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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The Barack Obama Administration has nominated Tom Wheeler to replace Julius Genachowski as Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman. (Wheeler awaits Senate approval.)
Wheeler has – Heaven forfend – actually held pertinent private sector gigs:
Wheeler served as president of the National Cable Television Association (NCTA), and later as CEO of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA).
Many on the Left find Wheeler’s real-world experience and knowledge troubling:
Senator Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent (umm, he’s a Socialist), (said)… “I…am troubled that President Obama would appoint the former head of two major industry lobbying associations to regulate the industry.”
Many on the Left find it very troubling:
(M)ore than two dozen public interest groups (umm, they’re government interest groups) wrote to Obama expressing alarm that the president was considering a candidate “who was the head of not one but two major industry lobbying groups.
“After decades of industry-backed chairmen, we need a strong consumer advocate and public interest representative at the helm….It’s time to end regulatory capture at the FCC and restore balance to government oversight.”
“Industry-backed chairmen?” Let’s take a brief look at how Genachowski has treated the industry.
Opposition from whom?
But wait…that’s the industry – suing to overturn the unilateral decision of “industry-backed” Chairman Genachowski. Hmmm…. How else has this Chairman “backed” the industry (into a corner)?
And how did the industry like that?
Never before have so many trial lawyers made so much money during the “regulatory capture” rule of an “industry-backed” Chairman.
Now comes Wheeler. Who will inherit amongst other terrible policies these oppressive Net Neutrality regulations – and the lawsuits pending to undo them. The FCC doesn’t have the authority to impose Net Neutrality – the D.C. Circuit Court has already once ruled they don’t.
And that same Court will likely rule that way again.
Chairman-to-be-Wheeler – why continue this unilateral regulatory and litigative folly? Why not move to withdraw these unlawful Net Neutrality rules? After all, We the People are paying for both sides of the lawsuit to undo this power grab.
As Taxpayers, we are paying for the government’s lawyers to defend the defenseless. And as Internet users, we are all paying again. All the time, money and effort the industry has to waste attempting to undo the FCC’s overreach could and would be much better spent improving for us their goods and services – and thus the Internet.
It’s always amusing to have Leftist power grabs force these uber-expensive lawsuits – while Leftists complain about industry’s allegedly high prices, inflated by the companies having to pass along to us the costs of these lawsuits and lawyers.
We already have a much better way to deal with Net Neutrality violations. On a case-by-case basis – rather than a top-down, all-encompassing regulatory approach. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has on its side what the FCC does not – existing law, authority and expertise.
(W)e (at the FTC) are up to the task of addressing competition and consumer protection issues arising in Internet markets generally, and more specifically, of applying our considerable experience and expertise in analyzing the vertical issues to the net neutrality context.
That is, when Net Neutrality violations actually occur – which Genachowski admits they aren’t.
And Chairman-to-be-Wheeler – would you please close your predecessor’s Internet reclassification order, which has now been open for nearly three years?
This is a terrible idea.
Title II is how the FCC over-regulates land line telephone lines – you know, that bastion of innovation lo these last seventy-plus years. Title II opens up the Pandora’s Box of uber-regulation of the Internet. But wait – there’s more.
Under Title II, President Obama can also begin to tax the Internet. Just as the Feds tax landlines. Just as they already tax the living daylights out of your wireless Internet – checked your cell phone bill lately? It’s 17.4% – and climbing, an $8 billion total take in 2010 – and hurtling ever upward.
Chairman-to-be-Wheeler, you could do immense good for the American people’s wallets and freedom – and the continued uber-advancement of the Internet – if you ended your predecessor’s existing and prospective power grabs, and kept the FCC within its legal authority limits.
It would be a welcome, refreshing change of the way Washington usually does business.
[First Published at Red State]