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President Barack Obama has inserted authorization for his long desired wireless spectrum auction into American Jobs Act.  (Source: Newscom)

The auction would allow TV broadcasters to sell unused spectrum to wireless carriers, splitting the profits with the government. Wireless carriers could then use the spectrum to speed up smart phone connections.  (Source: Backpack Tactics)

The government would use its earnings to create an emergency broadcast Wi-Fi network to be used by firefighters and police during emergencies.  (Source: Corbis)
Spectrum sale would eventually boost 4G speeds and coverage, fund a national emergency Wi-Fi network

Sneaky, sneaky -- remember U.S. President Barack Obama's big American Jobs Act, which he was plugging before the NFL season opener last Thursday?  Well, the proposed legislation was released Monday and it included a little something extra -- proposed authorization for the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to hold a special wireless spectrum auction, something President Obama has long been pushing.

Telecommunications companies like Verizon Communications Inc. (
VZ), AT&T, Inc. (T), and Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) have been pushing for this auction for a long time.  They warn that they're running out of spectrum to deploy faster 4G wireless connections.  Meanwhile, they point out that many TV broadcasters are sitting on large unused chunks of spectrum.

The auction would likely be held sometime early next year and would be an incentive-based auction.  TV broadcasters would not be required to participate, but those who do would split the profits of sales of their unused spectrum with the government.

A handful of TV broadcasters are excited about the potential revenue from the option.  But a noisy contingent has protested the auction.  They claim that the FCC has not sufficiently considered interference that use of the spectrum for wireless devices might cause.  Thus they argue that their fellow broadcasters 
should not be allowed to sell their spectrum, and the auction should be scrapped.

The proposed spectrum auction has largely stalled thus far due to these protests.  Now it may finally advance.

If the auction is authorized, it would use $6.5B USD raised from the auction to 
fund the national Wi-Fi emergency broadcast network.  Firefighters, police, and other first responders would utilize the network.

The network was first proposed in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001 after emergency responders struggled to communicate with each other in the chaotic aftermath.  In early 2009, at the start of Obama's presidency an auction looked to create a public/private partnership to fund the network.  However, the auction failed due to lack of interest.

If the new plan succeeds, a 10 MHz block of the 700 MHz band -- the so-called "D-Block – would be applied to building the new network.  The majority of funding would go towards building physical wireless networking infrastructure into most major U.S. cities and securing the resulting network.

In his letter to Congress, Obama promotes the act, but doesn't spend much time specifically promoting the auction provision.  He writes:

To create jobs, I am submitting the American Jobs Act of 2011 -- nearly all of which is made up of the kinds of proposals supported by both Republicans and Democrats, and that the Congress should pass right away to get the economy moving now. The purpose of the American Jobs Act of 2011 is simple: put more people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans.

However, he faces resistance in the House and Senate from his Republican rivals. Representative Eric Cantor, the Republican party House Majority Leader, writes:

What Washington needs and what the American people need is for us to find some agreement and there are plenty of things we can agree on. For instance, on the need for infrastructure spending, we believe that states have monies right now, but Washington has tied up their ability to use those monies. We want to straighten out the system of how money is spent before we start spending more.

We don't support the idea of creating a Fannie and Freddie for roads and bridges in an infrastructure bank. We believe that you can facilitate a better flow of funds to construction projects by fixing the current system. There's plenty for us to work on together. Instead of trying to accentuate where differences are, because good people can disagree, let's try to produce results so the middle class can get back to work in this country.

Like the President, most Republican rivals haven't directly commented on the auction and emergency network deployment plans (though Rep. Cantor's comment seems to allude to the latter deployment).

Thus the fate of President Obama's latest effort to push through the incentive-auction of unused TV spectrum largely rests on his ability to sell the Jobs Act as a whole.

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RE: Should Be Separate
By TSS on 9/14/2011 6:08:11 PM , Rating: 0

OK, so say person A earns $2000 a month for $24,000 yearly
and person B earns $860,744 a month for $10,328,925 yearly. Both are taxed at 20%, double current lowest tax rate, half the top tax rate (minus the bush cuts). A flat tax.

That means person A has $1600 each month to live off, and person B has $688,595.25 each month to live off. This would then be considered "fair".

Why did i chose these numbers? well $2400 is just Because that $10 mil is what the top tax rate for single filers would be in 1963 ($1,4 mil and up), when the top tax rate was 91%, adjusted for inflation. The bottom tax rate was 20%, double today's rate. Meaning if this was 1963, Person B would have $77,466.96 to live off EACH MONTH. Person A would still have $1600.

Now on paper this doesn't seem fair. But here's the thing that makes it fair: Person A and Person B Both pay the SAME for a loaf of bread. The same for a car. The same for a house. I saw a comment on today, in a topic bashing the EU's political leadership, about a guy who's house went from $150,000 to $65,000 thanks to the financial crisis (obiously bashing US government). You do realise that means rich people paying 91% tax today could still buy a house a month?

Let me repeat that. 91% tax. 1 house EACH MONTH. no mortage, paid for in full.

Yet you argue they've earned the right to buy 10 houses in full each month , while the people barely making ends meat now, have to start paying double their current tax rates? And it'll be More fair? More fair then inconveniencing 1% for the better of 50% of the population?

Nobody >earns< that much. Not even the pope.

And life isn't fair anyway so why shouldn't we take from the rich and give to the poor, rather then take from the poor and give to the rich?

Oh and spending money is what creates jobs. Wether it's the government or the private sector that does it hardly matters.

RE: Should Be Separate
By curelom on 9/14/2011 6:43:43 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah, that makes it right. Life isn't fair so I'm justified in stealing somebody elses money because I feel that they didn't "earn" it. What a justification for one's greed!

I actually like the idea posted elsewhere in these comments of a national sales tax. I'd be for that, if other taxes such as income tax and capital gains tax were abolished. After all, it would only be fair ;)

RE: Should Be Separate
By Black1969ta on 9/14/2011 7:39:14 PM , Rating: 2
I would agree with this,however not a flat tax across the board,meaning no food tax, most things at Walmart would have a low tax, but the higher end the higher the tax, luxury item would be taxed the highest. this would place the burden of taxes most on those who purchase frivolous items, while poor can still purchase food, and household items, contributing to the federal tax revenue.
This plan would have to eliminate state and local income taxes too, allocate taxes based on location of business (sale) taxing electronic (internet, telephone) equally funding government at all levels.

RE: Should Be Separate
By theArchMichael on 9/16/2011 3:24:51 PM , Rating: 2
You are clearly talking about "fair" as being equal parts while I think the others are talking about "fair" as being equivalent parts.

Also, I think it's important to remember that government serves as a defender of the wealthy individuals (and their assets) in this country.

I'd wager, a large population of 'have nots' living in abject poverty and difficult circumstances are more a threat to our economy and individuals who are 'haves' than the situation we are in now. Perhaps, your complaint that the tax code is "unfair" would be less true to you, if you considered it a payment to those that would mob your home and take all your possessions... if they were under more desperate circumstances.

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen

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