News & Politics

Elizabeth Warren Wants a Government-Funded 'Public Option' for the Internet

Elizabeth Warren Wants a Government-Funded 'Public Option' for the Internet
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks during a Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Art, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Should every single American have access to hi-speed internet? If so, should the government fund it?

It’s basically the same argument being used by Democrats to justify buying phones for the poor. The argument goes: no one can live without phone service and the ability to pay shouldn’t stand in the way.

But while there is some logic in making sure that everyone has access to emergency services via a cell phone if they need it, the notion that everyone needs the internet — hi-speed internet — to survive doesn’t hold water.

Elizabeth Warren begs to differ.


“I will make sure every home in America has a fiber broadband connection at a price families can afford,” Warren writes in a Medium post introducing her rural investment plan. “That means publicly-owned and operated networks ― and no giant (internet service providers) running away with taxpayer dollars.”

About 6% of Americans, or 19 million people, lack access to broadband due to infrastructure deficiencies in their area, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

Oh, goody! The government is going to be in charge of our internet access. What could possibly go wrong?

Warren also hopes major cities will take advantage of her plan, noting that even in urban areas where infrastructure is robust, the cost of high-speed internet keeps it out of reach for many low-income families.

At a time when progressive activists and experts are increasingly looking at ways to expand the role of the public sector to aid parts of society underserved or exploited by for-profit corporations, much of the attention remains trained on proposals to expand public health insurance and public universities.

Does everyone really need “hi-speed” internet access? Dial-up used to be good enough for most of us. And I know many people who could easily afford broadband internet service who simply don’t want it — at any price.

For Warren, the idea of a public option ― rather than a public takeover of a privately run system ― may be particularly appealing. She has emphasized her backing for social-democratic reforms like “Medicare for All,” which would replace private health insurance, alongside her conviction that robust markets, when properly regulated, have a vital role to play.

Her concept of “robust” markets “properly regulated” is gibberish. You either have a robust free market, or you regulate it — “properly,” mind you — out of existence.

Regulation is a necessary evil that helps protect all of us from irresponsible or corrupt businesses that could take advantage of consumers. What’s needed is not more anti-competitive rules but less regulation, allowing for more competition.

Warren is just as dangerous as Bernie Sanders. She gives us “socialism with a human face” and her efforts to convince us she only wants more regulation and not capitalism’s destruction fall far short of convincing.





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