I’m thankful for Ajit Pai

Last year I told my friend Bob Clark that if the Trump administration actually repeals Obama’s net neutrality rules, I would give them some credit here on the pages of the Oregon Catalyst. Thanksgiving weekend is the perfect time to find something nice to say about our current executive branch.

Like other Trump policy successes, this comes more from appointing the right person than anything. In Ajit Pai, we definitely have the right FCC Chair.

As a policy goal, net neutrality had two things going for it. First it was alliterative, and second, it came packaged with unrealistic promises of faster internet connections for all.

When we underprice services, we get shortages, not better service. Our internet service providers are no exception.

Earlier this year, I read Alfred Kahn’s classic work The Economics of Regulation. It made me more open to the efficacy of regulating natural monopolies, but we have sufficient competition in this sector to avoid the costs in investment and innovation that come from what ought to be a policy of last resort. Like the Roosevelt administration setting up the Civil Aeronautics Board in 1938, the Obama administration almost stunted the growth of a critical industry.

Nick Gillespie of Reason Magazine conducted a great interview with Ajit Pai. You can listen to it here:

Eric Shierman lives in Salem and is the author of A Brief History of Political Cultural Change.


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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Government Regulation | 1 Comment |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Bob Clark

    Thank you, Eric. You know Jimmy Carter isn’t the bad president many on the right make him out to be. He appointed Alfred Kahn as one of his advisers and Kahn went about essentially ending the regulation of airfares, unleashing several decades of low cost airline travel and making it much more accessible to middle class folks especially.

    Carter also began partial deregulation of the natural gas industry, which ultimately gave way to flow blown deregulation at the wellhead; and natural gas is so inexpensive it is displacing a large share of coal in electricity generation now; and this the major contributor to the reduction in CO2 emission levels in the U.S since peak in 2007.

    Carter also went after AT&T for its hold over cell phone technology as a monopoly – admittedly this is a bit more controversial. Now the Trump administration is trying to keep AT&T from expanding more broadly in to media content with its proposed Time Warner merger. I think Trump is off course in trying to block AT&T here, as content is pretty pervasive from other venues. Might be Trump’s animosity towards CNN, part of the Time Warner empire, getting in the way of better governance.
    Mr. T has warts for sure but he is the best dirty shirt in the closet – so to speak. Happy Thanksgiving.

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