Tuesday, June 25, 2024
HomeTravelNanny Biden just won’t stop interfering

Nanny Biden just won’t stop interfering

Sometimes government expansion looks like the dangerous bulking-up of Big Brother. Sometimes it looks more niggling, merely petty interference by the nanny state.
President Joe Biden’s latest intrusions are seemingly of that pettifogging, prune-faced variety rather than apparently casting the shadow of tyranny. But the truth is that Nanny works for Big Brother, building his unwonted and unwanted authority incrementally, so the distinction between the two is more apparent than real. Both militate against freedom while pretending to improve our lives.
This week, Nanny Biden has been rushing in to fix what ain’t broke. His Federal Communications Commission is about to reimpose “net neutrality” so the federal government can interfere unnecessarily in the running of the internet, steering investment and fixing prices as it chooses.
Net neutrality is the preferred term hit upon by Barack Obama when he was president to suggest Washington would make internet access fairer by treating providers, such as Verizon and AT&T, as though they were common carriers subject to the 1934 Communications Act.
Net neutrality actually stanched internet investment and slowed access — precisely the opposite of its supposed benefit — and both turned around for the better only when President Donald Trump scrapped Obama’s rules. As the Wall Street Journal noted, the proportion of Americans with high-speed broadband increased to 94% by 2019 compared to 77% in the year before Trump took office. More competition also meant prices fell.
FCC regulation of the internet is unnecessary and deleterious to the industry and users. But Democrats have their heart set on controlling this preeminent means of modern communication, which they believe has for too long remained out of their clutches.
Biden’s Federal Trade Commission doesn’t want to be outpaced by the FCC, so it has decided to insert itself unnecessarily into another area of our lives. It plans to ban businesses from demanding noncompete clauses in employment contracts that prevent staff from going to work for competitors.
There is much to dislike about such clauses. A company I once worked for demanded them, and it quickly became clear to me that they work primarily against the interests of the company that imposes them. For they are an impediment to hiring the best people. High-quality people who can pick and choose where they work often decline to join employers who want to tie them down.
Noncompetes are sometimes necessary so an employer can protect intellectual property. Rivals love to poach staff who can bring not just their skills but also trade secrets. So, an employer must weigh whether the trade secrets a staffer will have access to are sufficiently important to make a noncompete necessary, even at the risk that the best candidate will reject a job offer.
In other words, the market sorts the matter out, as it usually does. There is no need for Nanny Biden to step in. One also wants, as so often, to bellow the question, “What business is it of yours, Washington?” Why can’t prospective employers and employees agree privately whatever they wish? Washington interference crimps hiring, job growth, wages, and freedom.
Not to be outdone by either the FCC or the FTC, the Department of Transportation is “cracking down” on contracts between airlines and passengers. As with all Nanny’s meddling, it presents its changes as measures to make life better for most people. It will outlaw “surprise junk fees” and mandate quick cash repayments for services not provided. This sounds grand, saving passengers $500 million a year, according to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
But as welcome as such a move seems, especially in an election year, it will jack up ticket prices. So will Buttigieg’s demand that airlines stop charging parents extra for seating next to their children and new mandates for better amenities for people in wheelchairs.
There is no such thing as a free lunch, nor any such thing as a free improvement to services provided by commercial enterprises. They cost money, and we will all have to pay. The federal government wants us to believe it is improving our lives, but all it amounts to is an overweening central power dictating how we interact with each other because it thinks it knows better than we do what is good for us.
It is arrogant in the strictest sense of the word. It takes power, independence, and agency from us and puts us more in the hands of the federal government. Leviathan grows and grows. Sometimes only by little increments. But its growth is mostly on a ratchet. It rarely shrinks, which is why it was so notable that the Trump administration eliminated as many as 20 regulations for every new one it imposed.
Under our current leftist government, Washington is worming its way into ever more remote areas of our lives. Nanny Biden has put the ratchet firmly back in place.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments

Translate »