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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The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution contains the “Equal Protection Clause.” Washington, D.C. has long ignored just about all of our founding document – perhaps no portion thereof more than the Equal Protection Clause.
Located at the end of Section I of the Fourteenth, the Equal Protection Clause reads in part:
“No State shall…deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
DC’s devolution from this perfect protection – brings leaping to mind George Orwell. When most people hear the name of the uber-author – they think “Nineteen Eighty-Four.” I’m absolutely a fan of that tome – and much of his oeuvre – but my favorite Orwell effort remains “Animal Farm”:
“(T)wo young pigs, Snowball and Napoleon, assume command and consider it a duty to prepare for the Rebellion.The animals revolt and drive the drunken and irresponsible farmer Mr. Jones from the farm, renaming it ‘Animal Farm.’
“They adopt the Seven Commandments of Animalism, the most important of which is, ‘All animals are equal.’…
“The pigs start to resemble humans, as they walk upright, carry whips, and wear clothes. The Seven Commandments are abridged to a single phrase: ‘All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.’…
“As the animals look from pigs to humans, they realise they can no longer distinguish between the two.”
That certainly sounds like DC gone bad. Adrift – unmoored to and by the Equal Protection Clause. The DC Establishment being made up of Orwell’s overlording pigs and humans – with We the People as the Animal subservient class.
Having forsaken the Equal Protection Clause, DC became susceptible to – and is now rife with – special laws and regulations for special classes. Crony carveouts became commonplace – in fact, the coin of the realm.
If DC had adhered to the Clause – cronyism simply could never have happened.
DC is about to take up tax reform. I’d like to remind everyone that the progressive income tax – is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. It is blatantly unconstitutional to pass one law – with different tax rates for different people.
The Left doesn’t care – they want to soak the rich with higher rates. But the Left will ignore the Equal Protection Clause – and then whine and moan about the wealthy availing themselves of their First Amendment right to “lobby Congress for redress of grievances” – and securing tax “loopholes.” (Which are, of course, tax breaks available to any and everyone. Again – equal protection.)
Of course, the Left’s “solution” to violating one part of the Constitution – is to violate another.
Does the Left look to restore equal protection – and pass a one page tax reform bill that says in large part “Everyone pays X% of their income?” Of course not. They instead look to eviscerate the First Amendment – by circumscribing the right of Americans to speak freely in elections.
The Left calls it “campaign finance ‘reform.’” We the People find it more than a little disturbing to watch elected officials limit the rights of people looking to run against elected officials.
The Left wants to keep violating the Equal Protection Clause – because that puts the entirety of the $4-trillion-a-year federal government on the auction block. Combine that with “reform” that silences anyone who wants to limit government – and you have ever-bigger government in perpetuity, warped to fit the wildest desires of pro-government cronies.
The Senate Minority Leader, Democrat Chuck Schumer, just yesterday gave us an exquisite visual aide of Orwell’s one warped DC Establishment Animal Commandment: “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.”
His office issued a press statement:
“Schumer: Privacy Rules Protecting the Most Sensitive Personal Information Stored on Your Computer or Cell Phone Are About to be Eliminated; Senator Demands House of Reps Kill Attempt to Undo Privacy Rules Before Info on Your Health, Family, Finances & More Is for Sale”
Pithy headline, no? We’ll ignore the raft of factual falsities contained therein, and focus instead on the underlying Equal Protection Claus-violating enormous cronyism Schumer is looking to protect.
Here is about what the Minority Leader is complaining: On the way out the door, the Barack Obama Administration’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) jammed through a “privacy” power grab.
Which wasn’t really legal – because Congress never empowered the FCC to do it.
And it wasn’t really about privacy. What it was about – was gross cronyism. It was a gross violation of the Equal Protection Clause – in the service of a gross crony.
The Obama FCC set up special additional regulations – just for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) (Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner, AT&T, etc). Obviously, ISPs main business and the vast majority of their coin comes from…you know, providing Internet service. In the process of doing that, they do collect some data – which they do sell to advertisers. Again, though, nowhere near a significant portion of their coin.
You know whose colossal coin is almost exclusively derived from collecting and selling your data? Like 95+% of their business model? And to whom the government’s “privacy” power grab – does not at all apply? That would be Google.
Google spawned a parent company – Alphabet. Whose net worth…is over $500 billion. By way of comparison, the nation of Singapore’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – the entire output of every man, woman and child in that very productive country –is $508 billion. Get that? Google stands on equal financial footing – with the world’s 40th richest COUNTRY.
By way of contrast: Comcast, the U.S.’s largest ISP – has a net worth of $148 billion.
Google is HUGE. More than three-and-one-half-times larger than the nation’s largest ISP. Yet Democrats are handing them huge crony policy preferences.
Because what the Donkeys have done – is outlaw a whole raft of ISP competitors to Google’s titanic data selling operation.
And now Schumer is trying to be one of Google’s government enforcers – protecting the massive swaths of additional data-selling turf government just handed them.
In Orwell-speak: For Democrats, it would appear no animal is more equal – than Google.
Schumer’s inanity was in response to the Senate passing a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution. Which – if it also passes the House and is signed by President Donald Trump – will undo this particular massive government Google handout. (There are oh-so-many-others.)
Restoring, if only a little, our government’s adherence to the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.
Which would be a most refreshing change of pace.
[Originally Published at Red State]