Barry Myers was the top lawyer for Accuweather, the weather service founded by his brother Joel. This article from Bloomberg Businessweek chronicles the thirty or so years that Myers spent fighting with the National Weather Service. He had a variety of complaints, not the least of which was that while Accuweather was charging clients to get weather reports, NWS was giving away that stuff for free.
|It's going to be a bad day for somebody.|
The other problem is that the NWS stuff is not free. Yes, they don't charge the users of the information, but we taxpayers have already paid for the whole operation. That is our information-- to collect it and then charge us for it again would be like, well, those times when taxpayers pay for a school building twice (once to build it and once to finance a charter buying it) and still don't own it.
If you clicked through to the article, you already know the other parallel here to education-- Myers was the Trump nominee to head up NOAA (the agency under which NWS falls) in fall of 2017. That has not gone particularly well; in the meantime, the agency is just one more that is operating without a permanent chief. They come under the purview of Wilbur Ross, another swamp dweller.
Oh, and fun trivia. Rick Santorum once tried to float a bill to force the NWS to charge for their stuff, thereby helping Accuweather compete.
So the plan was (or still is-- who knows) to have the government agency that provides an important service for all citizens headed by somebody whose allegiance is with private businesses that want to compete with the taxpayer-funded agency that provides essentially the identical service. Barry Myers, meet Betsy DeVos.
Is there anything new to learn from this? Well, Myers is still not head of the NOAA because some senators actually took a stand. So I guess that could hypothetically work, sometimes. And the silencing and attempted discrediting of actual experts seems familiar. I guess the only other lesson here for public education advocates is that it's not just us-- if the government does it, and taxpayers pay for it, somebody would like to make a buck offering a private alternative, and they would like to kneecap the government in order to do it. It's not just education.