July 01, 2003
THE FREE MARKET AT WORK....Over in The Corner yesterday, Jonah Goldberg spent four or five posts desperately trying to find a "practical" solution to telemarketing calls that doesn't involve government regulation. He is "ideologically torn" here, acknowledges that "many Americans just want to make the phone stop ringing" here, continues to beg someone — anyone! — to provide a "politically workable solution" here, and agrees that the do-not-call registry is just another case of nanny-state-ism here.
Poor Jonah, all this angst over a minor government program that allows people to express their preference about the free market in junk telemarketing calls. You know, from watching The Sopranos I've learned that apparently there's also a "market" (in New Jersey, anyway) for "bumping off" people, and it works pretty efficiently. Unfortunately, the damn feds keep interfering in this industry, causing all manner of market distortions for Tony Soprano and his business associates. Damn shame, that.
Sarcasm aside, though, there's a serious point here and Goldberg himself realizes it:
From internet porn in libraries to spam to telemarketers, technology is exposing the ossified nature of government bureaucracy. What I'm interested in is whether or not there is a realistic political strategy for keeping Americans from demanding that the government fix these new problems. If that's possible, then government can be shrunk over time as the society outgrows it. Unfortunately, I'm not optimistic about the project's chances.
The fact that Goldberg even bothers writing about this shows the ridiculous lengths to which conservative ideology goes in its efforts to deny that there is any legitimate form of human decision making other than free market forces. Yesterday's exchange is just a micro example of the bankruptcy of this view, and a rather desperate attempt to avoid the obvious conclusion that the easiest, best, and cheapest way to deal with this problem is, indeed, the ossified bureaucracy of the federal government.
(And I wonder if Goldberg knows it? A few days ago he suggested that social conservatives should just give up the fight on gay marriage, and now he's admitting that the free market doesn't seem to have a solution for everything. Perhaps the NRO Borg is losing its grip on him?)
Posted by Kevin Drum at July 1, 2003 11:47 AM
A friend posted this over at skippy:
It appals but does not surprise that Americans believe do-not-call is a good thing. Something like 74% of the US population believe spam calling should be illegal. Illegal. Of course. But we are so completely cowed by corporate power that we think it's A GREAT THING that we are allowed by our masters to ask that we not be called. Geeesh.
When will people stand up?
It may take another 500 years, but eventually regular people are going to realize that reducing everything to money, and the "freedom" to make it, isn't reconcilable with actual personal freedom, not to mention things like values, morals, love and family.
This is the inherent conservative contradiction, and it must eventually pull apart the Republican party, if not some of the individuals in it.
This is a sign of things to come. We're going to see a lot more of this confusion, incoherence, and disollusionment among the younger generation of right-wing intellectuals. Eventually, some of them are going to become Democrats.
Here is the source of the problem: today's conservative intellectuals actually believe in the things that their forebears only pay lip service to. They were genuinely shocked and outraged by the racist comments of Trent Lott. This is becuase they actually believe in racial equailty, and aren't simply arguing against programs like affirmative action because that is the only socially accepable way to express your hatred of minorities.
The younger generation of conservative intellectuals is genuinely committed to fiscal responsbility, too. But their party isn't, and there will be a reckoning.
And while they often stick up for the religious right, they don't share their views, and are drifting further and further apart. The extreme social intolerance of the religious right is going to be a bigger and bigger problem for the conservative intellectuals.
The bankruptcy of Republican theories on taxation and regulation isn't lost on these guys either. Conservative intellectuals aren't stupid; they know that trickle down hasn't worked out, and can see that an absence of regulation helped lead to things like Enron and the California energy crisis.
In the meantime, the Democratic party has gotten its act together. We no longer espouse (or believe in) the 70's philosophy of big taxes and big government. We are genuinely fiscally conservative, and now recognize the limits of governemt intervention. Even the most liberal Democrat hasn't called for the creation of a big new federal bureauracy for 20 years or so. Meanwhile, the Republicans have totally abandoned their principles and have been reduced to handing out massive quantities of pork and giving tax cuts that transparently benefit the rich. No one even tries to pretend tax cuts will stimulate the economy any more. No one feels terribly oppressed by a 38% marginal rate, either. The conservative intellectuals can't help but notice this.
The Republicans will always have a few loyal troupers who will shill for whatever they propose. Rush seems like a good example; he's loyal and dependable, and will say what they need him to say. But the guys at NRO might well make a break. So will the up-and-coming conservative TV and radio hosts; they need to attract an audience, and they can't do it by repeating old Republican ideas that no one believes in any more.
What Craigie said, which allow me to tighten up just a li'l': If the market is free, THEN NOTHING ELSE IS.
It annoys me quite a bit that this is cast as an instance of "the nanny state" by Goldberg and the reader whose email he posts.
I can understand (don't agree, but understand) when people gripe about "the nanny state" in the context of, for example, the enforcement of seat belt laws. Indeed, a legitimate case can be made (again, I wouldn't agree, but hey) that people should be able to make their own decision about the risks they take.
But what does that have to do with a do-not-call registry? After all, it's not the state that decides for you that you should not be able to get telemarketing calls at home. No, you make the informed decision that you do not want these sales calls, and actually have to do something to prevent them. That the state has to help enforcing that decision to make it effective seems perfectly reasonable.
I think one could even make a libertarian argument for this. After all, if you put up a fence and "no trespassing" signs, you expect the help of the police to actually enforce this (you cannot shoot all trespassers, now, can you?). What's so different about a "no trespassing" sign on your phone connection?
There are market solutions to the problems of what Isaiah Berlin called 'negative liberty', the freedom from predation by governments, theocracies and individuals. However, they are not feasible today.
The basic concept is that if there is a need then someone will offer to service that need for a price. For example, telemarketers do it for pay, they could be paid not to do it. Someone else could be paid to thwart telemarketers, or hurt them financially until they stop. Tony S. could get some work.
The issue isn't whether there are market solutions to market problems, there are, it's what kind of society do we want. We feel it is unfair that we should have to pay a telemarketer to stop annoying us, that they should be forced to stop in some way and harmed for their rudeness. Using state force satisfies this desire but in truth we pay dearly for that service. When we think clearly about the problem we are still paying for our peace, we just hired a police force. This isn't a decision about cost/benefit, it's a choice of what kind of society feels right and today the answer is a police society. We are still very Old Testament about our affairs.
Bureaucracy isn't, as Kevin claims, "the easiest, best, and cheapest way to deal with this problem". It is just the conventional way, the conservative way. Progressive alternatives to these stodgy old conventions are available now, but they are still in beta, still available only to early adopters with the wealth to experiment with new social technologies. In time some of these alternatives may go mainstream at prices that are widely affordable and the bureaucracy will lose some customers, but will continue to offer such services until we decide we want a different society.
The more interesting question is when, if ever. might we come to desire more mature societies that do not use state force to impose our will on others rather than negotiating cooperative arrangements? Will we ever prefer cooperation to conflict? Both cooperation and conflict have costs, that's not the issue. We just seem to enjoy conflict. Some evolutionary psychologists have speculated that we have a hard wired impulse to punish the transgressive, the deviant. It's part of the primate baggage we lug about the modern landscape that may once have been beneficial but is much less so in our modern circumstances. We don't have public hangings anymore or stone the adulterous, but we still have public punishments which get good ratings, have high entertainment value.
Perhaps a new lemony fresh homo futuris will evolve in time that finds such sport to be uninteresting?
Libertarians, I find, never want to recognize disparity in bargaining power as a legitimate reason for governmental regulation. In a pure freemarket anarchy, the remedy for an obnoxious telemarketing call is to refuse to purchase anything from the caller. For telemarketers, however, that's no big deal--they'll just keep calling until they find somebody who isn't inconvenienced or offended to the point of refusing to do business with them. Bothering large numbers of people is simply a minor cost of doing business, measured by the minimum wages for a telemarketer making the unsuccessful calls. There is no way an individual can bargain to get left alone. To a non-libertarian like me, resolving such conflicts where the asymnetry of bargaining power otherwise precludes a rational result is a prime reason why we have government. To a true libertarian, I guess, this asymnetry of baragaining power simply means that the telemarketer always ought to get his way. A wimpy quasi-libertarian like Goldberg, I guess, can only wring his hands and deplore the whole situation, without actually DOING anything about it.
In a democratic Republic, the function of government should be to insulate its citizens from the excesses of each other, business, the Church and other nations.
If regulations are applied uniformly there is no competitive disadvantage locally and if there is global cooperation the regulations may not be anticompetitive at all.
Democratic principles should trump free market philosophy.
The non-gov't solution ultimately involves a gov't solution. The part of libertarian philosophy that those who espouse libertarian ideas wish they could ignore is that the government should be in the business of protecting against fraud. However, it requires that the government take an active role in declaring what defines fraud and declaring fraud to be anything other than a transparent broadcast of one's intentions.
Ultimately, telemarketing calls are a form of implicit fraud-- the act of receiving a phone call implies that someone you know needs to speak to you, or if the caller doesn't know you, there is some sort of emergency you need to know about right now. The act of calling someone up under other circumstances is inherently fraudulent because you are assuming that if the recipient knew why you were calling, he or she would not answer the phone.
"Market-based" solutions to telemarketing require that the law force telemarketers to reveal themselves (via a caller-id-based technology) as unsolicited commercial callers and to allow consumers to flip a switch that blocks these calls before they even arrive. However, "big-business conservatives" (which is what many who call themselves libertarians relaly are) would howl about the "instrusion of government" forcing the telemarketers to reveal themselves, even though, philosophically, said telemarketers are engaging in the sort of "fraud" that libertarians are supposed to be against.
There has long been a Do not call registry in NY state (which applies to out-of-state telemarketers). It works great. Since I signed up we've had one call from a telemarketer, and I filed a report. Yes, the ossified government bureucracy took two months to respond to my report - but they did send me a form to fill out and sign which shows that they are building up a case against this telemarketer. I'm happy, I don't see any problems with the system, or why it can't work just as well on the national level.
I like the bit about the free Market in New Jersey ...
What is really sad about such arguments is that most mainstream economists admit that there is no such thing as a free market - it is an ideal construct. Yet to promote the free market is somehow being more practical and realistic...
I think back40 has it absolutely backwards as to what a "true libertarian" solution to telemarketers is.
As I am the party being injured, then rightfully I should be able to set a price which the telemarketer must pay to contact me. On some level, this is what the do-not-call registry does, except it's a binary solution. You can choose to be contacted for free, or for $11,000.
Now, for me, I'd place it at right around $5. You can call me, and I'll listen to, say, 5 minutes of your pitch. If I do that, and politely decline, you wire me five bucks. You go over the time, it's ten. If I choose to buy your product, you don't have to pay me. You also don't have to pay me if I don't pick up for whatever reason, or don't sit through the sales pitch.
So now there's a long list of phone numbers that are off limits to telemarketers. What do you guys think will happen?
My fear: Telemarketing firms will simply ignore the list and wait for the government to fine them. They'll contest those fines in drawn-out court cases, refuse to pay, or pass the fines back to the companies that paid them to telemarket. There must be a credible, government-imposed penalty to equal the benefit of a massive but personal-seeming advertising and sales campaign; does anyone know what that point is?
Something tells me this (like every other damned issue these days) will fall to the courts to decide.
The more interesting question is when, if ever. might we come to desire more mature societies that do not use state force to impose our will on others rather than negotiating cooperative arrangements? Will we ever prefer cooperation to conflict? Both cooperation and conflict have costs, that's not the issue. We just seem to enjoy conflict. Some evolutionary psychologists have speculated that we have a hard wired impulse to punish the transgressive, the deviant.
This idea is completely antithetical to the concept of private property.
Cooperation implies some mutual agreed upon decision where in both parties' interests are taken into account.
But what about situations in which only one party's interest should be taken into account.
Back40, I want to spend the rest of the summer sleeping on your couch.
Now, you could resort to the Neanderthalish measure of *gasp* kicking my but out of your house or (heavens forfend) calling the police.
Or you could seek a cooperative solution in which you pay me not to sleep on your couch, or buy a dog to pee on me everytime I do or something.
However, in this situation, only your interests should matter in determining whether or not I should get to sleep on your couch.
By employing some "cooperative solution" you are rewarding me for violating your right to private property, you commie bastard!
And by resorting to the peeing dog, your simply excerting force in a far less efficient way than the state could.
A New Capitalist Tool.
Telemarketing businesses, long burdened by the overhead of making cold calls to people who would only pay them to literally drop dead and go to hell, have found new economic life with the do-not-call list, a marketing tool sold by the government at a lower cost than any private business charges for similar quality data concerning grassroots consumer preferences.
Only a commie could hate this.
“Congress shall have the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.”
I have long wondered if the libertarians think this should be eliminated from our constitution.
I found a way to keep telemarketers off my phone. I have my listing under my deceased Father's name in the directory. When I got calls for him I politely tell them that he is dead. This has seemed to me to be a less than elegant solution to a problem of my privacy.
Actually, being something of a hermit, I would prefer a phone that had only an outgoing dial tone. Or perhaps a firewall that let people I have authorized type in a pin code to get through.
The only thing that I am worried about the do not call registry is the increasing bureaucracy needed for enforcement. But then following the Bush plan to privatize IRS collections activities to private collection firms who will pay their agents a percentage of the amount collected, perhaps the solution is to redirect our telemarketers to this new profit center.
I'm a conservative, and I think the do-not-call list is a fine way to deal with the problem.
Conservatives don't believe in NO government. We believe in minimizing government. The governmental footprint of a an opt-in plan is small enough for me.
John Yuda's idea reminds me of something Lawrence Lessig proposed in May for dealing with spam email.
I don’t have much time to read emails, and I especially don’t have much time to read unsolicited commercial emails. But I have decided to make an exception. If you would like to send me unsolicited commercial emails, then I agree to read them on the condition that you promise to pay me $500, and subject to the additional conditions mentioned below. . .
Read the rest here.
Marie, such technology exists. I phoned someone up whom I had never called before, but whom I knew wanted to talk to me (it was work related, it was his home phone).
I got a recording asking me who I was. A brief pause, and then he came on the line.
In other words, a robot receptionist. Not elegant, but for him (he works from home) the only way to keep his phone his own.
But I like John Yuda's solution - I set a price that I require to listen to your pitch, and you decide if it's worth paying it.
Of course, enforcing that deal requires, um, government.
Well, it's not my solution. I got it from Robert Cringley, and somebody mentioned that Lessig blogged about it.
I'm not sure which one of them came up with it, but they both applied it only to spam email.
I'm sure somebody else has suggested it with regards to telemarketers - and if they haven't, I've no idea why.
But, yes, enforcement would be the trouble.
Bah, it's Cringely - but the link will redirect you anyway.
Lessig's scheme is a little different. He wants to regulate spam, and let geeks collect a large reward for identifying spammers who won't follow the regulations.
Doesn't quite work with the phone, Hollywood films to the contrary.
I thought that since conservatives are such fans of the nation's military that they would have heard of the concept of a public good. Problems of collective action and Tragedy of the Commons, and all that.
If a truck parked in front of a libertarian's house everyday, legally on the public street, and through a loudspeaker (volume within legal limits) tried to sell them breast enhancement or penis enlarging supplements...I think they'd welcome intervention from the nanny state. Or the jack-booted thugs. Oh wait, maybe they'd just decry the existence of public streets in the first place (they should be private) and state legislation that prevents them from taking care of the problem the way they'd prefer, "Honey, get my gun."
Telemarketing is virtually free to do, by computer, so it is very much like a common area, anyone can do it, no one can be excluded. Why do conservatives continually require that one argue for the efficacy and invention of the wheel? So they just refuse to admit that any efficiency gains or quality of life could ever result from collective action mediated by the state?
There are tiresome.
Andrew is exactly right. These people are ridiculous.
Extending Goldberg's argument means you shouldn't call the police when someone is trying to break in to your house - that's "nanny-state" behavior.
That's the solution - 'liberate' the telemarketers!
Come up with a couple of tanks and a company of infantry. A short artillery prep, a few tank rounds, and a spirited bayonet charge. The survivors could be shipped to Guantanamo, for interrogation, never to be seen again. After a bit of torture ^H^H^H^H^H time in the 'box' ^H^H^H^H^H persuasion, they would certainly name their bosses. Who'd join them in Guantanamo.
I don't understand why Libertarians would be opposed to telemarketers at all. They're not the government, and they're engaging in economic activity. What could be better?
"The bankruptcy of Republican theories on taxation and regulation isn't lost on these guys either. Conservative intellectuals aren't stupid; they know that trickle down hasn't worked out, and can see that an absence of regulation helped lead to things like Enron and the California energy crisis."
What we really see is that an absence of regulation led to kick-ass, dirt cheap computers. Could you imagine how lame computers would be if every new design had to be blessed by the CDA (Computer and Digital Administration)? Coud you even begin to guess how expensive they'd be?
Ken: What we really see is that an absence of regulation led to kick-ass, dirt cheap computers.
Massive government investment in computer technology and networking in the 1970s and 1980s had a lot to do with our current computer nirvana.
The same story is being repeated in biotechnology. A lot of NIH research money goes to universities, which patent the results of the research and spin off companies to commercialize the research.
Could you imagine what kind of world we'd be living in without all the things that NASA or the DoD came up with and then gave away to the public sector?
The free market wouldn't even have come up with computers on its own. They spent years in government development before the free market would touch 'em.
So, try again.
Oops. Didn't mean to boldface all that text (preview, preview). Anyhow, Ken, a further point: every few weeks, I get to thinking what the computer networking situation was like in 1992. Let us say there was no Internet then (remember, Internet was until recently a government-subsidised entity). Imagine that Microsoft had introduced something like the Net, so that you had to pay Microsoft a fee to get on the Net or use the Net, or maybe even link to it. The Net may be a den of libertarians now, but it certainly would not have become that if Microsoft (or some other company) had gone about producing a proprietary solution.
To be fair here, what Goldberg is doing is taking the no-government-solution ideological answer and subjecting it to scrutiny: as in, it's better to think of a non-governmental answer first. That's the essence of his view of conservatism, that it's more a preference for avoiding unnecessary governmental solutions than a rigid opposition to anything governmental.
The fact that Goldberg even bothers writing about this shows the ridiculous lengths to which conservative ideology goes in its efforts to deny that there is any legitimate form of human decision making other than free market forces.
You're ignoring Goldberg's familiar refrain that what really matters is culture and the existence of non-governmental institutions and traditions that place curbs on anti-social behavior without needing the involvement of government. Of course, as he recognizes, that's not much of a useful answer to this particular problem. But don't mischaracterize his philosophy, which he's been exceptionally clear about.
Personally, even if it's not quite the legal equivalent, I tend to view telemarketing and spam as forms of trespass, the type of thing that even libertarianism recognizes as within the proper province of the state to stop. I'm skeptical of the government solutions (esp. for spam) only because I think they are likely to be ineffective and/or create more regulatory hoops for legitimate businesses while failing to punish the real offenders.
"You're ignoring Goldberg's familiar refrain that what really matters is culture and the existence of non-governmental institutions and traditions that place curbs on anti-social behavior without needing the involvement of government. "
You mean Goldberg admires all the genteel and not-so-genteel "institutions and traditions" that kept all but the select few in their proper places? He's even dumber than I thought.
Actually there is a market solution for this, let telemarketers offer free phone service for those who agree to take the calls. You could even have a tired plan. Agree to two telemarketing calls a day and get $10 credited to the phone bill, 4 get $25.
The fact is it's my phone and I pay for the service for my convenience. I don’t pay for the service to extend that convenience to telemarketers.
Here is my much longer take on the issue.
"Step 1. Hang up"
Step 2. Answer the phone again. Hang up again.
Step 3. Answer the phone again. Hang up again.
Step 4. Answer the phone again. Hang up again.
Step 5. Answer the phone again. Hang up again. Throw away burned dinner.
Step 6. Answer the phone again. Hang up again.
Step 7. Answer the phone again. Hang up again. Tear phone jack from wall.
Step 8. Apologize to your mother/significant other/employer for missing crucial call. Have phone jack repaired.
Step 9.--Da Capo.
Rick DeMent -- during the telecom boom there was in fact a phone company that was trying to "sell" advertiser-supported free long distance. You'd have to listen to a 15-second or so ad between dialing and connecting. Then again, they weren't guaranteeing that telemarketers wouldn't call you anyway.
Seems to me that Right and Left are both enthusiastic about government involvement when it suits their particular political agenda. The Right deplores government interference in the marketplace, but encourages the Feds to go snooping in our bedrooms. The reverse is true for the Left....
As somebody else pointed out, I would think do not call directories would be valuable to the telemarketers, too. After all, anyone who makes the effort to get put on a do not call list isn't going to buy anything anyway, so by not calling those people, the telemarketer can focus more time on people who are (marginally) more likely to buy their product. And they're not even footing the bill for this!
So who, exactly, is unduly burdened by this system? It seems like a win-win for everyone involved.
"So who, exactly, is unduly burdened by this system? It seems like a win-win for everyone involved."
I'm all for the registry, but if it benefits the telemarketers shouldn't they have to contribute something toward the cost?
At last check, telemarketer companies also pay taxes. Although if Bush is in power much longer I'm sure they'll change that.
Let's see. The government provides and maintains the money supply and as a corollary, regulates the banking system that creates the money supply. Then the government registers corporations, partnerships, etc and determines the rules they will follow. The government ensures that financial instruments are generally honest, regulates the fairness of the financial markets, and determines what fair trade is and regulates that. Most important, the government establishes the Uniform Commercial Code and provides a judiciary to enforce it so that contracts are enforceable documents. Oh, and the government either breaks up or regulates monopolies so that they do not take excessive advantage fo their natural power in the market. Let's not forget that the government provides the social stability that allows businesses to operate. [This is currently lacking in Baghdad - that is the basis of the complaints with the US occupation.] In short, it is a government framework that permits and maintains the free market.
There is no modern industrial nation in the world in which the market system is not embedded in a government structure like this. The government provides the money, rules and courts, stability and the structure, and properly done, the businesses operate within that structure for a maximum flexibility.
A market-based economy requires an appropriate government structure just as a human body requires a rigid but jointed sketeton. The real issue will never be how to get the government out of private business, but how to appropriately provide a government structure for the market system that enhances its operation.
The simplistic and ignorant demand that government be removed from business is a prescription for disaster. The problem is how to operate to government correctly so that business can best function freely.
My entrepreneurial nature leads me to believe that starting a telemarketing business which markets only to Goldberg and him mum on a 24-hour, uninterrupted basis, every minute, could be profitable and funny. Then, after I blow up the government, we could sell tickets watching himself searching vainly for a bureaucrat or a cop or a fireman to come and get me. Maybe he'd get some screening software. But I'm persistent and have always believed house-to-house calls every five minutes to be a hilarious and profitable marketing ploy.
Or we could follow Rick B.'s perfectly logical, ethical, and moral prescriptions and speak reasonably to Goldberg and him mum/ilk.
I don't know.
The FTC proposed a rule that telemarketers must pay an annual user fee of $29 per area code up to a maximum of $7250. As far as I can tell, that remains a proposal and has not yet made it into the CFR.
Sorry, my bad. Sellers, not the telemarketing firms they hire to make the calls, would have to pay the fee to access the list.
(BTW, there is no worse online reading experience than trying to read multi-column text where the columns are too long to fit on the screen without scrolling. And I hate PDFs in general. Just sayin'.)
YOu have a fine blog despite our ideological differences, but you have quite a habit of going to a conservative site, finding an argument that you consider a waste of time, then wasting your own time writing about what a waste of time it was for said conservative to be writing about it.
You did the same thing with that stupid David Skinner piece in Weekly Standard about some PSAT question.
Basically, Jonah Goldberg thinks he's a lot funnier and a lot wittier than he really is, and thinks we should all be privy to and fascinated by all that stuff going on his head.
So, i guess the joke is kind of on you since you commented on it and linked to it.
As infuriating as I find telemarketers, I never had a problem with a person calling my house, asking me if I wanted a credit card/new windshield/aluminum siding.
But there is nothing I find more frustrating than a computer calling my house and playing a recording.
*THIS* strikes me as an abuse of the system.
Is that directly to support the registry?
Whether that's a solution or not depends on whether the telemarketers are willing to pay a price large enough to get people to accept calls. How much would you want? And how will they divide up the costs and calling privileges among themselves?
Most important, from the point of view of considering this an efficient "free-market" solution, who enforces the limits? You agree to two calls a day. What happens when the third one comes in?
Looks like Goldberg is something of a wimp:
Why Signorile was bumped from "The Connection"
Just in case you needed one, here's yet another example of the fallacy of the so-called liberal media -- and a great example, too, of what utter wimps many conservative pundits really are.
More at http://www.poynter.org/forum/?id=letters
"Step 1. Hang up"
Step 1. "Please hold."
Step 2. "Are you still there? Please hold."
Repeat until they hang up.
The worst thing you can do to a telemarketing company is 'not hang up'. It doesn't abuse the rep. They get a spiel break while they wait until the timer says that they can hang up on you. If enough people would put telemarketers on hold it would drive up the cost of business. There's your free market solution, but it only works if enough people think it's worth tying up their phones to do this.
I far prefer to pay a fee (taxes) to have the government maintain and enforce a Do Not Call List. I get faster results since I don't have to wait for market forces to take effect.
Yes. The FTC estimated that it would cost $18.1 million for FY 2003 to maintain and enforce the do-not-call list. Then they basically divided that number between the number of companies that they estimated would be using the list.
So-called libertarians like Goldberg fail to live up to their free-market rhetoric because the refuse to honor clear, free market signals that people want to be left alone. The full explanation is too long for a comment, so I've posted on it.
Sorry. My mistake.
Raj, would you be irritated if Bill Moyers refused to do a show with Ann Coulter?
Signorile is every bit as nasty as Coulter. He is the Republicans want all gay people to die of AIDS author.
My only problem is that the radio station's response was to kick Signorile off the episode.
To me, if a scheduled guest says he won't appear with another guest (which is perfectly within his rights), then he should be the one to bow out, as opposed to demanding the other guest be booted.
According to Jonah, he didn't want to do the show anyway, and when he heard that Signorile was going to be on: "I said, screw it I'm not doing it. My reason: Signorile is an ass. I'm sure Mickey sincerely thinks I'm afraid of him, but the truth is I simply have better things to do with my time than drive downtown and be civil to someone whose idea of serious commentary is to call me a fat bigot. No biggie, I told the producers, I don't want to book their show so I will gladly be the one to beg-off and they can go with Mickey. They said no, no we have someone else instead. I said fine."
Well, if that's the case (and I don't see why Goldberg would make that up) then the radio station needs a good spanking.
I would like to see an end to the so called state
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