Among the plethora of important stories that are generally drowned out by “news” about Russia, is the debate on net neutrality. The basic idea of net neutrality is that internet service providers (like Verizon or Comcast) are required to give equal internet speeds to all sites, rather than letting some people pay extra to make their sites run faster than others. Without net neutrality, Verizon would be able to make some websites and applications run slower speeds, and make those sites (or their users) pay extra to get full speed.
Take for example, the recent test that Verizon tried to deny, where they throttled the speed of streaming video applications. Without net neutrality rules, Verizon could make videos go slower far all of their customers, and then offer a “premium” package that you would have to buy in order to have full stream videos or music. Or, Verizon could charge Netflix extra money to let the Netflix app run smoothly, and then Netflix would eventually pass those costs on to subscribers. Any company that doesn’t have the money to pay extra for speed, would be put at an instant disadvantage.Did I mention the FCC, which has control over this, is currently run by an ex-employee of Verizon?
So it is easy to understand why dismantling net neutrality would be a bad thing for small businesses. People would stop using their websites if the competitors sites run so much better. You will have a hard time selling things online if your website is half as fast as Amazon or Wal-Mart’s. The FCC chairman & Verizon think that net neutrality is bad for the free market, but it’s easy to argue the opposite when you consider the impact on small business. In another example, Comcast could make its own news network, MSNBC, faster than independent (like TYT) or competing networks (like Fox News).
So why don’t pro-business conservatives (or corporate democrats) seem to care that much about net neutrality? There is rarely a mention of this important topic around mainstream media. The conservatives of my various social media streams have been blabbing about all the usual nonsense, but none of them seem concerned about this. My optimistic guess is that they do not understand the difference between small business and corporations.
High-level Republicans have done a great job of misleading their followers with respect to government’s impact on businesses. It is one of their most important missions, to continuously blur the line between what is good for regular people, and what is good for mega-rich people. The GOP helps corporations because rich people serve on their boards and own lots of stocks. Common Republicans support pro-corporate agendas under the premise that these things are good for small businesses or the working class. What a joke!
It’s just like the healthcare debate. People who claim to support small business throw a weak argument that single-payer healthcare would be bad for businesses in general. But look at a practical example. When you own a business, you and all your workers pay taxes. If every taxpayer had access to healthcare by default, you would no longer have to provide it as a form of compensation. Even better, when you need to hire any high-skilled workers, your larger competitors no longer have the benefit of offering a better plan! Sure, you are going to have to pay more taxes when you become a rich person, but you have a better chance of becoming one at least!
Please, let’s stop acting like the same rules apply to all manners of business. Let’s stop pretending that a market can be completely “free,” when by its very nature a market must have rules. We must appeal to working-class conservatives, and show them that the things that are good for average people, are also good for average businesses.