Whenever news releases hit my inbox from Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign, I cringe. The first thing that comes to mind is wondering what new socialist scheme he has cooked up to promise the world to everyone if only they’ll give control of money and property to the federal government. The latest one is a real winner for advancing Marxism as he released his “High-Speed Internet for All” plan that would essentially put control of the internet and how we get it into the hands of Washington DC.
To some, it’s not a terrible idea. By treating it like a national utility, surely that’s better than all the problems we’re having with it today. Except… we’re not having problems with it today, at least not in a significant manner. The internet isn’t broken, and as the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke…”
But he wants to fix it. To do so, he has to convince us that it’s broken. He wants us to believe it’s too expensive, not inclusive, and that big corporations controlling how it’s delivered to us are all evil. Here’s the plan. I’ll comment further below:
“It is outrageous that across the country millions of Americans and so many of our communities do not have access to affordable high-speed internet,” said Sanders. “Access to the internet is a necessity in today’s economy, and it should be available for all. We are going to take on the greedy internet, telecom, and cable monopolies and put an end to their absurd prices gauging. Just as President Roosevelt fundamentally made America more equal by bringing electricity to every farm and rural community over 80 years ago, as president, I will do the same with high-speed internet.”
Having high-speed internet is central to the basic functions of families, students, and businesses, yet across the country huge swaths of the population lack access to an internet connection or cannot afford the options available.
As President, Sanders will stop the practice of treating high-speed internet access like a luxury item, and instead treat it like a public utility that everyone deserves as a basic human right. Sanders will also take on the greed of the telecom and cable monopolies who exploit their dominant market power to rip off consumers and lobby government at all levels to keep out competition. Ending this type of greed and corruption will be a major priority under a Sanders administration.
Bernie’s plan would:
- Provide $150 billion through the Green New Deal in infrastructure grants and technical assistance for municipalities and/or states to build publicly owned and democratically controlled, co-operative, or open access broadband networks.
- Require that all internet service providers offer a Basic Internet Plan that provides quality broadband speeds at an affordable price.
- Break up internet service provider and cable monopolies, bar service providers from providing content, and unwind anticompetitive mergers.
- Increase the FCC definition of minimum broadband speeds to 100mbps for downloads and 10mbps for uploads.
- Set aside $7.5 billion to expand high-speed broadband in Indian Country and fully resource the FCC’s Office of Native Affairs and Policy.
- Ensure people with disabilities have full access to the internet.
- Guarantee all public housing residents free broadband services.
- Ensure broadband infrastructure is resilient to the effects of climate change.
The full plan can be read here.
This is where I would normally go item-by-item to lambaste this disastrous idea. But I won’t. It’s very obvious to anyone who’s reading this through their fully functional and not obtusely expensive internet connection that there’s no need to get the federal government so deeply involved with the internet. We don’t need any part of the Green New Deal, and this definitely qualifies as one of those unnecessary parts.
What Sanders and most of Washington DC (yes, including Republicans) need to realize is that federal involvement in any industry must be kept at a minimum. No entity has a worse track record for mucking things up by merely getting involved than the federal government of the United States of America. They usually mean well, but privatization has maintained its status of operational superiority across the board for decades. The days when the government had to step in to fix things are essentially gone. Consumers have the power to demand better. Providers have the resources and innovation to make them better. That’s why things are getting, well, better.
If you want an example of government getting involved, ruining something, and then pointing the finger at the industry they ruined, look no further than PG&E. The California power company has been hamstrung for years by Sacramento’s policies, yet California Democrats keep pointing their finger asking why PG&E didn’t fix the infrastructure California failed to fix for them. That was the point of all the regulations and infrastructure programs, but somehow PG&E has been painted as solely responsible.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting PG&E didn’t do their part in messing up California’s power grid and causing wildfires that could have easily been prevented, but if you listen to Democrats or mainstream media in California, all of the blame lands on the heavily-regulated company while none of it belongs to the regulators.
Instead of letting the market continue to force improvements and innovations in internet availability and speeds, Bernie Sanders wants DC to take it over. Controlling information is as socialist as it gets. Sanders needs it in order to push his long game.
We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.
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