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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President-elect Donald Trump is from all appearances looking from Day One to very rapidly go very “big league.” And by “big league” – he means huge reductions in the amounts of the federal government to which we are subjected.
After more than a century of Washington, D.C. ceaselessly, inexorably vacuuming up power that Constitutionally belongs to the states, municipalities and/or We the People – Trump’s revolution will be about re-devolving power.
Trump’s not doing this as the implementation of a lifelong ideological crusade. Because he’s not an ideological crusader. He’s a businessman – he just wants things to work. And he has spent a lifetime watching government (at all levels) royally screw up…basically everything.
Call this the Reality Revolution. DC has spent a century-plus ignoring Reality – Trump intends to again acknowledge it.
Trump was throughout the campaign routinely ridiculed by the Left and the Never Trump Right for his amorphous pledge to hire “the best people.” Turns out he wasn’t kidding. He is rapidly assembling, almost inarguably, the most deregulatory Cabinet in our nation’s history.
Heck, Trump’s nominated as Energy Secretary former Texas Governor Rick Perry – who four years ago ran for President pledging to close the Energy Department. It doesn’t get any more deregulatory than that. (And it should be closed – and be just one of oh-so-very-many to go.)
Because Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama grew so much government via Executive Branch fiat – Trump can undo a lot of it himself. But there are slates of government that must be undone by President Trump and Congress together. Enter Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan.
I saw Fox News’ Bret Baier interview Ryan the day after the election – just after Ryan had met with Trump. Ryan was so excited, I don’t think he blinked once during the entire conversation. He nigh breathlessly, repeatedly, joyously said how fast Trump says he wants to hit the ground running. And Ryan metaphorically had his feet on the desk – lacing up and tying tight his track shoes. He appears to want to jubilantly join Trump in the race.
Last week during a CNBC interview, Ryan said that at the end of 2015 he had (wisely, I add parenthetically) told his Committee Chairman to spend 2016 writing full-on, ready-to-go reform bills. Preparing as if the Republicans would in 2017 control both houses of Congress and the White House.
And now Republicans do. Here’s hoping they’ve learned the lessons of the last time they did – and royally screwed it up. Under President George W. Bush in the 2000s. We the People – then as now – wanted less government. The Republicans instead unleashed a spending and earmark avalanche, passed massive new entitlements, drastically and badly expanded the Feds’ role in education and tried to jam through illegal alien amnesty.
A resume that cost them the Congress in 2006 and the White House in 2008. Let us not repeat that mistake. Save for his ridiculous $1 trillion infrastructure boondoggle, Trump doesn’t appear to be anywhere near doing so. And (cautiously, I add parenthetically) it doesn’t sound like Ryan is either.
President Bill Clinton in 1996 famously said “the era of big government is over.” Because, way back then, he knew that that is what We the People wanted. It was why we had just elected a Republican House for the first time in (then) forty years.
Twenty years later – We the People are still waiting for the epoch to actually end. Here’s hoping that terminus has finally arrived.
Trump ran on truly revolutionary reforms. And won. Congress should acknowledge that fact – and act upon it. Trump ran on repealing and replacing terminally ill Obamacare – and is nominating the people to do it. Don’t futz around, Congress – do it. All the way. Trump ran on repealing the Dodd-Frank banking disaster legislation – and is nominating the people to do it. Don’t futz around, Congress – do it. All the way.
And this full-on, big league reform should be executed in every area government is poisoning the private sector. Which is…every area of the private sector. And just because a sector isn’t a big part of the conversation – doesn’t mean it isn’t a big part of the private sector.
To wit: the Tech sector. Which has rapidly grown to be 1/6 of our entire economy. And the Obama Administration’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) spent its entire existence pummeling it with huge power grab after huge power grab.
The biggest, Net Neutrality, garnered a correctly derogatory 2014 Trump Tweet. Trump’s Tech transition team matches the rest of the Trump transition team – it is fantastic. Deregulatory folks who know the sector – and know all that needs to be (un)done.
A Trump FCC can its own self roll back many of these abuses. And it absolutely should. But the Commission is operating under the antiquated, sclerotic 1996 Telecommunications Act. Get that? Think of the innumerable millions (billions?) of technological advancements that have taken place since NINETEEN-NINETY-SIX.
Think of the exponential evolutions over two decades delivered us by the Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Who exponentially grew Internet speeds – thus making possible the exponential evolutions of the “edge providers” (Google, Facebook, Netflix, etc), computer companies, cellular phone companies, applications companies, etc, etc, etc.
During all of which Congress updated…nothing. Again, the Trump Administration-to-be is wide-open for a full-on, big league reform. Congress shouldn’t futz around – they should deliver it. A complete rewrite of the 1996 Act – the 2017 (or, ok, 2018) Telecommunications Act.
The private sector left the ’96 Act completely behind a LONG time ago. We need a wholly new law – but this time with demarcated, delineated limits on what the federal government can and CAN NOT do.
No more leaving huge decisions to the bureaucrats – they will never, ever defer to and thus leave alone the private sector. No more nebulous bureaucrat powers to unilaterally determine things like the “public interest” – they will always use them as government weapons against the private sector.
The 21st-Century, constantly-changing Tech Sector needs revolutionary new law. To represent the times – both technologically, and the long-time sentiment of its long-suffering people.
Now is not the time to tinker around the edges. Trump didn’t run on it. Ryan didn’t prep for it. We the People don’t want it.]
Now is the time for big league reforms that result in much less government. Trump ran on it. Ryan prepped for it. We the People want it.
Let’s do it.
[Originally Published at RedState]