It’s funny how, as far as Republicans are concerned, you shouldn’t go asking the government for help, unless you’re a billion-dollar corporation. The reason the free market is great, according to Republicans, is that you have to provide quality, competitive goods and services, thus allowing the cream to rise to the top… unless you’re a billion-dollar corporation.
Last year, a new company called Lightsquared promised an innovative business model that would dramatically lower cell phone costs and improve the quality of service, threatening the incumbent phone operators like AT&T and Verizon. Lightsquared used a new technology involving satellites and spectrum, and was a textbook example of how markets can benefit the public through competition. The phone industry swung into motion, not by offering better products and services, but by going to Washington to ensure that its new competitor could be killed by its political friends. And sure enough, through three Congressmen that AT&T and Verizon had funded (Fred Upton (R-MI), Greg Walden (R-OR), and Cliff Stearns (R-FL)), Congress began demanding an investigation into this new company. Pretty soon, the Federal Communications Commission got into the game, revoking a critical waiver that had allowed it to proceed with its business plan.
And so Americans continue to have a small number of expensive, poor quality cell phone providers.
It’s almost like all this “free market” talk goes out the window when the plutocrats’ billionaire buddies need a helping hand from the government.