One of America's leading authorities on technology and telecom policy, Motley is a writer, television and radio commentator, political and policy strategist, lecturer, debater, activist, and policy advisor to The Heartland Institute.
Latest posts by Seton Motley (see all)
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- Localities Shouldn’t Be Dictating (Inter-)National Policy - July 17, 2019
One of the advantages Big Government advocates have in their efforts to end the private sector – is the size of the victim. A $17-trillion-a-year economy is so huge – it almost always takes a lot of time to dismantle.
It’s like taking down those giant oliphants in the “Lord of the Rings.” Our economy can take a LOT of government arrows – and continue its march forward. Slowed, bowed – but still moving.
And here’s the really obnoxious part. As the private sector is dragged down by the government assaults – Big Government advocates say it’s proof that the PRIVATE SECTOR doesn’t work.
Which is like being shot – and then having the shooter yell at you for bleeding on them.
Occasionally, the government attack is so huge – it does rapid, recognizable damage. And the line of correlation can be easily drawn. See: ObamaCare.
Far more often, the injuries take time to accrue. An ever-increasingly regulated sector doesn’t go from 60mph to 0mph. It goes from 60 to 55. Then 55 to 50. Then 50 to 45….
So the Big Government advocates get away with the damage they do – and with blaming their victims for ultimately collapsing in a taxes-and-regulations-addled heap.
We Less Government advocates do our best to make people understand all of this. We are, as always, woefully outgunned – but we occasionally win a skirmish here or there.
For instance, we have successfully explained the damage government is poised to do to the Internet. With Network Neutrality. With unilateral regulatory “Reclassification” – which is the Barack Obama Administration all by itself deciding to impose on the Web 1934 land line telephone and railroad law.
We have successfully detailed the looming huge regulations. And huge taxes. And how any new regulation diminishes private investment – and how these huge new regulations will hugely diminish it.
In short, how the Internet was pre-Obama likely the freest part of the private sector – and is now likely the most under government’s thumb.
How do we know we won this fight? Because we never were given a chance to actually fight it.
Big Government advocates didn’t get Congress to pass a law creating Net Neutrality and/or Reclassification – because they couldn’t. Big Government big-footing the Web has never been popular. In 2010, ninety-five Democrats signed a pre-election Net Neutrality pledge. All ninety-five lost.
Having lost the messaging war – Big Government advocates turned to tyranny. And had three unelected Democrat bureaucrats at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unilaterally slam the Net.
How else do we know we won? Because they are spending a lot of time trying do undo our explanations of what they’ve done.
The new imposition has only been in place for less than half a year. Most of the (tens of) thousands of pages of new regulations – haven’t even yet been written.
And the Internet sector is 1/6th of our entire economy – i.e. HUGE. This oliphant won’t immediately keel over.
Thus, to say that the mostly-unwritten rules haven’t yet broken the Net – therefore the rules will NEVER break the Net – is…absurd. But Big Government advocates specialize in the absurd.
The investment argument is especially ridiculous. Many companies plot their investment allocations YEARS in advance. They are currently investing money for which they budgeted – in the 2000s.
What hasn’t taken very long – is Big Government advocates using this newly minted Big Government to attack the sector.
Of course, taking them at their word is always…dubious.
We can’t be sure if the FCC has actually received 2000+ complaints. After all, we were told – about theactually-fifty-fifty nature of the Net Neutrality Comments the FCC received – that they were overwhelmingly pro-Big Government.
Remember when we said the FCC hadn’t yet actually fleshed out the rules? That’s not nearly all of the uncertainty that exists.
What is not clear, however, is exactly how the FCC is supposed to enforce its rules against companies that violate the open Internet laws.
Speaking earlier this week in front of a congressional subcommittee, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler admitted to the commission that the FCC had yet to figure out how exactly it will be able to exercise its authority over ISPs and enforce penalties.
Get that? The FCC has “yet to figure out how exactly it will be able to exercise its authority over ISPs and enforce penalties.” This MASSIVE uncertainty won’t hurt the Internet at all, I’m sure.
But wait a minute. Wheeler and his FCC have in fact already figured out how to use its undefined, amorphous power-grabbed powers to line its pockets at the expense of We the Consumers – I mean, enforce penalties.
Seems pretty figured out to me.
Of course, every penny government forces out of companies – forces companies to charge us more for their goods and services. Because pro-consumer – or something.
Anti-consumer is huge new government power grabs – with prospectively tens of thousands of new pages of regulation. Which are “in place” – but haven’t yet been written.
Anti-consumer is a huge grab that empowers the government to impose confiscatory new taxes. And unlimited fines.
All of that – and more – is what Big Government just did to the Internet.
Think that won’t damage the Web? Not necessarily now – but over time as the government poison seeps throughout the system?
Of course you know it will. So too do the Big Government advocates.
They just can’t admit it – and must instead blame the private sector at which they take perpetual aim.