Yesterday, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, spoke at the #RebootCongress conference organized by Lincoln Labs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. There, Sen. Cruz spoke about the need to protect constitutional rights online, how raising taxes on the Internet would hurt small businesses, and warned about the dangers of the FCC’s net neutrality plan that would reclassify the Internet as a public utility under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.
“The FCC has now rolled out its initial plan, it’s 332 pages” Sen. Cruz said. “Although when I say rolled out, that word has to be used lightly, because you and I are not allowed to read those 332 pages. They literally have a book, this is how we are going to regulate the internet, and by the way, no one gets to read it. One FCC commissioner held up the book and said ‘I guess you got to pass it to find out what’s in it,’ echoing Nancy Pelosi.”
He continued, “If the FCC turns the Internet into a regulated public utility, the innovation, the creativity that has characterized the Internet from its dawn, will inevitably be stifled. Now Title II by the way, gives all sorts of authority to regulate pricing and terms of service, and one of the implications if the Internet is regulated under Title II is 11 billion dollars a year in new taxes… Think about whether 11 billion dollars a year on the Internet is a good thing or a bad thing.
“Now here’s where the FCC says, ‘no don’t worry, we won’t collect those taxes, we’re going to exercise forbearance,’ I don’t know if you’ve heard the ancient fable about the frog who gives the scorpion a ride across the river, and half way across the river the scorpion stabs the frog and they both sink under the water and as they’re going under, the frog says, ‘why, now we both will die’, and the scorpion tells the frog, ‘because it is my nature.’ I promise you, it is the nature of the government regulators, if they have it, they will use it, 100 percent of the time, it will grow, the taxes will come.
“Which has greater innovation, the United States Post Office or Facebook and Twitter? Which has greater innovation, taxi commissions in local cities or Lyft and Uber? Every time you put unelected bureaucrats in charge of a market, they stifle innovation and what they also do is they favor the big boys. If you think for a minute that the FCC is going to listen to small start-ups, than you’re ignoring the history of every other instance of regulation. What has made the Internet so incredibly successful has been the freedom, and so I would encourage each of you, do not accept the promise of Washington politicians who are telling all of us, ‘if you like your Internet, you can keep your Internet.’ That promise cannot be trusted, and I hope that we all stand together defending freedom on the Internet in every respect.”
Sen. Cruz also joined a panel moderated by Katie Biber of Airbnb with Chris Massey of Lyft, Justin Bedecarre of 42Floors, Pia Mancini of Net Democracy, and Nick Grossman of Union Square Ventures.
View the panel discussion here: http://www.cruz.senate.gov/?p=video&id=2188.