Adam Thierer’s lead article in the most recent Cato Policy Report is called “The Sad State of Cyber‐Politics.” It goes through so many ways tech and telecom companies are playing the Washington game to win or keep competitive advantage.
It’s a nice set‐up to a Washington Post opinion piece from this weekend in which TownFlier CEO Morris Panner talks about the growing riches accruing to Washington influencers:
We are creating so much regulation — over tax policy, health care, financial activity — that smart people have figured out that they can get rich faster and more easily by manipulating rules on behalf of existing corporations than by creating net new activity and wealth. Gamesmanship pays better than entrepreneurship.
Thierer sees some hope for the tech sector, for a few reasons:
Smaller tech companies have thus far largely resisted the urge [to engage with Washington]. Hopefully that’s for principled reasons, not just due to a shortage of lobbying resources. Second, the esoteric nature of many Internet and digital technology policy discussions frustrates many lawmakers and often forces them to lose interest in these topics. Third, the breakneck pace of technological change makes it difficult for regulators to bottle up innovation and entrepreneurialism.
Panner’s broader piece calls for “a national campaign to create transparency in our legislation and a national moratorium on the creation of commissions, regulators and czars. It is time for Congress to do the hard job of saying what lawmakers mean in clear and easy‐to‐understand language.” He continues, “We should reject bills that are thousands of pages or that delegate vast authority to unelected regulators.”
That would be a start.