Where Are The Headline-Seeking Pols When We Need Them?

By Daniel Akst
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For awhile now I've been dragging my feet on the task of upgrading our family's cell-phone service. It's the usual story: we want iPhones but we also want Verizon. There are four of us so it costs too much. And in general I have the idea that the cell-phone companies are gouging through their control of the regulatory environment.

Having just returned from Europe, I find the shortcomings in American cell service particularly stark. If you too have a sense of being vaguely wronged (I have to marry a company for two years just to get a phone?!), check out this scathing piece on the whole subject, which lays it all out pretty nicely. The executive summary: we are getting royally screwed by anti-competitive practices and regulatory capture. And we pay for it every month.

It would seem to me that some ambitious politician ought to be able to make a lot of hay here. Evidently we can't expect much from Congress, which is largely bought and paid for (all of them? really? well it seems that way anyway). And sadly, Eliot Spitzer didn't get around to taking on these guys before he crashed and burned. Perhaps Andrew Cuomo (NY's current Attorney General) will do something. I can't imagine a more potentially popular crusade.

(Photo: Flickr User masochismtango)

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2009/08/where-are-the-headline-seeking-pols-when-we-need-them/23684/