Rhode Island progressives make believe that new net neutrality mandates by the government will not harm interstate commerce. In the real world, free-market forces are the best way to ensure ISPs do not harm consumers.

Progressive Bad Bill Of The Week: Make Believe Net Neutrality

This week we highlight yet another issue where the progressive-Democrats want government to control another aspect of our lives … this time, the Internet … with the issue being Net Neutrality.

Two related bills, S2008 and H7422, introduced by progressive-left Democrats attempts to solve what is nothing more than a make believe problem. Sponsored by Senators Jeanine Calkin and Gayle Goldin, and Representatives Aaron Regunberg and Deb Ruggiero – among others –  the legislation, collectively would:

  1. Reimpose unnecessary regulations on Internet Service Providers in Rhode Island, in response to the federal government repealed such regulations in just last year 2017
  2. Prohibit state and local governments from purchasing any broadband or internet service from any Service Provider who does not comply with now defunct net neutrality principles.

To the left, our access to the internet is at stake. “It is almost impossible for most of us to imagine getting through the day without using the internet. Open and equal access has been an essential cornerstone of this medium, and the FCC’s actions to the contrary amount to a grave threat to online free speech,” said the RI ACLU. “This legislation is an important step in protecting Rhode Islanders from the threats of censorship that the repeal of net neutrality can bring.” Of course, this attitude is pure fantasy.

Other reasons why Net Neutrality proponents are living in a land of make believe:

  • Progressives believe they believe they can see into the future via their “crystal ball” approach. We consider this Make Believe because the left is concerned about what MIGHT happen. These state net neutrality bills, filed in response to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) recent vote to overturn Title II, would result in a number of negative consequences for residents of RI. What is needed is a vs “light touch” approach, where until systematic abuse is documented, the Internet is allowed to continue to expand on its own, with as little government interference as possible.
  • Progressives also pretend Title II Net Neutrality regulations achieved their purported goals, It did not: The now defunct Obama-era federal regulations did not stop any Internet blocking, throttling, or paid prioritization The D.C. Circuit Court said that the Title II internet order did allow ISPs to offer filtered Internet access. Proponents of a public utility-style internet have been inappropriately conflating the principles of net neutrality and Title II, painting the latter, a 1930’s copper wire regulatory scheme in the 1996 Telecommunications Act, as a way to ensure Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are not able to filter data or advantage themselves over their competitors. In reality, Title II would have done nothing to address those dramatized concerns. The D.C. Circuit Court explained that Title II would not have prevented ISPs from offering filtered internet access, and that they are not doing so anyway out of fear that they would lose subscribers.
  • Progressives pretend that other protections don’t exist. The left can have the peace of mind of understanding that existing state and federal laws (the Clayton and Sherman Anti-Trust Acts, for example) already allow Attorneys General and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to police ISPs. Bad actors would be in violation of federal anti-trust law, which protects against discriminatory conduct, as well as a host of other federal and state consumer protection laws.
  • Progressives also make believe that new net neutrality mandates by the government will not harm interstate commerce: So-called net neutrality state laws are not only unnecessary, they would be a huge mistake. As w Title II would have made it much more costly and complex for new ISPs to enter the market and for existing ISPs to remain in business, build out their networks, and invest in new technology. Similarly, a patchwork of different state net neutrality laws would result in the same consequences, and would deter ISPs from remaining and expanding in states with such legislation.

The proper role of state and federal governments should be to deter fraud, enforce contracts, and arbitrate disputes. Clear, consistent, and limited government maximizes innovation and competition. Reliable internet access encourages and accelerates economic growth and development. New government mandates will only lead to costly litigation because the internet is inherently interstate commerce.

In the real world, free-market forces, not overly burdensome government regulations, are the best way to ensure ISPs do not harm consumers and do not engage in anticompetitive behavior. A state net neutrality law would only result in RI consumers being left fewer choices, higher prices, and deteriorating service.

Folks, only in the progressive land of make believe are Net Neutrality regulations actually needed and effective.

House Bill H7150 is the epitome of how the irrational emotions of the progressive-left are now finding their way into actual legislation and how they are attempting to legislate morality. This discrimination bill would criminalize anti-political correctness.

Imaginary Discrimination Bill “Progressive Land of Make Believe Bad Bill of the Week”

Pretend Discrimination Bill H7150

This week’s bad bill is a thorny issue; but one that highlights yet another danger of the progressive-left’s agenda to control our lives via a government driven by political correctness. In our American society, this means a direct threat to free speech and free thought.

House Bill H7150 is the epitome of how the irrational emotions of the progressive-left are now finding their way into actual legislation … and how they are attempting to legislate morality. In fact any attempt to criminalize anti political correctness or immorality, will inevitably cause more societal harms than it seeks to prevent.

Sponsored by Representatives Grace Diaz and Aaron Regunberg among others, this poorly written discrimination bill, in its entirety, states:

“No pupil attending public or private schools of elementary and high school grades inclusive of kindergarten shall be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, socioeconomic status or mental, physical, developmental, or sensory disability, or by association with an individual or group who has, or is perceived to have one, or more of such characteristics.”

Conceptually, of course, who would disagree?

But we judge this discrimination bill to be of the “make believe” variety, first because of it’s purposely misleading title, “Health and Safety of Pupils.” Putting this purely emotional plea into written legislation, ostensibly to protect students, is unnecessary … as all Americans and students are already protected by other existing state and federal civil rights laws. This legislation is nothing more than a meaningless ploy to advance mainstream acceptance progressive-left values.

Also a progressive fantasy … is the belief that discrimination, or any other emotionally driven action … can be legislated away. Should a bill be likewise submitted requiring that all students should always be made to feel happy?

Further, this discrimination bill, because it is so vague and subjective … pretends that there will be no resulting unintended and adverse consequences.

In the bill, there is no definition of what discrimination “is” … or by whom such offense might be committed. It is one thing if a teacher or administrator systematically ostracizes or bullies a student. But are we at the point in our society where we want “2nd-grader on 2nd-grader play” to now be considered as criminal? Would not selecting a student in the first-round of a kick-ball game at recess, when choosing sides, now mean someone should be sent to the principal’s office? If a teacher doesn’t immediately call upon a particular student who raised his or her hand, is that an offense?

Who’s interpretation of what discrimination “is” becomes the standard? Who will be the judge?

Then there’s the “or else what” question? What is the consequence? If someone does commit some person’s version of discrimination, what will happen to them? Will they be suspended from school? Reported to the school board or to their parents? Put in the public stockade?

These unanswered questions that this frivolous legislation would artificially create, are important. If one person’s free and harmless-intended actions can be judged to be discriminatory by someone else, and then backed by the force of law … our free society will be taking a major step backwards.

Bottom line, there is no universally objective way to interpret and enforce this kind of fantasy legislation; no single piece of legislation can possibly attempt to categorize the motivations and intentions of a population as diverse as Rhode Island’s. Yet progressives keep trying, and society will keep losing.

In one vision of a free society, our noncriminal actions should not be judged by some arbitrary special interest agenda. Conversely, in the progressives’ make believe vision of a politically-correct society, and as we did see – and still see – in many communist countries, our own thoughts and actions would be policed by some vague and subjective standard – set by the elitists in power … who will put themselves in a position to be judge, jury, and executioner.

Which vision of society do you prefer?

Click here to see the media release

As the poster child of their desire for government-control over the lives of residents and businesses, Rhode Island's progressive-Democrats announced they will introduce legislation this week to establish an estimated $13.2 billion single-payer health insurance system.

Single-Payer Healthcare: “Progressive Land of Make Believe Bad Bill of the Week”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 25, 2018

Single-Payer Healthcare Scheme Based on “Make Believe” Assumptions

Progressive Economist Estimates $3.7 Billion in New Costs; Center Estimates at $5.4 Billion. Would Bankrupt the State.

Providence, RI — The legislative onslaught from the left has begun. As the poster child of their desire for government-control over the lives of residents and businesses, Rhode Island’s progressive-Democrats announced they will introduce legislation this week to establish an estimated $13.2 billion single-payer health insurance system.

Tabbed as the “Progressive Land of Make Believe Bad Bill of the Week” by the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity, the legislation is based on non-realistic assumptions, and would impose additional costs of $5.4 billion upon taxpayers, ratepayers, and businesses according to a report issued last summer by the Center.

“Imagine a new tax that takes massive amounts of more money out of your paycheck; imagine reduced access to critical care for your sick child; imagine lower public funding for schools; and imagine more business and jobs fleeing our state,” said the Center’s CEO, Mike Stenhouse. “This is why no other state in the nation has has ever passed such radical legislation. It would bankrupt our entire state.”

The House (H7285) and Senate (S5069) versions of the bills will be sponsored by Representative Aaron Regunberg and Senator Jeanine Calkin, repsectively.

Supporters of the bill make the ‘fake’ claim that healthcare is “a fundamental human right.” Nothing can be a right if somebody else is forced to pay for it or provide it. Conversely, ‘real’ rights are based on liberty, not coercion, and do not infringe on anyone else’s rights.

The legislation, which its supporters call “Medicare for all,” also makes believe it is something that it is not. The legislation is actually a “Medicaid for all” scheme, which even national progressives such as Bernie Sanders have admitted, if implemented across the U.S., “would bankrupt the nation”.

Knowing they cannot call it what it really is, the dishonest supporters of the bill falsely instead compare their planned government takeover of the health insurance industry to “Medicare”. They further pretend that there is no difference between the funding mechanisms of Medicaid and Medicare. Medicare is a system whereby enrollees have paid into to the system for decades over the course of their careers, essentially using their own own pot of money to purchase the insurance of their choice as they become senior citizens. Medicaid, like the legislation introduced, is paid for by state and federal taxpayers each year.

Rhode Island’s existing Medicaid system is heavily dependent on federal funding. The proposed “Medicaid for all” legislation, which goes against the direction that the federal government is going, would receive zero federal funding … and cannot possibly be sustained by state households and businesses.

In this regard, supporters of this socialized-medicine plan also falsely compare the proposed legislation to Canada’s healthcare system. Nations can run deficits and print money when costs inevitably rise and exceed planned budgets. US States must operate under balanced budgets and cannot add to the money supply and therefore, must resort to higher taxes or reduced services via so-called “death panels”.

Further, with no limit on how high taxes might go, and with the government mandating which coverage is available, enrollees will be left with high taxes and no choice. Conversely, under Medicare, private insurers are allowed to create and market various health insurance products.

If similar to last year’s version, the bill would likely lead to another government-created economic and human rights disaster, as happened with government-run UHIP and DCYF programs. A newly created bureaucracy would automatically register residents in government healthcare and would collect new payroll taxes. The scheme would also set prices for all doctors and other healthcare providers and would forbid private insurers from offering competing products. In short only government-approved plans would be allowed.

The legislation also makes believe that its massive multi-billion price tag could somehow be shouldered by already overtaxed households and businesses. Rhode Island’s already dismal business and consumer climate would become worse.

Bankruptcy-Level Costs: In 2015, the same progressive economist cited as an expert by Regunberg and Calkin in their media release, University of Massachusetts at Amherst Professor Gerald Friedman, published a report estimating the potential effects of a single-payer healthcare system in Rhode Island. Friedman gained notoriety in 2016 for his economic analysis supporting the economic plan of Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders, which suggests that any bias in his analysis of single-payer health care would be toward making its outcomes look better, rather than worse. Friedman’s own report acknowledges that such a system in Rhode Island would require a $3.7 billion increase in taxpayer funding of health care. Even a cursory review, however, suggests that he greatly overestimates savings to what he estimates would actually be a $13.2 billion program.

For instance, Friedman assumes that single-payer health care for everybody in our diverse single state could be administered as efficiently Medicare, which covers a relatively homogenous population (the elderly) at the federal level. Some might argue that the state government would actually be less efficient than the private-public mix of our state’s current health care system, but even if we assume improvement to the level of Medicaid under single-payer, we would have to add $497 million to Friedman’s estimate.

More (click on a link below):

2011 federal GAO study  shows many kids have worse access to doctors under government-run health insurance