Economists Ask Regulators to Help STOP Obama's Internet Takeover

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Last month President Obama stepped into the ongoing net neutrality fight at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) by urging them to adopt the regulatory equivalent of a nuclear bomb – reducing the Internet from a competitive free market to a tightly regulated and heavily taxed public utility.  Various groups, including our organization, are pushing back hard against that proposal. 

This is not a typical right versus left fight. Bill Clinton’s favorite think tank, the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI), observed that the Obama proposal is “inconsistent with the Democratic Party’s legacy” of deregulating the Internet and triggering a free-market boom. Unfortunately, as we’ve seen in other policy areas, President Obama believes federal bureaucrats can and should substitute their own judgments for the market preferences of free individuals.

We have already voiced our anger and astonishment at this flawed policy move: using regulatory practices from the 1930s to regulate an ever evolving and highly innovative contemporary service.  Now, a very prestigious group of economists have weighed in, and in a very unique way.

These scholars penned a letter urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to protect consumers by weighing in with the FCC on the consumer harms of their proposed heavy-handed approach. They said:

“The proposed reclassification of broadband ISPs as Title II common carriers would result in the imposition of a plethora of outdated regulations, price controls, and other burdens on ISPs—all predicated on a presumption that the conduct at issue is either inherently harmful or so harmful as to outweigh possible benefits to consumers. But neither the FCC’s record nor simple economic analysis of the broadband industry supports such a presumption.”

They are right.  Quite simply, this administration’s push to reduce the Internet to a public utility must be stopped, and with the Clintonian PPI, top scholars, and equipment manufacturers joining free-market advocates, it is clear that momentum is building on our side.