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Friday, January 20, 2006

Hysteria is the sincerest form of flattery...
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A coalition of government-subsidized telephone companies has seen fit to attack the DACA universal service report and proposal. This is not surprising. Rent-seekers always protect their booty, even in the face of a moderate proposed reform like DACA.

We will turn to more substantive responses to the coalition's alarmism later, but it is rather remarkable that the rather august group of scholars we brought together could allegedly be so starkly misinformed and careless. In Mike Riordan and Simon Willkie, we have the participation of two former FCC Chief Economists. With Jerry Ellig, we have an eminent regulatory economist known for his work at the FTC and Mercatus, and Bob Crandall has few peers in analyzing regulatory economics. Dale Hatfield, meanwhile, is a rightful industry legend and former FCC Chief Technologist. Phil Weiser is incomparable in all ways, and decidedly moderate in his views on USF. Finally, the Roberts Atkinson, of PPI and CITI, respectively, have long reputations in the regulatory arena, with "Columbia Bob Atkinson" having been Deputy Bureau Chief at the FCC. I realize that arguments from authority are not dispositive, nor should they be, but I do submit that the DACA proposal brings serious intellectual firepower to the fore and offers a considered proposal to make universal service viable for the future.

The depressing part of all of this is the political reaction of the subsidized companies can be nothing but hysterical in the face of proposed reform. I cannot blame these companies for protecting their self-interest by continuing claims to subsidies, but their attempts to dress up their claim as anything more than Logic of Collective Action interest group rentseeking is unavailing.

posted by Ray Gifford @ 5:30 AM | DACA

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