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.
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If President Barack Obama doesn’t like you – his government tends to make your life really, REALLY miserable. Ask Tea Party and conservative groups – when Obama’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS) isn’t harassing them, it is allowing them to endlessly languish unapproved. Ask reporters who report things in ways the President doesn’t like – his government spies on and investigates them. Ask the coal industry – Obama’s administration is unilaterally regulating it out of existence. And on, and on, and…
But President Obama doesn’t have to specifically dislike you. He need only prefer your regulatory opponent – and at their behest he will make your life really, REALLY miserable. To wit: the Tech sector.
The Administration’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in February – via Title II Reclassification and Network Neutrality – unilaterally declared itself the pernicious overlord of all Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Is it because he dislikes the likes of Comcast and Time Warner? It would be difficult to think so.
In fact, Comcast is melded with…NBC. Which means NBC News. Included therein is the completely ridiculous MSNBC and the freshly ridiculous CNBC. How on Earth could President Obama dislike them?
He could – if a bigger Crony asked him to do so. Behold: Google.
Google spent most of the 2000s pushing mightily for Net Neutrality. Because it forces ISPs to give mega-bandwidth-hog-companies like Google (and Facebook and Amazon) unlimited Internet service – for free. It doesn’t get much more Crony than that.
Net Neutrality went nowhere legislatively. Because Americans have a very difficult time believing the free speech-free market Xanadu that is the Internet – is in dire need of fundamental transformation. Prior to Election 2010, 95 Democrats signed a pro-Net Neutrality pledge – all 95 lost. The group responsible for the pledge – raised on it a whopping $300. It was a dead issue.
Until the Age of Obama. President Obama has a proven track record of not caring a whit about what We the People want. We were opposed to the 2009 “Stimulus” (it in fact incepted the Tea Party movement) – the president gave it to us anyway. We were (and remain) opposed to ObamaCare – the president gave it to us anyway.
So We the People started electing Republican Congressional majorities – to demonstrate and embody our opposition. What was the Crony Administration to do? It simply stopped using Congress. And started unilaterally issuing executive fiats to impose things we didn’t like – but the Cronies did. Like Net Neutrality – for Google.
But the Title II Reclassification is a HUGE power grab. It gives the Obama Administration sudden (highly dubious) uber-authority over the ENTIRE Internet – not just ISPs. Which means the likes of Google also fall under its monstrous thumb – if it chooses to press down its digit. Does the Crony Administration do so? Of course not.
In case you were unsure – Google is an “edge provider.”
No one – NO ONE – tracks you like Google. Tracking you – and then selling you and what you do online – is just about their entire trillion-dollar-business-model. The Crony Administration certainly wouldn’t put a stop to that.
What happens when government regulates the living daylight out of one part of a sector – and leaves another utterly unfettered?
The Cronies ask – the Crony Administration delivers. It is, as always, really, REALLY good to be a friend of Obama.