Friday, June 27, 2003

Executive Branch: Do Not Call Opens

The FTC won't protect property rights. It won't protect due process under law. It won't even protect logic and common sense. But it will protect you from telemarketers:
The opening of the National Do Not Call Registry, a free service of the federal government developed to give consumers a choice about getting telemarketing calls at home, was announced this morning by President George W. Bush, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Timothy J. Muris, and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Michael K. Powell.

The National Do Not Call Registry will make it easier and more efficient for consumers to stop getting telemarketing calls they do not want. Consumers can register in two ways: online or by calling a toll-free number. Registration is free and is available in both English and Spanish.

"We're very pleased that beginning today, consumers can make the call on whether to get telemarketing pitches at home," said FTC Chairman Muris. "Registration is free and easy, whether it is done online or by telephone."
Somebody should charge Muris with false and misleading advertising. The Do Not Call list is hardly "free"--telemarketers will bear the brunt of the costs as they are now legally required to periodically purchase copies of the list from the FTC. Congress also appropriated several million dollars to get the registry up-and-running. This is really a tax on the telemarketing industry, or perhaps a "user fee" if you care to look at it that way.

Muris' obssession with the Do Not Call list is matched only by the FCC's Powell gushing like a wannabe-freedom fighter:
"Government is at its best when it empowers individuals to make their own choices," said FCC Chairman Powell. "Consumers wanted more control over their telephones - and we are giving it to them."
Personally, I control my telephone just fine right now. If somebody calls and I don't want to talk to them, I deal with it through an amazing tecnique known as "hanging up."

I won't argue that Do Not Call is the worst thing the FTC has ever come up with. But it may be one of the dumbest.

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