CEI Weekly: Attack of the National Broadband Plans

CEI Weekly is a compilation of articles and blog posts from CEI’s fellows and associates sent out via e-mail every Friday. Also included in the Weekly newsletter is a brief description of CEI’s weekly podcast and a feature on a major CEI breakthrough made during the week. To sign up for CEI Weekly, go to http://cei.org/newsletters.

CEI Weekly
July 24, 2009

>>CEI Files Public Comments to FCC: Exercise Restraint From Regulating Broadband
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed into law earlier this year, set aside $7.2 billion for expanding broadband Internet access. Just this week, the FCC concluded its notice of inquiry regarding how these funds should be spent, and in particular, what new regulations should accompany the money. In our comments last month, and our reply comments this week, we explain that most of the proposed new rules are just price controls in sheep’s clothing, and that new subsidies will follow in the wasteful and anticompetitive footsteps of existing programs.
>>Read a summary of CEI’s comments here.
>>CEI’s filing gets covered in ARS Technica
>>FCC’s response to 8,500 pages worth of suggestions; “Sloppy,” and a “Lack of Seriousness and Purpose.”
>>Wayne Crews’ blog post runs through the harms of a national broadband plan.

>>CEI’s Policy Highlights
Coalition Letter on Optional Federal Chartering– Eli Lehrer

>>Shaping the Debate
Justice Department’s Fear of Google Book Publishing is Misplaced
Jonathan Hillel in The San Jose Mercury News
Toxic Revenge
Silvia Santacruz in Forbes.com
Beach Plan Fix Would Require Another Fix Later
Eli Lehrer in The Carolina Journal
Holding Paulson Accountable for This Mess
John Berlau in CBS News

>>Best of the Blogs
Corrupt, Bullying Nicaraguan Ruler Emboldened by Obama’s Demand That Honduras Accept Return of Would-Be Dictator
by Hans Bader
Nicaragua’s corrupt, authoritarian president Daniel Ortega is now pushing a change to his country’s constitution to extend his rule. Ortega is a former communist backed by Venezuela’s anti-American strongman Hugo Chavez. He uses vote fraud, arbitrary arrests, and intimidation to expand and perpetuate his power. Ortega has been emboldened by the Obama Administration’s demand that neighboring Honduras permit the return of its corrupt, bullying ex-president Mel Zelaya, who was removed for similarly seeking to perpetuate his rule.
Democrats Inconsistent on Senior Death Discount
by Greg Conko
Cass Sunstein who is nominated to be the next Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs faces opposition coming from far-left Democrats and the environmental and consumerist movements over his embrace of cost-benefit analysis in regulatory policymaking.  Especially troubling to these groups is Sunstein’s support for what critics deride as the “senior death discount,” which Time describes as “the statistical practice of taking into account years of life expectancy when evaluating a regulation.” If that’s a problem for Cass Sunstein, then what are we to make of various Democratic proposals to allocate fewer health care resources on the basis of their expected value to society?
Obama Health-Care Plan Destroys Cheap Health-Care Options, Raises Taxes, Breaks Promises
by Hans Bader
Obama promised not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 a year. But he is now breaking that promise by proposing to tax some middle-class families to pay for health care. Obama has also falsely pledged that if you like your health insurance, you will be able to keep it under his plan. But the Congressional health-care bills he backs would destroy countless inexpensive health-care plans by gutting a federal law called ERISA that makes it possible for employers to offer them.
Want Recovery? Remember Antitrust is Anti-Economy
by Wayne Crews
Antitrust is a form of economic regulation. And like all economic regulation, it transfers wealth from somebody to somebody else, often in response to special-interest urging. Partly in recognition of such shortcomings, many economic sectors like transportation and telecommunications were (partly) deregulated and liberalized during the last quarter of the 20th century. But antitrust regulation typically gets a pass. Even in the “new economy,” this century-old smokestack era law is used to justify constraints and conditions imposed on vigorously competitive modern companies. Antitrust is wrongly seen as being in the public interest, as having a superior role to play in policing markets relative to the alternatives.

Episode 52: Tim Carney – Uncensored
We start with the short-sighted lobbying of HMOs for more government control of health care, the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing and the latest New York City corruption scandal. We then move on to potential antitrust troubles for Japanese beer makers, India’s refusal to play the global warming game and some avenging Olympic News.

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Charles Huang
Web and Media Associate
Competitive Enterprise Institute
[email protected]