“When the El Paso school system wanted to upgrade its Internet connections three years ago, it tapped into a federal program that offers assistance for such projects. The program paid the International Business Machines Corporation IBM $35 million to build a network powerful enough to serve a small city. But the network would be so sophisticated that the 90-school district could not run it without help.” (Laughing.) Come on, now! These are schools! This is what people who know things that others don’t, teach people those things! Now we’ve got a school that can’t figure out how to
“Foreseeing the problem, IBM charged the district the additional $27 million, paid for by the federal government, to build a lavish maintenance call-in center to keep the network running.” So it’s tech support (laughing) for all these teachers that know more than your kid to call in and find out how to teach them what they don’t know! (Laughing.) (Hitting desk.) “The center operated for nine months,” the tech support center, “then with no more money to support it, IBM shut it down. The federal effort to help poor schools connect to the Internet is called the E-rate program which collects a fee from all American phone users to distribute
“In Broward County, Florida, school districts used e-rate money to install a $1 million network server, a more powerful device, more suited to the needs of a multinational corporation than a 650-pupil elementary school. And just three weeks ago in San Francisco a subsidiary of the computer giant NEC agreed to plead guilty to two federal felony counts related to the program.” I have a question. This e-rate program. You remember us talking about this on this program? It’s the Gore tax; the e-rate program is the Gore tax. You don’t even know it because the phone company is not allowed to list it on your bill. But you pay a tax on your phone bill
Remember seeing that? Eighty percent of the schools were already wired when they started this program. There was all kinds of hell broke loose. People didn’t want to pay the e-tax because this e-tax goes way back to when the phone was first invented and people that lived out on the farms in the boondocks didn’t have phone service. So we had to collect taxes to wire phone lines all the way out to the boondocks back in the early days of the country, back in the Alexander Graham Bell days, and it’s a tax that’s never been repealed, sort of like the toll on your bridge that’s “going to be removed when they pay for the bridge,” but guess what? (Laughing.) They never pay for the bridge, or they don’t appear to. So the same thing here, total rip-off, fraud and waste, government program,
RUSH: Russ in Vero Beach, Florida. Thank you for calling, sir. Welcome to the program.
CALLER: Thank you, Rush. I hope you’re having a good day.
RUSH: Yeah, great day. Thank you.
CALLER: I just heard the little piece you were talking about, the El Paso school system, and let’s say their “possible overspending on getting basic Internet services” as loaded out to —
RUSH: Possible? Possible overspending? (Laughing.)
CALLER: Well, you know, we always have to kind of the John Kerry thing. You’ve got to see both sides of what’s going on.
RUSH: All right. (Laughing.)
CALLER: Well, the point I wanted to make is that I work for a company that sells that type of networking equipment to these various schools and I can tell you from experiences that the… How shall I say this politically correctly. The biggest ignoramus —
RUSH: No! No! I don’t want to hear it the politically correct way.
RUSH: That doesn’t happen here. You’re anonymous. Nobody knows who you are. Just launch.
CALLER: Okay the biggest ignoramuses are — when it comes to information technology — are the people who are running the different schools.
RUSH: I know. Stop and think about that for a minute. The people, the biggest ignoramuses in the information technology sector, IT, are
CALLER: Absolutely, and where a hundred-dollar —
CALLER: Where a hundred-dollar solution would be just fine, they just go to this federal spigot of the Gore tax, open the faucet by filling out some papers, fill buckets full of our money and go out and buy, you know, a $500,000 solution when a hundred-dollar Internet connection from their local cable company would do just fine and dandy.
RUSH: Exactly. (Laughing.) I know. They come up with this massive system that nobody can figure out how to learn, nobody, and then they need a tech support system for the teachers to call before they can utilize this in teaching classes. I mean, it’s absurd. The whole thing is just absurd, and it’s typical of the top-down way that education is happening. When I hear people say, “We’re not spending enough money on education,” this is a classic example of what I mean when I say that is false.
CALLER: We are not spending too little on education. We are educating these people beyond their intelligence, and I’m talking about these IT directors and the teachers.
RUSH: That’s sad.
CALLER: I fully agree.
RUSH: I mean, teachers by their definition, know more than anybody else.
CALLER: By definition, but this type network equipment that gets installed is to 12- and 13-year-old guys who are in these classes. Not to slight the ladies here, but it’s the 12- and 13-year-old guys who can make this stuff work and the school district support people —
CALLER: — all the way up from their technicians that they hire, all the way up to the CIOs, have no idea what this stuff has done. After they’ve bought it they can’t explain what they bought it for —
RUSH: And that’s the thing. That’s the thing. They don’t even know why they’re buying this. It’s just information superhighway stuff, the Gore tax. “We’ve got to wire the schools,” and bammo! “Let’s go!” without any forethought as to why. It is a great sales job, there’s no question, but how about this: The 12- and 13-year-old male students, the guys in these classrooms have got this figured out, and they’re learning to be hackers. They’re learning all kinds of stuff here. (Laughing.)
CALLER: Oh, yes —
RUSH: They probably can keep the teachers from learning what they want to learn just by hacking the system. (Laughing.)
CALLER: Exactly. I mean that’s how they trade grades, change grades and that’s how they do things like if you look at their caches what they’ve been looking at the Internet, I can tell you 90% chance that they’re not going to be educational sites.
RUSH: (Laughing.) Pardon me for laughing. This is —
CALLER: I just wanted to throw that in on you, what you’re talking about there is not an isolated incident and because this money flows out of a bucket out of our pockets and is basically not checked the things like you talked about there, and I think there was Broward County, Florida, you talked about —
RUSH: That’s right.
CALLER: — those are, I mean those are the top of the tip of the tip of the tip of the iceberg. In my experience.
RUSH: I’m sure you’re right. I mean because this is a common program. Can you imagine if they’re doing this in the school, where else we’re installing things that are unworkable in, like, say — no wonder we have to outsource at the welfare department, in various states. We have to outsource because the computer systems been installed, only Indian kids over there in India can figure out how to deal with it.
CALLER: Well, if you’ve got a minute, Rush, you mentioned this outsourcing. I mean, this thing is a big brouhaha that’s built up I’ve got customers that do outsource. Of course they want to keep it under the radar now because they don’t want to be branded as pariahs —
RUSH: Hang on because I’ve got a break here. Can you hang on? I don’t want to interrupt your story so start again when we come back from the break —
CALLER: No problem.
RUSH: Sounds like we’re going to get some inside poop here on outsourcing as well, folks. Wonder what role the kids have in this. (ear-splitting tone) Okay, back to Russ in Vero Beach, who sells high-tech information technology network equipment. You were going to say something about outsourcing.
CALLER: Yeah, you know, we hear all the brouhaha about this and of course the poodle, Mr. Kerry, can’t help himself making an issue about it all the time, but I just want to, you know, share an example with your listeners about a company that I know. Well, I’ll just say east of the Mississippi that does some outsourcing to India, and they set up the business as their call center. They take calls for companies and they make calls on behalf of companies, and they went out and built their business to set up operations in inner cities and disadvantaged areas so the
CALLER: Right, and the searching for hiring process of and the costs of that and the training of these people, and then to have them quit after a year or less. You know, 95 out of a hundred employees you’ve got to go do the whole process again. The turnover rate in India is 2% range.
RUSH: And stability in the labor force is key.
RUSH: You need to know what the costs are going to be. You need to know what the personnel is going to be. You need to be able to worry about it as little as possible.
CALLER: Right and he doesn’t pay, to my knowledge — and again I don’t run his business for him — but he’s not paying, you know, pennies to have these people in India. He’s paying a pretty substantial wage to get people there. But he doesn’t have to worry about the turnover. He doesn’t have to worry about the retraining, and that drops a lot of money right out of the business.
RUSH: Yeah, that’s amazing. That’s a great point. Okay, Russ, thanks very much. I appreciate all this. This has been fabulous, and I’m glad that you were able to get through and share all this with us.
CALLER: Well, Rush, never let it be said I didn’t do the least I could do.
RUSH: (Laughing.) Exactly right, and we appreciate the least you could do, because it was tremendous.
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