A three-judge appellate panel has, for the moment, halted the suit over the statutory question of whether the FTC can regulate common carriers at all, even when the issue is a consumer-deception case right in the agency's wheelhouse.
The FTC warns that if it has no regulatory authority here, then wireless carriers, cloud networks, email platforms and others will be able to violate privacy, bait and switch prospects, throttle their networks and otherwise run roughshod over consumers of digital services -- which is to say: everyone. But the 9th Circuit told the government no dice.
And at this news, ring-a-ling, somewhere a Republican angel got his wings.
Hasn't virtually every GOP politician since Honest Abe railed against government regulation as an onerous encroachment into the affairs of commerce that the Nanny State imposes at the cost of countless jobs and competitive disadvantage with more laissez faire foreigners?
Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard M. Nixon, for instance, both vetoed versions of the Clean Water Act. Not the Fast Food Managers Must Use #3-Lead Mechanical Pencils of Exactly 7.24 inches in Length Act. The freaking Clean Water Act.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 has helped reduce workplace fatalities 57% even as the population has increased 63%. It was lobbied against heavily, long delayed and finally watered down by the National Manufacturers Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and their Republican allies in Congress.
And I needn't tell you about keeping assault weapons off the street even though kindergartners are mowed down like clay pigeons, or putting some restraints on Wall Street and banks, even though their unchecked greed brought the world within a whisker of financial Armageddon. “We shouldn't put in place a regulatory regime that overly reacts and, as a result, significantly dampens our capacity to have the most vibrant capital and credit markets in the world,” said Judd Gregg, R-N.H. in voting against the Dodd-Frank bill. Or climate denier Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell putting Kentucky coal jobs against the fate of the entire planet.
The unshakeable anti-regulation creed is isn't so much a policy question as a religion, based not on economic data or real-world experience, but faith. There is simply no macroeconomic evidence that government intervention -- even on a massive scale, such as the EPA -- has damaged the overall economy. The loss of American manufacturing jobs is a result of unsustainable labor costs in a global economy, not limits on dumping PCBs in the river.
Yet we are supposedly strangling business. Nobody in the laissez faire camp seems to be fazed much which business strangles us. The same people who demand law and order on the streets, mainly by stopping and frisking black men, get irate at the idea of imposing law and order in the executive suite by white men with stock options.
Wells Fargo. General Motors. Volkswagen. Turing Pharmaceuticals, Enron, Bear Stearns, Bank of America, Parmalat, Arthur Andersen, Barclays, Philip-Morris, Archer Daniels Midland, Worldcom, Union Carbide, A.H. Robins (Dalkon Shield). Drexel Burnham.
Lemme know if you need more examples. It’s a long list, because -- as I never get bored reminding people -- one thing the free market is free of is conscience.
That's how Donald P.O.S. Trump can promise "I am going to cut regulations massively" from one side of his mouth and say “I am the law and order candidate” with the other. No easy trick, considering that at the same time his tongue is down some woman's throat.
But I digress. I mega-digress. The point is, for those who would save citizens from the tyranny of evil bureaucrats oppressively protecting us from physical danger and economic crimes, the 9th Circuit offered quite an unexpected little gift. Who would expect such a treat from a panel of activist judges who are usually busy legislating from the bench in order to destroy everything good about this country with socialist propaganda, like the Bill of Rights?
So I want to tweet Trump and McConnell and the Chamber of Commerce, to help them mobilize their world. I've got an unlimited data plan, too. Thing is, though, I can't get a fucking signal.