Democrat Leader Confirms His Party Is Immune to Economics, Facts in Net Neutrality Debate

by Mike Wendy on May 4, 2017

I went to an event at the New America Foundation yesterday entitled, “The Fight for Net Neutrality Begins Again.” During the Q&A, the event’s headline speaker – Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ) – provided an interesting response to an audience question (transcribed below). It was, to say the least, very telling in that, presumably, it represented an official statement from the Democrats on the subject of the “open Internet” and Net Neutrality.

Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ) speaking at the New America Foundation yesterday, confirming that, for his party, economics has no place in the Open Internet debate.

Check it out here, beginning at 50:15 into the video:

Warren Coats (50:15): “…On the business side, I’m an economist, and as an economist anytime you don’t pay the marginal cost of delivering what you’re getting, resources are misallocated. The outcome is, from an economic point of view, not as good as it might otherwise be. So that aspect – I think this is the fast lane and some other things – there are providers like Skype, I may be out of date here, but that gobble up huge amounts of capacity, ah, and if they don’t pay more for that, they have no financial incentive to program their service in a way that’s more economical.”

Rep. Frank Pallone (51:47): “I mean on your Skype thing, I mean look, there’s always going to be, you always have to weigh things. I guess what we’re saying, you know what I’m saying, is that I think because of the benefits of the open Internet in my opinion outweigh, you know, the concerns you expressed with regard to Skype and the possibility, you know, that there’s not as much money for certain things. I just think that, you know, you just have to weigh the two. The open Internet I think is more important ultimately.” (Emphasis added)

What is Pallone saying?

Let me give it a stab:

Translation #1: When Rep. Pallone says “you weigh,” it means his party believes only elite, preferably partisan (Democrat) bureaucrats can do this properly, essentially centrally-planning, engineering and censoring the Internet ecosystem according to party thinking and its progressive orthodoxy.

Translation #2: La-La Land. Economics and facts hold no sway for the Pallone’s of the world in this “debate”; we have entered (again) into a purely political, ideological battle, which is immune to reality. Utopia shall be free. The party’s narrative shall not be derailed by “pesky economics.”

Translation #3: Pallone’s answer says his party believes the “collective” is more important than the individual, ultimately. Stated differently, if an individual rocks the boat and asks that the marketplace foster the allocation of resources on the Internet, too-bad-so-sad for that guy. His minority voice (and his private property that he’s concerned about) carries no weight when compared to the importance of the confiscators who do so only with “benign intent,” in the interest of “fairness and equity,” for the Whole. (Sounds like something that could only happen in Venezuela, eh? Apparently not.)

This is what those of us who want to move back to light-touch regulation have to face.  Petulant, first-grade children.

La-La Land may work nicely for elementary-aged school kids.  It has no place, however, in the University of Realville.

Previous post:

Next post: