Republicans are so focused on privatization of government that they are protecting private businesses from local and state government at the federal level. Make sense? No? Seem counter-intuitive and hypocritical? Of course! This is the most useless congress to have ever had the job, we are talking about. This also gives my hand a reflexive path to my face as naive Americans misunderstand what “federalism” is and what side of that battle they are on.
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) used a backwards approach to protecting regulations in the name of protecting these “municipal broadband” attempts from state and local governments. However, her new bill which just won support in the House does the exact opposite of what she says she wants. Just like most republican legislation, Blackburn’s bill was a rider amendment crammed into HR 5016.
The head of the FCC, Tom Wheeler, testified in front of Blackburn to explain how those regulations which the FCC was trying to relax were not helping municipalities, those regulations were lobbied in place by cable companies (which Wheeler even mentioned he did himself in his old job as one of those lobbyists). Blackburn wasn’t protecting the rights of citizen’s or consumers in those states with strong cable lobbies, she was protecting lobbied private protections which keep the states from deciding their own rules for “municipal broadband”.
Blackburn’s reasoning was solidly based in idealism without any actual check on facts or effects of legislative regulations she defends. She ran with the notion that keeping the federal government out of state business was being served in her quest. Which it isn’t. In fact, it tends to give more federal protections to those cable companies to fight state and local governments who might try to change any current policies in place. This would mean a costly fight in order to bring about infrastructure programs like public broadband.
The connection of the FCC to these cable companies as well as the massive amount of federal money spent grays the area around this being a protection for a “private business” as well. The cable companies have been shrinking to fewer owners over time rather than more. Competition is becoming much less necessary for the few remaining groups. This aspect of these particular companies all being partially funded by federal tax dollars actually bends Blackburn’s arguments back against her. She isn’t supporting a “private business”… she is supporting a federal program that is run by a private business. She doesn’t seem to get the point that she isn’t aiding in privatization and only removes liability from the government while shifting money into different hands (which will become dependent on non-competitive conditions to exist in order for their business to exist). This is the opposite of the “free market”.
Republicans have hawked the rights of states and local governments over federal government for centuries. Unfortunately, in the beginning of that fight, we see that the far-right of politics were labeling themselves democrats and voting for more federal control over the states. This was done in the name of forcing a national religion on the country and enforcing a pecking order for the new Americans born of the British colonies. And it wasn’t the “federalists” who laid down infrastructure to connect the states and increased trade and commerce.
Fast forward to the 1960’s, and we see that the parties swap. Texas goes from blue to red. Strom Thurmond leads the Dixiecrats from the democrats to the republicans. The South turned red, the northern states turned solidly blue and American history was about to become increasingly more confusing for modern Americans.
Modern republicans will sometimes knee-jerk a response to accused racial issues with a pride in being “the party of Lincoln” (because that dude freed the slaves!). This is about as accurate as skinning a bear and believing you are a bear after wearing its fur. The modern political parties have very little correlation to those with the same name in the past, and so we should be focusing more on what was harmful to American freedoms from the actions of past government interference.
So, what do modern republicans really want? If we go by their recent major actions in government, you’d have to come to the conclusion of: corporate personhood and federally controlled social morality. See? They don’t want total federal control anymore like their ancestors. Republicans want business to take up some of that slack so that the federal control doesn’t seem so oppressive.
Republicans in this area pine for conditions that were only possible without technology in our faces connecting communities across the world. You can yell and scream about racism not existing anymore and how black people are getting too much good stuff in society now for nothing (which is insane), but we still have statistics and tons of filmed evidence that shows otherwise. Propaganda doesn’t work if you can’t hide something in the world from the general public because you will always have a polarized group who recognizes the falsehoods.
Shouldn’t the internet be allowed as a public form of infrastructure? If our country is going to stay ahead of the world market, we had better start investing back into ourselves rather than squeezing the poor like bloodless turnips.