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The Next Time Someone Says ‘Deregulation’…

October 21st, 2008 | by Omnipotent Poobah |

The Fruits of Deregulation

My friends, the next time someone mentions the word “deregulation“, do the world a favor and punch them square between the eyes…really hard. If they say the words “free markets“, give them a hearty kick of the hobnails for good measure. Why? Because that person is dangerous and a menace to themselves and society.

Deregulation is the battle cry of the unabashed capitalist. They love the concept of being able to run amok unfettered because greed is the dark heart of capitalism. Not the genises of freedom or democracy nor the benevolent creator of jobs. Capitalism is all about making money and making it without a thimble full of consciencous - consumers and employees be damned.

In all the years deregulation has been the rage, I’ve yet to see benefits for anyone other than sawdust headed executives and large-scale investors. Ma Bell - once a sort of benevolent dictator - was broken up for being too big. In return, telecommunications was deregulated. Ma Bell was supposed to be smaller so it wouldn’t have enough power to single-handedly rule the market. Lots of competitors were supposed to pop up, making things cheaper. Boy, was that ever a failure.

Breaking Up is To Easy to Do
Since breaking up, Ma Bell has gone on steroids and does tag team matches with professional wrestlers. They’re probably bigger now than if they’d been left alone to their monopoly. And instead of consumers benefiting, we now have every electronics jockey with a degree from DeVry calling themselves a telecom.

Most people’s services are sprinkled across a panoply of telecoms. While deregulators wax rhapsodic about lower prices and better technology, telecoms intentionally price their wares so that no one - including the telecoms themselves - can tell you how much it costs to call from Peoria, IL to Tit, Algeria. They routinely slam customers - adding services or switching them without permission. Instead of reliable service, we use cellphones that do everything but wipe our deregulated asses but the do nothing well.

A Hell of a Way to Run an Airline
Deregulation has failed in a host of other markets too. Instead of a dozen financially healthy, safe, and efficient airlines we have 207 weak ones that mistake airplanes for Greyhound buses, fail to get flyers and their luggage to their destinations within the same week, and vend their critical maintentance to the Aeroflot base in Lower Slobovia. Deregulated energy markets begat Ken Lay and California blackouts. Deregulated insurance companies helped them skip paying for “acts of God”, like thunderstorms, hurricanes, earthquakes, and totalled cars. You can bet they weren’t so forgiving of the customers who paid their premiums on time. As a result of the current deregulated monetary crisis, we’re on our way to 5 or 6 monolithic banks while deregulated lenders shun responsiblity for those empty, weed-choked houses on your street - and the people who lived in them until they committed suicide.

But deregulation hasn’t been bad for everyone. The deregulated lobbying industry looks like a growth industry these days. A smart investor would move their blue chips to the lobbyist du jour if they sold shares. The stock (not the paper ones) of politicians and CEOs is also headed north - in about the same proportion as yours and mine heads south.

Is deregulation the only fault? No, because the greed at the heart of it isn’t just institutional, it’s a parasite attached to key people. Does everything need to be deregulated? No, but I say lock ‘em down if the bastards if can’t police themselves. Dereulation fails more often then not and that’s why I offer my advice again.

The next time someone mentions the word “deregulation”, do the world a favor and punch them square between the eyes…really hard.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

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  1. One Response to “The Next Time Someone Says ‘Deregulation’…”

  2. By Independent Mind on Oct 22, 2008 | Reply

    John McCain’s plan to win your heart and mind is working, Omnipotent Poobah. He already has you starting your messages with “My friends.” Soon you’ll be questioning global warming and demanding we go to war with Iran! Search your feelings, Omnipotent Poobah, you know this to be true! Give in to the Conservative side!

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