Last week, Sen. Byron Dorgan spoke to a room full of Internet regulation supporters at the Free Press Summit and said that the free-market community's argument that Net Neutrality is a government takeover is a lie. He also felt compelled to say that ATR and others were spreading falsehoods by calling it such. I shot back today with a piece in the Daily Caller explaining why I believe Net Neutrality is certainly a government takeover. From the op-ed:
Sen. Dorgan dismissed the argument by the free-market community that this is a government takeover, claiming “nothing could be further from the truth.” But that’s like saying the government isn’t taking over the auto industry, just telling car companies what models they can and can’t make. That they aren’t taking over health care, just telling insurance companies what plans they can and can’t offer.
Net Neutrality is a government takeover. The free-market community isn’t arguing that under these specific regulations the government will now own the industry – though that is the end goal of many Net Neutrality proponents like Free Press. Opponents argue that under the FCC’s Net Neutrality regulations the industry becomes the near absolute pawn of the government. When management practices are approved or denied by a government bureaucrat, it is a certainly a government takeover. And when the first of such regulatory steps tap into the very spine of the Internet – the networks on which everything else depends – that opens the door for further regulation and government intrusion.
It also does not assuage concerns that the FCC, Sen. Dorgan, and Free Press want to completely reclassify Internet access under a different section of the 1934 Communications Act called Title II, only to simply use “forbearance” – or voluntarily restraint – from applying every single regulation in that section to the Internet. The FCC’s forbearance could be temporary and subject to electoral tides and politics, not the consumer-driven free-market. This should be a concern for people on all sides of the political spectrum, who can easily envision specific regulations they oppose suddenly popping up on the FCC’s agenda.
To read the entire op-ed, click here.