carry this historically Democratic city in November. But there is a considerable risk that an anemic showing in Milwaukee could cost Biden this critical swing state — and possibly the election.
Biden’s Milwaukee problem is a distillation of the challenges facing his reelection campaign nationally: In traditionally Democratic redoubts, polls suggest alarmingly low levels of support among Black and Latino voters. In 2016, Hillary Clinton’s underperformance in Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Detroit’s Wayne County — the urban centers that power Democratic fortunes in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan — enabled Trump’s surprise Rust Belt victories. This year, signs of a lack of enthusiasm for Biden in those places among Black voters is giving rise to fears of a repeat.

In Wisconsin, there isn’t much margin of error: The last two presidential elections here have been decided by less than 25,000 votes each. A low turnout among Black voters in Milwaukee — or a diminished winning margin for Biden — would deal a significant blow to his chances of carrying the state and its 10 electoral votes.”

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2024/06/21/biden-black-voters-enthusiasm-gap-milwaukee-00163496

Biden is on track to beat inflation and lose the presidency

“there are three reasons for Democrats to fear that slowing inflation will prove too little, too late.
For one thing, voters’ distrust of Biden’s economic management appears unshakeable. In a recent Gallup poll, just 38 percent of Americans expressed confidence in Biden to “do the right thing for the economy.” That is up a smidgen from Biden’s 35 percent mark in 2023, but it is still the worst economic approval that any modern president has suffered in Gallup’s polling, with the exception of George W. Bush immediately after the financial crisis. By contrast, 46 percent of voters have confidence in Trump’s economic management.

In RealClearPolitics’s average of recent surveys, Americans disapprove of Biden’s handling of the economy by a 17.6 point margin. And voters’ appraisal of Biden’s economic acumen has not substantially improved in recent months, even as inflation has declined. By the end of Trump’s term, on the other hand, voters approved of his economic management by a 7.8 percent margin.

Thus, the idea that Biden is personally responsible for the surge of inflation in 2022 — and that he cannot be trusted to effectively manage the economy for that reason — appears deeply rooted in voters’ minds. The fact that wages have been rising much faster than prices for more than a year has left no dent on this impression. Another few months of falling inflation could move the needle a bit, but there’s little reason to assume that such a development will dramatically change public opinion.

Second, relatedly, historical precedent suggests that the economy’s performance up to this point in Biden’s term will matter more than its performance from now until November. According to Democratic data scientist David Shor, when you examine the relationship between GDP growth and past incumbent presidents’ electoral outcomes, their economic records between inauguration and April of their reelection year count for much more than economic conditions in their campaigns’ final months.

Finally, if inflation has truly been defeated, victory has come too late to yield substantial interest rate cuts before November. The Federal Reserve declined to reduce rates after its meeting this week and forecast a single, quarter-percentage-point cut by year’s end. Investors predict that such a cut will come in September at the earliest. Even if the rate cut comes before Election Day, it would still leave Americans with dramatically higher borrowing costs than they faced when Biden was inaugurated.

It is conceivable that a small September cut may help the president a bit at the margins. Another possibility is that Biden will effectively shepherd the nation out of an economic crisis and deliver it into a low-inflation, high-employment economy and then promptly hand the White House back to Donald Trump, who will proceed to receive the lion’s share of the credit when the Fed slashes interest rates next year.”

https://www.vox.com/politics/354969/inflation-cpi-federal-reserve-biden-trump-election

Trump Blames Biden for Never Removing the Tariffs Trump Imposed

“The really frustrating thing about this is that Trump is fundamentally wrong about how tariffs work. He has been for a long time. Taxes on Americans are not going to change China’s behavior. That’s not theoretical. We have six years of real evidence. Tariffs are not saving American manufacturing. The trade deficit didn’t fall like Trump promised it would. China didn’t buy the larger share of American imports that were part of Trump’s supposed “phase one” deal. In the middle of Thursday’s debate, Trump even managed to confuse the trade deficit with the federal budget deficit (a mistake he’s been making for years).
If only Biden were in a position to highlight Trump’s clearly misguided views on trade and tariffs. But that would have required different choices over the past three-plus years (and a stronger debate performance from the president, who struggled at times on Thursday to be articulate).

Biden chose this outcome, and now we’re left with a choice between a candidate who doesn’t understand the fundamentals of trade policy and one who has foolishly gone along with that fantasy for political gain.”

https://reason.com/2024/06/28/trump-blames-biden-for-never-removing-the-tariffs-trump-imposed/