PPI President Will Marshall released the following statement today after President Obama’s announcement urging the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to regulate broadband Internet as a public utility under its Title II authority:
“’I hear you,’ President Obama assured voters in his post-midterm press conference last week. But his endorsement today of subjecting the Internet to heavy-handed regulation suggests otherwise.
“In fact, the president’s statement is exactly the wrong reaction to the election. It endorses a backward-looking policy that would apply the brakes to the most dynamic sector of America’s economy.
“The shellacking the president and his party suffered last week was largely about the economy. In exit polls, 70 percent of voters said they were mostly concerned about the economy, and an overwhelming majority of them described economic conditions as ‘not so good’ or poor.
“If the election yields any lesson, it is that Democrats need to offer the public a more convincing plan for accelerating economic growth and restoring shared prosperity. Such a plan should begin by building on America’s comparative advantages in digital innovation and entrepreneurship.
“Imposing public utility-style regulation on the Internet points in the opposite direction. It would very likely reduce private investment in broadband, which as PPI has documented in a series of policy reports, is a prime catalyst for job and business creation in the United States.
“It is also inconsistent with the Democratic Party’s legacy. After all, the Internet took off in the 1990s, thanks in significant degree to the ‘light touch’ approach to regulation adopted by the Clinton-Gore Administration.
“We hope President Obama will reflect on that legacy of pro-growth progressivism and reconsider his endorsement of Title II regulation of the Internet.”