Issue Position: Transportation & Technology
Transportation & Technology
The bulk of the laws and regulations governing communications in the United States were enacted in 1934, when basic telephone service was limited if available at all. Unfortunately, Congress and Washington regulators continue to live in the past while American consumers and businesses embrace the 21st century.
Advancements in consumer technologies have still moved forward, of course, but these innovations have occurred for the most part in spite of, not because of, government direction. In just the last decade, light regulation has allowed many services once enjoyed by a very few to be a part of nearly everyone's daily life. Wireless phones have evolved into powerful handheld computers, and 250 million Americans now use them. Satellite radio is available on a nationwide basis with over 12 million subscribers. Satellite television has been adopted by over 30 million households.
The common theme of all these developments is that they are the product of a dynamic marketplace. Entrepreneurs and investors took risks and offered choices to consumers who were frustrated with the quality, choice, and cost involved with old-style, overly-regulated telephone, radio, TV and cable service. The clear benefit of these less regulated pockets in the communications industry has been increased innovation and choice for consumers looking for the best value for their hard-earned dollars.
The success of new communications services has had the unfortunate side effect of making them targets for governments eager for more tax revenue. Sen. Jim DeMint is fighting against this trend, as a cosponsor of the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (S. 156), the Cell Phone Tax Moratorium Act (S. 166) and the Telephone Excise Tax Repeal Act (S. 170).
DeMint understands that we live in a constantly changing world. Bureaucratic regulators in the federal government will never be able to predict or direct where technology is headed and will only continue to stifle pioneering innovation as they look to regulate developing industries.