Regulation for Fun and Profit

The National Association of Broadcasters and the Recording Industry Association of America are lobbying Congress to have the government require that FM receivers be built into cell phones and other portable electronics devices.

The squandering of resources that would required by this proposal, should it become law, would not be as visually striking as 20 miles of railroad track filled with unused lumber cars, but would be real nonetheless.

How much of America’s economic output and growth potential is being wasted on politically-driven but economically-irrational subsidies of one kind or another? The number would be hard to calculate, but it is surely large, and certainly growing very rapidly.

Related: Apparently, more than half of Britain’s wind-power farms have been built in places where there is not enough wind. Anyone want to bet that there is nothing similar happening here?

FM-receiver link via Code Monkey, lumber-car link via Instapundit, wind-farm link via Maggie’s Farm.

7 thoughts on “Regulation for Fun and Profit”

  1. If it were not for the federal subsidies for wind power and the mandate that windfarms do not pay for their lousy capacity factor, none would be built at all.

    My wallet squirms as it tries to stay shut every time I drive by the endless miles of windmills between Abilene and Midland, TX.

  2. Thanks for the link.

    The NAB/RIAA proposal is a perfect example of the old saying about Democracy being like a pack of wolves. The one thing the NAB and RIAA could agree on was legislation to force the CEA (Consumer Electronics Association) members to modify their products for the benefit of the NAB and RIAA.

    Also, for those interested, my link provided several other burdensome new restrictions on devices and possibly even the web in the area of accessibility for the disabled.

  3. As I was growing up in Chicago, the Illinois Toll Road was being built. The local consensus at the time was that the right of way had been designed to pass through every piece of land owned by a politician in the state of Illinois. At least in the northern part of the state. Look at the course on a map sometime and remember that was all empty farmland in 1950.

  4. That’s a very backward proposal. Over in ‘Blighty we are being threatened with having all analogue radio (AM & FM) turned off, and horrible DAB being touted as the future. This is despite our system using older technology than many European countries, and suffering poor quality as a result.

    It is bad enough for the domestic listener who is expected to replace perfectly good equipment, but if you listen in your car the situation is not as simple. Virtually all new cars have integrated radios, to make theft pointless. So you can’t just go to your local car accessory shop and buy a new one. You are tied to whatever the car manufacturer produces, frequently at some considerable cost.

    Digital tuners use more power than analogue ones, so it would reduce all important battery life if they had to be incorporated in phones etc.

    But of course the REAL reason behind this (and the digital TV changeover) is to sell off huge chunks of spectrum and make lots of money……

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