Thanks to the beauty of RSS feeds, I stumbled across this article on the calculation of government-subsidized USF service: http://techdirt.com/article.php?sid=20060721/1413212. For once, I decided to write a response to it online because I was tired of reading the one-sided views that ranted on each side of the fence about this issue. See below for that brief response that I left. I intend to follow this one up with little reflection on why conservatism can truly be the banner for progress and how ponderous institutionalization can be a barrier thereto.
Any heated rhetoric in this discussion should not be directly aimed at the rural user but instead to a government that encourages an entitlement attitude. Whenever these taxes were passed years ago, most (hopefully all) of the representatives involved weren't wringing their hands saying, "Good, just another way we can steal from the taxpayer." They really wanted to help the American people.
The issue at hand, though, is that it doesn't help the American people to monopolize the plan for such an infrastructure. The government's role should be to guarantee that the market can remain free for competition and primarily take that role. When it comes to addressing an important issue like getting telephone lines to everyone, the forces of competition will encourage efficiency. Ultimately, those representatives who were not directly trying to steal from the American public really end up doing such because excess money will always be taken by taxes. If there isn't enough, it will just be raised. That does not encourage much fiscal responsibility. In this case, so much money is wasted where it could be used by the public to reflect the progress desired by the American people when they use the forces of their buying power.
Perhaps if any action should be taken by the government, it should offer tax cuts to the people who are willing to take the risk to wire in these rural areas. This too has to be watched, though, so as to be proactive and not just an empty check to the businesses. Another factor is that phone companies, in an open market, could ask for an extra dollar or two voluntarily. I know that my gas bill allows for this to help subsidize the very poor. Such a donation could function the same for phone companies to subsidize the bills of the very poor.
A truly noble government does not make the righteous decisions for people but enables people to make righteous decisions on their own. Of course I think that taxes can do a lot of good and can even reflect the righteousness of a people. However, they are not the only answer. People do not always have to work en masse but can also work together as individuals. Ultimately, the truly just society will do just that.