Cruz makes pitch to save 'American Dream 2.0'

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Finance: GOP criticism of tax bill grows, but few no votes | Highlights from day two of markup | House votes to overturn joint-employer rule | Senate panel approves North Korean banking sanctions GOP criticism of tax bill grows, but few ready to vote against it Anti-gay marriage county clerk Kim Davis to seek reelection in Kentucky MORE (R-Texas) is warning that federal regulators are trying to stifle economic growth and freedom of the Internet.

The potential 2016 White House candidate on Thursday wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post warning that net neutrality is “one of the biggest regulatory threats to the Internet,” and laying out a host of policy prescriptions to save freedom online.

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The Internet, he wrote, is “the American Dream, 2.0.”

New Federal Communications Commission rules, however, would “invariably destroy innovation and freedom,” he argued.

“We don’t leave our constitutional rights behind when we go online,” Cruz wrote. “The same commitment to the principles of liberty that made the United States the greatest economic superpower that the world has ever seen must prevail in the virtual world as well."

Cruz was one of the GOP’s most vocal critics of President Obama’s call for the FCC to reclassify Internet service as a utility earlier this week. His Thursday op-ed repeats and expands upon the claim that net neutrality — the notion that federal rules should ensure that companies like Comcast and Time Warner Cable treat all online content equally — is “ObamaCare for the Internet.”

The op-ed seems like an aggressive appeal to young people who are native to the Internet, as part of a possible ramp-up to a presidential bid.

While Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), another likely presidential candidate, has been most associated with that demographic, Cruz seems unwilling to abandon the turf.

In addition to railing against net neutrality, Cruz praised critics of 2012 intellectual property laws that opponents said would have trampled their free speech rights. He also warned lawmakers against supporting an online sales tax bill that might come up in the lame-duck session.

The Marketplace Fairness Act would “force online retailers to comply with every sales tax jurisdiction in the country,” he warned, by allowing local jurisdictions to collect taxes when residents buy things online from other states.

“It would be a crying shame if the first thing Republicans do after winning a historic election is return to Washington for a lame-duck session and pass an unprecedented, massive new tax requirement — up to $340 billion over 10 years — on Internet sales nationwide,” he wrote, citing a conservative group's estimate.

He also rallied Republicans to oppose the Obama administration’s plan to hand off oversight of an Internet management role to a nonprofit organization that manages basic Web functions.

The action, Cruz warned, would only empower leaders in Russia, China and Iran to assert greater control of the Internet.