The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Power Grab

In the long tradition of excellent customer service, honest and equitable execution of the law for all citizens, and high technical competence—as exhibited by the VA scandal, the IRS scandal and Obamacare—Barack Obama, his appointed FCC commissioner, Tom Wheeler, (who originally spoke out against the idea), and the president's domestic Team of 2s have decided to bring big-government control to the Internet.

Gordan Crovitz of The Wall Street Journal reports:
Last week Washington abandoned open innovation when the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission yielded to President Obama ’s demands and moved to regulate the freewheeling Internet under the same laws that applied to the Ma Bell monopoly. Unless these reactionary regulations are stopped, they spell the end of the permissionless innovation that built today’s Internet.
Barack Obama has had very little private sector life experience, and like most leftists, he never saw a "problem" that couldn't be "solved" with big intrusive government (B.I.G.). The issue here is that there is no problem, and ironically the proposed "solution" will cause massive (real) problems where none existed.

Crovitz discusses the potential results:
Until now, anyone could launch new websites, apps and mobile devices without having to lobby a regulator for permission. That was thanks to a Clinton-era bipartisan consensus that the Internet shouldn’t be treated as a public utility. Congress and the White House under both parties kept the FCC from applying the hoary regulations that micromanaged the phone system, which would have frozen innovation online.

Last week’s announcement from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler rejects 20 years of open innovation by submitting the Internet to Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. Once Mr. Wheeler and the commission’s Democratic majority vote this month to apply Title II, the regulations will give them staggering control. Any Internet “charges” and “practices” that the bureaucrats find “unjust or unreasonable is declared to be unlawful.”

This is an open invitation to entrenched companies challenged by new technologies. The Internet has been a source of creative destruction, upending industries from music, movies and newspapers to retail, travel and banking. History teaches that companies threatened by competition will hire as many lawyers as necessary to get regulators to protect them.
But in the eyes of Barack Obama and other leftists, it's "unfair" that some gain advantage via innovation while others remain behind. So, Obama and his Team of 2s have decided to "level the playing field" by burdening Internet innovators with regulation—lots of regulation. Just what the Internet—one of the most successful and impactful technologies in human history—doesn't need.

Realistically, opposition to this idiotic regulatory regime should not be a partisan issue. Both Dems and the GOP should rise up and kill this blatant B.I.G. power grab. Fortunately, the GOP controls congress, but most of this travesty can be implemented by regulatory fiat, something that Barack Obama is more than willing to do. But why worry? The federal government under his leadership has been a beacon of competence and honesty. Hasn't it?

In another example of how Barack Obama is loading government agencies with appointees who will implement change that almost no one is looking for, regardless of the businesses it hurts, the entrepreneurs who are punished or the middle class employees who suffer the consequences, consider Richard Griffen.

Griffin was named general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board. The problem is that his past job was as a member of the board of directors of the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee and general counsel to the International Union of Operating Engineers. Hmmm, I thought the NLRB was supposed to be neutral in its dealings with labor and management.

Griffen's first major legal effort was to extend Obama's income inequality meme by attacking McDonald's. Lee Habeeb and Mike Leven explain:
Griffin wasted no time flexing his legal muscles: Last summer, he ruled that McDonald’s could be held jointly liable for labor and wage violations by its franchise operators. In December, he doubled down, issuing complaints naming McDonald’s Corp. as a “joint employer” of workers at its franchisees, overturning decades of settled law and disrupting a business model that has been the engine of job and wealth creation for the American working class for decades.
It looks like Obama and his Team of 2s want to solve "income inequality" by attacking small business owners—franchisees who risk what little capital they have to start their own business, create entry level jobs for young people, and strive for a better life. But Obama never ran a business, never met a payroll with monies generated from sales or services, not coercive taxation, and apparently has no clue what damage he will do to the entry level workers who he professes to care oh-so-much about. Is he unaware that low cost robotics may begin to replace entry level works in many franchise operations if human labor costs become prohibitive? Is he concerned that with this ruling, major unions are now circling franchises in the hope of expanding their shrinking membership—certainly GM-level work rules will only benefit a small business, right?

All that matters is ideology. You know ... "middle class economics." Business bad -- big government good. Accomplishment and its financial rewards bad -- income leveling and redistribution good. Independent business operations bad -- labor unions good.

Here's the thing -- what Barack Obama believes is good for the middle class is actually bad for the middle class. But that doesn't matter, because he tells us repeatedly that he's the champion of the middle class, and he never ever lies, does he? After all, look at how well the middle class has done during his six years as president. Income down, opportunities decimated, and upward mobility crippled. That's not middle class economics—it's Obamanomics.