Treasury rates as of 6:59 am ….

As of 6:59 am 23 October 2020, U.S. Treasury rates are as follows:

3-month: .08%

6-month: .10%

12-month: .12%

2-year: .15%

10-year: .86%

30-year: 1.68%

Source: Bloomberg

No. We don’t need a nationalized 5G network …

by Bruce Mehlman

OCTOBER 21, 2020

By Bruce Mehlman and Rick Boucher

Some say that there’s a lot wrong with our nation and our economy right now, but no one’s pointing the finger at internet innovation. Thanks to decades of investment in ever-more-advanced networks and a market that rewards risk, America built and deployed an advanced and flexible broadband infrastructure that has proved critical to maintaining our economy, education and community during the global pandemic.

While we still need to close the digital divide to achieve universal access and affordability, our private sector-led innovation and deployment model has clearly demonstrated its vast superiority to government-led, centrally planned alternatives.

So why is the Defense Department considering a new plan for a “government-owned, government-operated” 5G wireless network?

It makes no sense. As before, the private sector should continue development and deployment of competitive broadband wireless networks to get them into the hands of consumers, businesses and government users as quickly, efficiently, and securely as possible.

Of course, there is a role for government. Because the unique properties of 5G will require large amounts of spectrum, the government should be pushing more spectrum into the commercial marketplace under rules that encourage innovators to develop and deploy next-generation infrastructure. Spectrum auctions allow the market to indicate which companies can build this infrastructure fastest.

But nationalizing 5G, in contrast, would dispense with market mechanisms and the critical imperative to continuously improve or fail. The state-owned enterprises in the former Soviet Union and modern Communist China reveal how government-sanctioned operators undermine markets, competition, innovation and the entrepreneurship that makes America’s economy great.

Nineteen Republican senators have weighed in, citing the success of the private sector in 4G deployment and urging President Donald Trump to abandon the idea of a government-owned 5G network. On the Democratic side, House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone and Mike Doyle, chairman of the panel’s Communications and Technology Subcommittee, began an inquiry into the Defense Department’s potential steps toward a national 5G network and said in a recent statement that the proposal “will do nothing but slow the deployment of this critical technology. The plan … undermines the careful and complicated work done by the FCC and the [National Telecommunications and Information Administration] to allocate this spectrum for commercial use.” They noted that every FCC commissioner, including Chairman Ajit Pai, opposes “a nationalized 5G network.”

Two months ago, President Trump promised that “the American wireless industry will be able to build and operate 5G networks.” So why have a duplicative and expensive government-operated system to compete with private employers when the market is on track to build out secure, robust, competitive 5G networks?

Like a bad penny, this is the fifth time this ill-advised idea has surfaced. On the previous occasions, American telecommunications networks were reaffirmed as the domain of the private sector. A government-owned or government-supported network would simply be slower to build and slower to deploy. America needs 5G to maintain its global competitive advantage in technology leadership, and the sooner the better.

Originally published at CQ Roll Call

Buying a piece of America from abroad? Here are your rates….

As of 9:04 am EST 22 October 2020, here are your exchange rates from selected countries:

1 Euro = $1.19 USD

1 Kwanza= $0.0015 USD

1 Rand= $0.061 USD

1 Naira= $0.0026 USD

1 Rupee= $0.014 USD

1 Shilling= $0.0092 USD

1 Yuan= $0.15 USD

1 Eastern Caribbean Dollar= $0.31 USD

Source: Morningstar

Foreign exchange: For businesses and individuals buying the US …

As of 9:02 AM EST, here is the price of the US dollar in particular foreign currencies:

1 Euro= $1.19 USD

1 Angolan Kwanza= $0.0015 USD

1 South African Rand=$0.061 USD

1 Nigerian Naira= $0.0026 USD

1 Indian Rupee = $0.014

1 Kenyan Shilling = $0.0092

1 Chinese Yuan= $0.15

1 Eastern Caribbean Dollar=$.37

Source: Morningstar

Biden must manage the bond markets …

Blacks have never been monolithic ….There is a difference between the electoral markets i.e. buying votes with promises and I.O.U.s, versus governance. As Joe Biden extends his popular vote lead and contemplates last minute strategies for winning the Electoral College, he has been answering phone calls from bond fund managers at Blackrock, PIMCO, and Vanguard, all of whom have been reminding him that his future Treasury secretary and he will have to determine how much spending will be necessary to keep his social program promises to lower and middle income Black Americans while not eroding the asset values of upper middle income and high income Black Americans (who, contrary to popular belief, have never been in the same boat). The bond markets, as Bill Clinton and James Carville realized, is the standard that matters…

……promises, promises…..

“You mean to tell me that the success of the economic program and my re-election hinges on the Federal Reserve and a bunch of fucking bond traders?” — Bill Clinton

“I used to think that if there was reincarnation, I wanted to come back as the president or the pope or as a .400 baseball hitter. But now I would like to come back as the bond market. You can intimidate everybody.” — James Carville

A balanced Section 230 review means creating rules that protect capital and free speech …

News, Analysis, and Opinion

On 15 October 2020, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, released the following statement:

“Members of all three branches of the federal government have expressed serious concerns about
the prevailing interpretation of the immunity set forth in Section 230 of the Communications Act.
There is bipartisan support in Congress to reform the law. The U.S. Department of Commerce
has petitioned the Commission to ‘clarify ambiguities in section 230.’ And earlier this week,
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas pointed out that courts have relied upon ‘policy and
purpose arguments to grant sweeping protections to Internet platforms’ that appear to go far
beyond the actual text of the provision.

“As elected officials consider whether to change the law, the question remains: What does
Section 230 currently mean? Many advance an overly broad interpretation that in some cases
shields social media companies from consumer protection laws in a way that has no basis in the
text of Section 230. The Commission’s General Counsel has informed me that the FCC has the
legal authority to interpret Section 230. Consistent with this advice, I intend to move forward
with a rulemaking to clarify its meaning.

“Throughout my tenure at the Federal Communications Commission, I have favored regulatory
parity, transparency, and free expression. Social media companies have a First Amendment right
to free speech. But they do not have a First Amendment right to a special immunity denied to
other media outlets, such as newspapers and broadcasters.”

Twitter has recently been called out for apparently prohibiting its subscribers from sharing or “retweeting” an article in The New York Post that alleges that Robert Hunter Biden, son of Democratic presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden, attempted to engage in transactions from which his family would benefit including arranging a meeting in 2014 between then Vice-President Biden and an executive with a Ukrainian energy firm. Twitter, after an accumulation of press attention to their policy limiting redistribution of the article, decided to reverse its blocking action regarding tweets based on “hacked information.”

Twitter, and other internet companies that publish content posted by its subscribers have enjoyed protection from civil liability pursuant to 47 U.S.C. 230(c)(1) and (c)(2). The provisions read as follows:

(c)Protection for “Good Samaritan” blocking and screening of offensive material

(1)Treatment of publisher or speaker

No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.

(2)Civil liabilityNo provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of—

(A)any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected; or

(B)any action taken to enable or make available to information content providers or others the technical means to restrict access to material described in paragraph (1).

The intent of Section 230 was to incentivize the development of the internet by encouraging the development of free speech on this advanced communications medium. Young internet companies might have been discouraged to harbor public speech on their platforms if they were to be held liable for untoward speech.

If they were to enjoy the protection from civil liability offered in return for their maintaining the internet as a public forum, they in turn could not, to steal a phrase from Mark Zuckerberg, act as the arbiter of speech. Restricting access to information on their platforms would call for a demonstration that the action was taken to restrict dissemination of information falling in the boxes created in 47 U.S.C. 230(c)(2).

Our general thesis is that where government chooses a capitalist model for management of a political economy, it promotes income growth by encouraging capital flow which it expects to lead to increased tax revenues and returns on and to capital. Government helps facilitate the energy in the political economy that investors draw from. If a Section 230 review reduces Twitter’s ability to attract, manage, and provide returns on capital to investors, then either Twitter’s business model is failing, government policy is failing, or Twitter business judgment combined with government action has led to failure.

If the stock market is any indication, equity investors may be wary of any actions taken against Twitter’s social media model. When the stock market opened on 14 October 2020, Twitter’s share price was $47.49. As news of Twitter’s actions regarding The New York Post article surfaced and spread, the market price fell, closing at $45.97.

By 11:00 am 15 October, Twitter’s share price had fallen to $44.53, but had climbed to $46.04 by close of the cash trade. Chairman Pai’s balanced tone in announcing a FCC review may have helped calm fears about Twitter.

Twitter’s actions may have given cannon fodder to the Trump administration’s position that Twitter and other social media companies are biased against conservative speech. Last July, the Administration filed, via the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, a petition seeking a rulemaking by the FCC clarifying how Section 230 is to be applied to social media companies like Twitter. The FCC will have to balance America’s “School House Rock” narrative on free speech, a narrative promoted on the premise that such freedoms encourage a more harmonious union among citizens, with the probability of extinguishing or severely a private company that follows an equally important although overlooked narrative that government promotes the generation of income, profit, and taxes by private actors who leverage private investor capital.

Only a balanced set of rules will bring proper reconciliation to the issue.