Last year I told my friend Bob Clark that if the Trump administration actually repeals Obama’s net neutrality rules, I would give them some credit here on the pages of the Oregon Catalyst. Thanksgiving weekend is the perfect time to find something nice to say about our current executive branch.
Like other Trump policy successes, this comes more from appointing the right person than anything. In Ajit Pai, we definitely have the right FCC Chair.
As a policy goal, net neutrality had two things going for it. First it was alliterative, and second, it came packaged with unrealistic promises of faster internet connections for all.
When we underprice services, we get shortages, not better service. Our internet service providers are no exception.
Earlier this year, I read Alfred Kahn’s classic work The Economics of Regulation. It made me more open to the efficacy of regulating natural monopolies, but we have sufficient competition in this sector to avoid the costs in investment and innovation that come from what ought to be a policy of last resort. Like the Roosevelt administration setting up the Civil Aeronautics Board in 1938, the Obama administration almost stunted the growth of a critical industry.
Nick Gillespie of Reason Magazine conducted a great interview with Ajit Pai. You can listen to it here:
Eric Shierman lives in Salem and is the author of A Brief History of Political Cultural Change.