Note: This first appeared in LessGovernment.org.
Wisconsin uber-Democrat Senator Herb Kohl has just written a really silly letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski.
Senator Kohl’s missive asks the Barack Obama Justice Department and FCC to...do what they’ve already been doing. For far too long.
Which is to “examine closely” Verizon’s $3.6 billion spectrum purchase from SpectrumCo. (Spectrum being the “airwaves” we need for everything wireless - including cell phones.)
This is simply a free market transaction between a willing seller and a willing buyer. But it is a Tech Industry free market transaction - which means the government absurdly has way too much ability to block or jam up the deal. Verizon and SpectrumCo - in fact all Tech companies - are forced to play “Mother May I” with the Leviathan when they want to engage in mutually agreeable commerce.
And the Obama Administration is certainly, repeatedly availing itself of this anti-free market power.
Verizon and SpectrumCo announced their deal way back on December 2, 2011. Yet here we are in mid-May - five and a half months later - and the Administration still has not made a decision.
Why? Because the government ludicrously has 180 days to make it. And it routinely uses every last second.
And then some. The FCC self-extended by three weeks their review of the Verizon deal. Because the Commission demanded of the companies more than 50,000 documents - and they submitted some of them late.
Probably because they were too busy, you know, running their businesses.
And after forcing these companies to wait and waste all of this time, the Obama Administration can still outright block the sale. Which they did to T-Mobile’s proposed sale to AT&T.
Or they can approve it - but with pages and pages of often illegal forced restrictions/conditions - which will make the spectrum less useful and less valuable. They emplaced a litany of such compulsory capitulations on Comcast’s purchase of NBC-Universal.
Again, why must the Tech sector be subjected to this preposterous, excruciating process - when nearly every other part of the private sector is not? If Wal-Mart wants to buy chairs from K-Mart, they do not have to first go hat in hand to the Federales to get permission.
And even with all of these government delays, and reviews, and delays of the reviews - all of which are fabulously conducive to a well functioning free market - Senator Kohl writes the Obama Administration asking that they really put the screws to the deal.
Again, this is a really silly letter.