Wyoming Liberty Group
by Jason Gay
Although not in the news for a while, the efforts to classify internet access as a utility are not nearly as benign as they may first appear. Net Neutrality, the innocuous, misleading name chosen by proponents of internet regulation, remains an ongoing issue. Recently, President Obama called for the FCC to act unilaterally.
There is a major push on several fronts, including academic publications in favor of regulation. The common flaw in these arguments is confusing correlation with causation—they look to areas with greater poverty and limited internet access and see the latter as a cause rather than the former.
On its face, net neutrality seems like a benign concept. The basic idea is that your Internet service provider (ISP) cannot limit your access to the Internet based on the ISP’s preferences. As citizens of a state with a limited selection of ISPs through much of the state, Wyomingites might find this proposition attractive at first glance.
The sages of the day often miss the social effects of technological changes. For example, who knew that the most important use of the Internet would be watching cute cat videos? George Orwell predicted that cheap ubiquitous cameras would accelerate development of the surveillance state, but the author of 1984 might have missed that new technologies can be both a boon and bummer for humankind.
by Bruce Edward Walker
Two admonitions hold true throughout history. The first is “Beware Greeks bearing gifts.” The other is any piece of legislation containing the word “fairness” in its title.
Such is the case with the so-called “Marketplace Fairness Act,” which is co-sponsored by Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY). Under the guise of “fairness” this Trojan horse contains a multitude of harms to businesses, consumers and the fundamental right to avoid taxation without representation.
Senator Enzi (R-Wyo) was in Cheyenne on February 19, 2013 during his statewide listening tour to collect “common sense for Washington from Wyoming.” One piece of common sense he ignored was the call to reject the proposed Internet retail sales tax.
Sen. Enzi has long pushed for legislation to collect the tax on Internet sales. With no luck getting his bills passed, he recently changed his modus operandi and attached the tax grab as an amendment to the latest Senate budget bill.