NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Net Neutrality: Job-Killing Zombie

November 2, 2010

Politician swear they are laser-focused on creating job, but it is seemingly impossible to kill wrong-headed policies that undercut growth and jobs, say Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum, and Sam Batkins, the coordinator of regulatory issues at American Action Forum. 

For two examples, consider health care reform and net neutrality.

  • The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act had more funerals than Tom Sawyer -- but the legislation nonetheless became law, despite the dire policy implications for jobs, federal spending and health care.
  • Costly new regulatory burdens on business, higher insurance costs for employers and $500 billion in new taxes are an immediate threat to jobs in the United States.

Many now predict that "net neutrality" -- a Washington power grab that seeks to dictate how private telecoms prioritize use of limited bandwidth -- is walking the Green Mile.  As Congress scurried to finish its legislative business before returning to the campaign trail, the compromise net neutrality legislation died in committee, say Holtz-Eakin and Batkins.

  • But its death gives the Federal Communications Commission another chance to regulate the bandwidth decisions of private companies.
  • This could spell death to the thousands of jobs created each year by the billions of dollars private telecoms spend on infrastructure.
  • Imposing net neutrality could reduce broadband expansion and cost the U.S. economy upwards of 300,000 jobs, according to a new Phoenix Center study.
  • Just a 10 percent decline in IT infrastructure investment, Brett Swanson of Entropy Economics found, could eliminate 502,000 jobs and $62 billion in gross domestic product growth.

The next Congress should put net neutrality and other job-killers in their rightful place: the ashbin of discredited policy ideas.

Source: Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Sam Batkins, "Net Neutrality: Job-Killing Zombie," October 27, 2010.

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