There’s a proposal being floated that would give a $500 tax credit if you go out and buy a new digital TV. The whole thing is described here, but the short version is that the FCC needs TV stations to switch from their regular analog frequencies to the new digital frequences soon, because the government has already sold those frequencies to telecom companies.
You see, all of us dense consumers were supposed to leap at the idea of digital TV and pay $1,000 for a digital TV equivalent to our $500 analog TVs that we currently have. But we’re not doing it fast enough and the companies that gave Uncle Sam $16 billion for those analog frequencies are getting antsy. So what’s the typical big-government answer? Why, spend our taxpayer money, of course. The federal government is proposing to give you a $500 rebate if you buy a new digital TV. Or, in other words, here’s $500 of your own money back, but only if you spend it on a consumer electronic device you probably don’t need.
The big-government types think that if the price of the digital TVs was cut by $500 we’d all run right out and buy one. The only problem is that liberals think that human behavior is static. The first thing that’s going to happen when the rebates come into effect is … the price of all digital TVs will magically rise by exactly $500! Why should Sony and Zenith and Panasonic and all the rest, not to mention all the retailers, miss out on the largesse? Here’s a chance to make an extra $500, or an estimated $10 billion over the life of the rebate program, courtesy of the federal government.
Of course, in the end, some people will be gullible enough to buy a TV they didn’t need. Some people who were already going to buy a digital TV will funnel the rebate to the TV-set industry. And the vast majority of us will stay home, watching our same old analog sets as the government bureaucrats and telecom executives fume at us for not vacating their—by which I mean, our—airwaves.