The Limits of Efficiency

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There was a time in American history when the government did not involve itself in matters of regulation. One of the driving forces in the movement to settle the American colonies had been a desire to escape the chafing scrutiny of oppressive regulation in Great Britain, and nineteenth-century politics were in many ways shaped by the desire to show that the United States was the place where the rugged individual could stand tall and succeed as a result of his or her own hard work, unfettered by silly regulations and overly nosy bureaucrats.


And so unions formed, and enough of a public outcry was raised to stir Congress to action.
The COPE Act sounds like a promise to return to the easier days before regulation in some parts of the cable television and Internet industry. Because it can take months for cable companies to be awarded franchises, this bill sets up a system of "national cable franchising" in Title I (Summary of COPE Act). The bonus is that applications will now be awarded in thirty days. However, this will lead to the elimination of competition, and insufficient media infrastructure in poor communities, and so this bill threatens the access of many to affordable media. As a result, it should not be made into law as it is currently written.
It may seem that creating one franchising standard nationwide would be a positive change. ...
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