Universal, affordable X

President ____:

"We ought to have universal, affordable access to _______ by the year ____. And then we ought to make sure as soon as possible thereafter consumers have plenty of choices."

These words sound like they could come from almost any public official, talking about almost anything. Could it be health care? Medicare? Could it be prescription drugs? As it happens, it was George Bush speaking of broadboand technology, and the year 2007.

"It's important that we stay on the cutting edge of technological change, and one way to do so is to have a bold plan for broadband," he said. Bush did not elaborate on how he would accomplish the 2007 goal.

I can't think of a better way to stymie technological change. The government does not produce technology, and has an awful record in picking winners. Whatever the plan is, the government will find some way to reward a contributor, punish a contributor's competitor, redistribute wealth, and slow progress. It's record on health care, medicare, welfare and social security speaks volumes of the potential for any forthcoming "bold plan".

Our only hope is that it will amount to little more than government taking credit for something it didn't do, that was already in the works.

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