CEA’s Gary Shapiro – AT&T Merger Rejection Reflects Failure of Policymakers, Politics

by Mike Wendy on January 4, 2012

Quick read: CEA President, Gary Shapiro, has some interesting thoughts on the failed AT&T merger, expressed today in a Daily Caller opinion piece.

States Shapiro:

…Our country’s antitrust laws are ambiguous and subject to regulatory interpretation. More, antitrust officials are subject to prevailing political winds, and opposition to the deal by left-wing consumer groups was fierce. Going into an election year, a Democratic administration doesn’t want to alienate those in the base who are on the anti-business warpath…

…it’s the sad fact that we live in a country where our antitrust laws are so open to interpretation that a company as sophisticated as AT&T has no way of knowing if a transaction is legal.

This “sadness” (and it is truly sad), combined with poor spectrum policy, has hamstrung network innovation and growth, leaving government officials – not markets – in the driver’s seat.

With this in mind, Shapiro advises:

…It’s time we focused on an innovation strategy that rebuilds America’s competitive advantage, which includes pursuing policies to expand our wireless broadband. If we don’t, then there won’t be any antitrust work for the busybodies at the DOJ and the FCC to do: All the companies will have fled elsewhere.

Agreed on that one, Gary.  FCC & DoJ – What say you?

Oh, you’re driving and can’t (won’t) get to the cellphone?

We’ll keep dialing until next November.

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