April 17, 2021
Have you seen the most recent CPI report? Prices are still rising. Inflation’s not coming — It’s here. And with the Fed not stepping in to raise interest rates until 2024, investors feel torn between hedging their bets and playing the ever-expanding equity markets.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell seems sunny about the financial landscape… But with trillions in government overspending, all this “growth” feels like a tumor on the American economy.
And then there’s Biden stuffing social initiatives into his proposed $2 trillion “infrastructure” bill. Dems are leveraging the ever-changing definition of this word, so I’m here to clarify the term. There’s the 20th-century definition of infrastructure as roads, bridges, highways, and airports — but in 2021, streaming broadband is now an integral part of the package.
On the American Consequences podcast this week, I spoke with media legend Leo Hindery, founder of InterMedia Partners and former CEO of AT&T Broadband. Leo shares that he’s also worried about social spending thrown in with an infrastructure bill but still finds Internet access a vital American right.
Broadening Our Budget Horizons
While Biden treats trillions like pennies, pouring more spending on top of the COVID relief, Leo has a counter-proposal for the president: a Global Infrastructure Bank.
His concept is a federal institution with some money funneled in from the Treasury but primarily relying on the fiduciary community for funding: large-scale state pension plans and sovereign wealth funds.
He says the capital cost in this framework would rest in the 1% to 2% range, unlike the 10% you’d find on Wall Street. Hear how Leo’s Global Infrastructure Bank would work.
In terms of the political reception to such an idea, he’s brought it up before Congress, and he senses potential — but it would have to begin with Biden.
Imprisoned With No Bars
Infrastructure (or the lack thereof) is always a local reality for Americans. And this includes shoddy town bridges, pothole-laden neighborhood streets, and unreliable data streaming in your living room.
Listen, I love my home state of New Hampshire. But when I’m there, the Internet is not the best. And there’s plenty of patches of this country where citizens don’t have access to what’s become a virtual utility, along with water, gas, and electricity.
Americans need digital access to stay in step with society, whether it’s being connected with your family during this lost pandemic year or logging in to Slack for work so you can pay your rent.
So why aren’t private companies doing more? It’s the answer to 99 out of 100 questions: money.
Twelve-term Congressman. Air Force surgeon. Presidential candidate. Ron Paul reveals the secret to “opt-out” of our bankrupt, increasingly socialist system right here.
In short, broadband thrives in densely populated spots, i.e., cities. Manhattan is a perfect, profitable position for broadband purveyors. But if you’re in upstate New York, with homes and neighbors spaced out by miles, forget it.
Leo claims the FCC, Treasury, and Biden administration need to incentivize broadband providers to provide quality Internet access in America’s digital deserts — typically rural, impoverished communities. We need to wire up everywhere from Native American reservations to Appalachia, as saving poverty in these regions can’t be accomplished without broadband.
And heck, I know it’s not in the Constitution, but if the Founding Fathers were here today, I’m sure they’d want us all to have 5G.
Uneasy public and private partnerships in the broadband sector signal the macro-trend of rising politicization in corporate America. Amazon, BlackRock, Google, and even Warren Buffett all signed a new statement opposing Georgia’s new voting laws — but is it the boardroom’s place to weigh in at the ballot box?
Leo says that a CEO’s responsibility is two-fold: employees first-most, shareholders and community following closely. And when it comes to the inextricable link of business and politics in America, he wishes there was more transparency on which corporations are backing specific candidates — and their underlying agenda.
Leo reminds us, “Mitch McConnell says corporations have no place in politics, but he’s taken more money from Big Business for reelection than nearly anyone on the Hill.”
He claims what’s most pressing is a shakeup in campaign finance reform to lessen the corporate sway in elections. But this would have to be a bipartisan effort — and considering that both the Dems and GOP take money from Big Business… good luck.
For the past two decades, one country with real economic growth remains — China. It’s attempting to surpass the U.S. on the economic world stage.
And so, it’s more urgent than ever to protect our currency, debt levels, and sacred country. China’s looking to knock us out as the world’s hegemonic powerhouse, so it’s more pressing than ever for CEOs to follow a lasting America-first ethos.
And for the entrepreneurs out there, we know you want to thrive on an international scale and expand into emerging markets, including Beijing. Still, as an American business owner, your obligation should start and end with this country.
So as this federal spending blitz continues from on high, remember to hedge against inflation, investors. And if you’re reading this, your broadband connection is pulling through — meaning at least part of America’s infrastructure still works.
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Publisher, American Consequences
With Editorial Staff
April 17, 2021