Help Keep the Internet Free
April 20, 2015
Despite Obama’s professed desire to keep the Internet free, he has taken steps that will insure the opposite result. Never forget the adage that whenever the government names something, the result is almost always the opposite.
History is replete with examples of this truth. The most recent – the “Affordable Care Act” - has resulted in higher costs for both health care and health insurance. The Patriot Act has given the government unprecedented ability to violate our freedom and privacy. The Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act has given Wall Street brokers and bankers even more power to use to their advantage – and against the interests of the consumers it professes to protect.
Perhaps the most egregious lie in our history was in the name of the Social Security Act. I’m sure many lawmakers in 1935 thought they were doing a good thing – just as many patriotic congressmen voted for the Patriot Act. But government can’t help itself. It has an illness that it cannot control. The more power we give government, the more it abuses that power. And there is no 12-Step Program for the government.
The Social Security Act of 1935 was supposed to provide – security. Prior to its enactment, people did an odd thing. They saved money. But then the government said, “Don’t worry! Be happy! We’ll take care of you in your old age.” And our savings rate (actual personal savings minus debt) started dropping. At times we have actually had negative savings rates since then. Today our savings rate is about 5% - but third world countries put us to shame. Indians save 28%, as do the Vietnamese. Brazilians save three times as much as we do. And China blows everyone away with a savings rate of 51%!
But that’s OK – we have Social “Security,” right? The government says we do. So it must be true. The fact is that the Social Security “Trust Fund” (the “Lock Box” the president likes to talk about) has NOTHING in it – except dusty IOU’s from the federal government. That’s right – the Treasury has raided the funds intended for the SECURITY of US citizens to pay for lots of stuff we don’t want or need. And the Social Security System is now paying out more every year than it takes in. (Good luck getting back the money the government “borrowed.”)
So, back to the Internet. Obama is using a new phrase – “Net Neutrality.” (It’s reminiscent of “Marriage Equality,” which sounds good, but actually means “Perversion of Marriage.”) Supposedly it will keep cable providers from forcing us to use certain websites and blocking us from using others. It’s a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist. Sure, companies can (and have) tried such tricks. But the marketplace takes care of them. Try to make me go to sites you want, and I’ll just switch to another ISP (Internet Service Provider). Bad guy loses customers and goes out of business; problem solved.
But Obama, like all good Socialists, truly believes that only an all-wise, all-knowing Big Brother government can save society from itself. He wants the FCC to declare the Internet an “essential service” (a common carrier) and to take over regulation of it under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. (The Act was updated in 1996.) If you watch his video statement (see LINK below) he actually sounds reasonable.
But ask yourself this question: When has the government ever regulated anything without taxing it? The justification seems clear: If government has to regulate something, it has to pass thousands of pages of rules and regulations, and then hire bureaucrats to carry out those rules and regulations. Of course, all of this costs money, so the government must impose taxes. At first they will be so small you won’t even notice them. But they will grow and grow. Remember that the Income Tax started at 1%; it was levied only against the rich; and it only taxed passive income (such as rent or dividends). Today it covers every conceivable type of income; it covers everyone; and at its worst the tax rate reached as high as 70%! (Thank you, Ronald Reagan for lowering that.)
Do you remember the book written during the Cold War: “You Can Trust the Communists – to be Communists.” To paraphrase, “You can trust the Government – to be Bureaucrats.” You can trust the government to regulate the Internet – until they completely control every aspect of it. It’s not that everyone in the government is evil (although some certainly are). They just can’t control themselves. Give them an inch and they just have to take a mile (or ten). It’s a compulsion, a passionate desire, an undeniable craving. There’s never enough power; they must have more and more and more.
If Obama really wanted the Internet to be free, he would not have turned it over to a world body in which Cuba, Communist China, Russia and other countries that are known censors of the Internet will have as much say over its regulation (perhaps more) than we do. See my article “US Gives Away the Internet (LINK below). We invented the Internet; we developed it at great cost; and we basically controlled it via an organization called ICANN. As the article describes, we gave away our influence at Obama’s insistence, creating a grave threat to our national security. As I said in the article, “Yeah, I would trust the UN with running the Internet. Wouldn't you?”
In addition to burdening the Internet with taxes and government red tape, we are in danger of crushing the development of new businesses. We have all watched the box stores like Walmart and Costco crush small local stores. Supermarket chains have made the corner grocery store a fond memory. And the local bank where someone actually knows you? I predict that within a decade there will be no more than three national banks that will have swallowed all the independents.
The Internet is the last frontier for entrepreneurs. If left alone, trillions of dollars’ worth of innovation, sales and service will take place on the Internet. But if Obama has his way, the Internet as we know it will be a thing of the past. I encourage you to read Ted Cruz’s great article, “Regulating the Internet Threatens Entrepreneurial Freedom” and to sign The National Review’s “Petition to Keep Internet Speech Free.” (LINKS to both are provided below.)
“So what's wrong with Internet regulation?” some might say. The government regulates everything else - why not the Internet? Simply because it is one of the very few places left on this planet where freedom reigns. It’s the last bastion of free speech. (Remember, radio and TV are already regulated by the government.)
Do I like all the stuff that gets posted on the Internet? No, I HATE much of it. But Obama’s plan has nothing to do with keeping our kids safe, or getting rid of Internet porn. It's all about control. And of course the billions in taxes wouldn't upset the politicians.
Ted Cruz: Regulating the Internet Threatens Entrepreneurial Freedom
National Review’s “Petition to Keep Internet Speech Free”
What is Title II?
Obama Urges FCC to Protect “Net Neutrality”
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