Thursday, May 13, 2010

Oooh, it’s a “Washington Takeover!”

Anti Net-Neutrality folks are running a set of ads warning that net neutrality would mean a “Washington takeover” of the internet.

Never mind that the internet was invented by the government, and that net neutrality, far from being any kind of “takeover” would actually enhance competition and internet access for American.

Instead, I just want to say, why is a “Washington takeover” considered automatically a bad thing? (well, I know why, because of the hard work of decades of right-wing demagoguery)

I want Washington to “takeover” certain things. I kind of like the “Washington takeover” of national defense, the national park system, child labor laws, consumer protection regulation, and civil rights laws. And more recently, the “Washington takeover” of Wall Street and GM (as unpopular as the bailouts were) was the only thing that saved this country from a second Great Depression.
The jury’s still out on the so-called “Washington takeover” of health care, but I’m pretty optimistic the mild set of regulations that were part of health care reform will certainly do better to bring quality health care to more people then the unregulated private insurance industry did.

I have philosophical appreciation for libertarianism, but in the real world, it is like communism — something that is appealing in theory but can never work in practice because of human nature.

I don’t think the government can – or should – do everything. Economic innovation belongs to the private sector. But making the rules and enforcing them do belong to the government.

I am glad a private company called Apple invented the iPhone. The government never could have. But I am also glad that the government is regulating the frequency spectrum the iPhone uses and making sure the internet traffic that flows to it is treated fairly.

(this post was cross-posted from my personal blog, Red Letter Day)