When All Else Fails, Tax the Internet!


You’ve already taxed cigarettes, bagels, sugar, salt, things that move, things that don’t move, things that move sideways on Thursdays, people who disagree with you and small mammals. So what’s left? Well, why if it isn’t the Internet! There’s something that’s failed to bend to the will of Congress on regular occasions. Some might even say it regularly defeats them.

Which explains why they want to tax and regulate it, naturally.

According to Friday’s post on The Hill’s hilariously named technology blog, Hillicon Valley, that’s the view, at least, of Massachusetts Democrat and failed Presidential candidate Senator John Kerry. In a letter issued just days ago, he’s urging his US Senate colleagues to oppose a pending resolution to scrap the Administration’s widely unpopular net neutrality ruling, allowing the Federal government to begin regulating the Internet.

According to Hillicon Valley’s blog, Kerry wrote that:

supporting the Senate resolution against Net Neutrality would, “…stifle innovation and discourage investment…,” and, “…put at risk health rules, environmental protections, worker rights and every other public protection that our agencies enforce that some in Congress do not like.”

Well, doesn’t that sound like a horrible future. Without Net Neutrality, we’ll be bereft of technology, adrift in a vast sea of our own ignorance, fumbling in the dark for two sticks to rub against each other for warmth and light. Without the Federal government to guide our free markets, we may as well be chiseling the first wheel out of rock and picking fig leaves to cover our naked, trembling bodies. Also, in case you didn’t notice, we’re all going to die, the Earth is going to overheat and children will be working in coal mines for pennies and gruel.

Coincidentally and ironically, Senator Kerry argued that Net Neutrality, which would allow for Federal regulation of the Internet, is the cornerstone of our future regulatory system on the exact same day that on the same day AT&T announced the Administration’s DOJ and FCC hurdles had already forced the company to push back its merger with T-Mobile, and its acquisition of spectrum from Qualcomm. So yes, John Kerry made the point that American innovation would not survive without federal regulation on the very same day that federal regulation put a huge damper on American innovation. It’s almost too perfect. Not to mention, Senator Kerry’s view that the Federal government, not free markets, should control the Internet is exactly the reason policy experts remain gravely concerned that DOJ and the FCC are using their powers in reviewing the proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile to force new regulatory burdens on the telecom industry.

If the timing of Senator Kerry’s remarks isn’t inappropriate enough, consider how well the Administration has handled it’s regulatory control of other industries. From the $500 million in lost tax payer funds on Solyndra, to the National Labor Relations Board imposing on Boeing rules about where it can and cannot build their aircrafts, to the Environment Protection Agency’s onerous new rules on coal dependent states, this Administration has clearly put the interests of Federal regulators before the interests of private sector innovators.

Not that that surprises anyone, but you know.

In a world where more and more consumers routinely use Hulu to watch their favorite TV shows on their laptops, it doesn’t take a telecom expert to know that infrastructure expansion is key to serving our nation’s growing need for broadband.:  For 30 years, the telecom industry has actually managed to deliver broadband service quite well — without Federal regulation.

When Massachusetts liberals like Senator Kerry use Administration talking pointsapplauding the FCC’s controversial net neutrality ruling for bringing, “certainty and predictability to the broadband economy,” can there be anything but more regulatory hurdles ahead for the Internet as we know it?

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