Air Date: February 25, 2015
Host: Vic Eliason
Guest: James Gattuso
The affordable care Act mandates that people buy health insurance. Complicating matters is the rules and requirements that these policies must provide. Then there’s the EPA rules that control everyone’s personal property to such a degree that even ditches and storm water culverts are sometimes considered to be waterways. There’s also the control over food where the wife of the President has her hand in affecting school lunch menus or government mandated labeling of factors such as calorie content. The airline industry has its intrusive body scans and enhanced pat-downs of passengers.
The latest item that Washington is attempting to add to the list is control over the Internet by treating it as a public utility. Joining Vic to discuss this was James Gattuso. He handles regulatory and telecommunications issues at the Heritage Foundation and is a senior research fellow at the Foundation’s Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies. From 1990-1993 he was the deputy chief at the Federal Communications Commission’s office of plans and policy.
Net neutrality refers to the idea that all the content on the Internet should be treated the same way. While on the surface this may sound reasonable, the American marketplace provides varying levels of choice in areas such as technical and pricing option categories and James argues that the Internet should be no different.
While James doesn’t see a conscious plan to censor speech or control content via net neutrality legislation, he does believe it sets the stage for that and puts the FCC and the federal government in what he referred to as ‘the critical path’ for approving what is transmitted via the Internet.
Where does Congress and President Obama stand on this issue? Does the impetus for net neutrality legislation involve purely practical considerations or is there a political element? Is there any merit to FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai’s allegation that the FCC is misleading the public about the plan? If these rules stand, what will be the impact on the Internet here is America? These and other questions are discussed on this vital edition of Crosstalk.