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January 14, 2015

Giovanetti: Obama Wants to Socialize the Internet

 

DALLAS—Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI) president Tom Giovanetti issued the following statement following President Obama’s remarks in Iowa:

Today, President Obama is calling for the government to get far more involved in the Internet. He is proposing that towns and cities begin providing broadband services in competition with private providers, under the assumption that government does things cheaper and better than the private sector.

But of course, the only way government does things cheaper is by doing a poorer job and by subsidizing services with taxpayer dollars. That’s why almost every municipal broadband project has ended in poor service, taxpayer losses and bankruptcies, and that’s why many states have placed restrictions on whether and how their municipalities can engage in provision of communications services.

It’s the states’ prerogative to enact laws that protect their taxpayers from municipal boondoggles, and thus outside the authority of the FCC and the Obama administration. But this president has demonstrated that he won’t let rule of law and limitations on presidential authority get in the way of socializing ever more aspects of American life.

So if you like your Post Office and your DMV, you’ll love ObamaNet.

The president also claims to be “lowering barriers to broadband adoption,” but this is patently false: At this very moment, the president is advocating that the FCC adopt onerous, analog telephone regulations for broadband that will discourage investment in broadband products and services. How is this “lowering barriers to broadband adoption?” It isn’t.

And Obama wants to solve cybersecurity threats by getting the government more involved, requiring companies to report to the NSA and to other federal agencies. But didn’t U.S. Central Command have their Twitter account hacked just a few days ago? If the federal government can’t even protect its own military social media accounts, why would we think the government knows better than the private sector how to guard against cyberthreats?  

After six years, we know President Obama thinks the government is the best way to do anything. Since socializing and regulating health care is working so well, why not socialize the Internet?

The rollout and adoption of broadband products and services with minimal government involvement,  and almost entirely with private risk capital, has been one of the great examples of the creativity and innovation inherent in capitalism and free-markets. The axiom “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” should apply here.

Unfortunately, President Obama’s axiom seems to be “if the government isn’t running it, it’s broken.”

Tom Giovanetti is president of the Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI), an independent, nonprofit public policy organization based in Dallas. He is available for interview by contacting Erin Humiston at (972) 874-5139, or erin@ipi.org.

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