Why Ted Cruz’s Take on Net Neutrality is Dangerous

dbxncahdz0ksbao5f3jiNet Neutrality has been in the news a lot lately, and earlier today I published a blog post regarding Obama’s latest plan to address the problem going forward. However, now that Obama’s plan is out in the open, the takes have been coming in from both supporters and adversaries of the proposed plan. While we should pay a lot of attention to the people supporting the plan, I think that we should be paying more attention to the people against the plan. Unfortunately, we are at the point in partisan politics where playing Devil’s Advocate isn’t for the right reason. And in this case, Ted Cruz is being a wildly frustrating and dangerous Devil’s Advocate.

In a nutshell, Obama has issued a plan on how net neutrality can be maintained while also compromising between ISPs and consumers. This is a good thing. The plan would stop things like throttling, blocking, internet “fast lanes”, and generally screwing over consumers at large. However, Senator Ted Cruz – who accepted campaign financing from telecom giant Comcast – immediately fired back against Obama’s plan.

The comparison is an insulting parallel, especially coming from a conservative senator. It’s part-buzzword, part-slur, and is 100% incorrect. All this is a political maneuver. His director of communications also decided to weigh in on the subject:

 It’s important to point out that Ted Cruz and his staff have the facts about net neutrality all wrong. Obama said, specifically, that the government would not be in charge of pricing: “I believe the FCC should reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act — while at the same time forbearing from rate regulation and other provisions less relevant to broadband services.” (emphasis mine)

Government will not rate regulate, and saying that they will is a lie. Perhaps they neglected to read the statement, which wouldn’t be a surprise, since Ted Cruz is blindly and irrationally against anything that Obama is for, simply because Obama is for it. 

It bears noting that Ted Cruz is one of the most powerful people in the Senate, is considering running for President in 2016, and is particularly influential in this specific, highly important issue. He’s on the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, which handles internet governance and FCC oversight. This is a man that requires attention, and to whom people give their attention, which makes this statement that much more dangerous, and that much more disingenuous, considering you would think that he would be more knowledgeable about a subject which he sits on a subcommittee for. 

Cruz is rallying support for his policies by disparaging the Obama administration’s politics. The plan Obama put together is incredibly bipartisan, and effects everyone across the aisle, across the nation, equally, except for those that don’t use the internet (read: nobody). 

Obama isn’t pitching the idea of government regulated internet; aside from that being impossible and a burden that the government could not take on in the first place, it’s not even a part of Obama’s conversation. Obama is simply trying to keep the internet free and fair to the consumer, because it is an equalizer amongst essentially everyone. Politics do not need to play a part in this issue; you are either for the internet, or against it, and nobody is “against the internet.”

We will, however, get political polarization. That is the world in which we live. And unfortunately, Cruz isn’t alone in this. Cruz, in his attempts to characterize a push to protect consumers as a socialist policy, has roused support for his views from others on his side of the aisle. Broadband for America had this to say: 

President Barack Obama’s endorsement of 1930’s era Title II classification would lead to unprecedented government interference in the Internet and would hurt consumers and innovation. Further, for the President to issue this directive is a threat to the independence of the FCC itself. By vastly expanding the regulatory bureaucracy over the internet, the administration is turning its back on 20 years of bipartisan consensus that has allowed the Internet to flourish. The President’s approach would threaten millions of jobs and a diverse array of stakeholders including, labor, civil-rights organization, and tech companies, who have long advocated for a far more restrained approach.

Characterizing the issue in the context that reclassifying the internet as a public utility will stifle innovation and introduce regulatory red tape and oversight is wrong, and it obscures the core facets of the debate: that net neutrality protection is what’s best for consumers. It won’t stifle innovation, it will actually protect it. 

ISPs are moving away from net neutrality so as to wring more profits out of their broadband customers and increase margins. This is an attack on our freedom. ISPs will slow down service, create web competition, and ruin things for people that rely on the internet for their businesses, social lives, and a host of other things that make the internet as necessary as electricity, gas, and clean water.

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Published by: Doug MacFaddin

Douglas Willis MacFaddin was born June 16, 1961 in the Miamisburg Hospital to Patricia Ann MacFaddin and Richard Willis MacFaddin. My mother’s maiden name is Morrison and she is the youngest of seven children who were raised in Lycippus, PA. My father was the second of four children and was a twin. He was raised in the town of Viola, DE. At the time of my birth, my father worked at the Mound Laboratories in Miamisburg, Ohio in research. Mound was an Atomic Energy Commission facility for nuclear weapon research during the Cold War. My mother made a home for our family. My father passed away in 1991 and my mother is currently living in Avon, CT. Doug MacFaddin is the oldest of five children (Doug, R. Stuart, Anne Marie, Megan and Mary (Heather)). I lived in Ohio for two years, spent the next seven years in Murrysville, PA (outside of Pittsburgh), moved to Little Silver, NJ and relocated my senior year in high school to Avon, CT. My four siblings currently live with their families in Avon, CT and are members of St. Ann’s Church. I attended Mother of Sorrows School in Murrysville, PA. In NJ, I attended Little Silver Point Road School, Markham Place School and Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) in Lincroft, NJ for three years. My senior year, I attended Avon High School and I then spent the next four years at Union College, Schenectady, NY. I received a BS in Industrial Economics and graduated in June 1983. While at Salomon Brothers, I was asked to attend a two-week seminar for Public Finance at the University of Michigan in 1986. In Little Silver, I was involved in Troop 126 where I achieved the rank of Life Scout and was both a Patrol Leader and a Senior Patrol Leader. I also was an alter boy at St. James Catholic Church and spent summers a the Ship Ahoy Beach Club in Seabright, NJ and caddying at the Rumson Country Club. At Christian Brothers Academy, I wrestled for the varsity squad for three years. I took second in the districts my junior year and went on to the regionals. I also ran on their cross country team freshman year and was part of the CBA Colt team that hasn’t lost a duel meet since 1973. My senior year at Avon, I won the wrestling States (S). I went on to wrestle at Union College and qualified for the Div III nationals twice (1981, 1982) and was co-captain both years. My senior year at Avon, CT, I also won the States (S) in pole vaulting. It was the first time Avon High School had a state champ in two sports in the same year. During my four years, I earned nine varsity letters between wrestling, track and football. In 1979, I was accepted into The National Honor & Merit Scholars Society. Upon graduating from Union College, I accepted a position at Salomon Brothers Inc in August 1983. I was an analyst in their Public Finance department at One New York Plaza. I lived in Park Slope, Brooklyn and spent the next four years working at Salomon Brothers. As a result of Black Monday, October 19, 1987 the Public Finance Department of Salomon Brothers was jettisoned to conserve capital. By November 1, 1987, I was working at Dean Witter Reynolds in the new Public Finance Department made up of many of my former Salomon Brother’s colleagues. The new Department was located on the 57th floor of 2 World Trade Center.

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