Americans may hate each other in a lot of ways but there’s one thing they seem to hate even more and that’s cable companies. However, a lot of people also hate Obamacare (while loving the Affordable Care Act) and Ted Cruz, or rather the people who run his social feeds, have found the magic phrase that will confuse the issue in the minds of low information voters and encourage his followers to support cable companies. Here’s that brilliant phrase.
"Net Neutrality" is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government.
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) November 10, 2014
What’s Cruz talking about? He’s talking about President Obama coming out in favor of net neutrality yesterday. Here’s what ArsTechnica had to say about it.
President Obama today urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reclassify broadband service as a utility and to impose rules that prevent Internet service providers from blocking and throttling traffic or prioritizing Web services in exchange for payment. Obama also said utility rules should apply both to home Internet service and mobile broadband.
In short, Obama is siding with consumer advocates who have lobbied for months in favor of reclassification while the telecommunications industry lobbied against it.
What Cruz either doesn’t understand or doesn’t care about is that the internet isn’t simply a means for communication like it was back in 1995. It’s a marketplace, a giant marketplace. Last year, e-commerce accounted for $262 billion in trade in the U.S., a 13% increase from the year before. Some estimates say that, by 2017, e-commerce will account for nearly half a trillion in trade.
Allowing cable companies to rule that marketplace isn’t just unfair, it’s an economically bad idea that opens the door for monopolistic and manipulative behaviors, something Cruz and the GOP claim they are against in theory but sometimes seem to be very much for in practice. And it’s not just Cruz and the GOP. According to Politico, Comcast Cable alone spent millions in lobbying and campaign contribution funds on both Democratic and Republican candidates this year and every year before. Both Democrats and Republicans have hedged on or opposed keeping the internet neutral. Campaign donations will can cause that.
So, no, net neutrality isn’t “just like Obamacare.” It’s just like other regulated utilities like your water company and your electric company, things that generally work so well that we completely take them for granted.
And, as an aside, because it burns my butt, no, Obamacare still isn’t a government takeover of healthcare. It’s a wholesale giveaway to private insurance companies that also has the effect of insuring every American. Wait, that sounds almost exactly like the current status of internet in the U.S.
Better rethink things, Ted.
There’s also this awesome cartoon by Matthew Inman of the Oatmeal that explains net neutrality to Ted Cruz in full. Enjoy
— The Oatmeal (@Oatmeal) November 10, 2014