In a new study, "Avoiding Structural Deficits in Maryland: Recommendations for Reform," released on July 31, 2008, by the Free State Foundation, FSF Senior Fellow Cecilia Januszkiewicz recommends specific reforms to Maryland's legislative and budgetary processes that, if adopted, will reduce the likelihood of continuing the persistent structural deficits that the State has experienced in the 21st century. Adoption of the eleven reform recommendations will instill a greater sense of fiscal discipline by raising awareness, on the part of elected officials and Maryland's citizens, of the costs imposed by proposed new and enhanced programs. The recommendations are part of a larger FSF study of Maryland's budget process to be released in the fall. The full press release is here.
One way of thinking about America is that our country is only three lifetimes young. Read FSF President Randolph May's July 4th message -- Independence Day 2008 -- for his explanation of why he prefers to think of America this way.
In testimony at a congressional hearing on June 24, 2008 on "The Future of Universal Service," Free State Foundation President Randolph May told the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet: "[T]he existing universal regime needs serious reform if telecommunications services are going to be provided in the most cost-effective and economical manner so that overall consumer welfare is enhanced. The fact of the matter is that new competitive entrants and new technologies have rendered the existing system wasteful, inefficient, and competition-distorting." May said two interrelated fundamental principles should guide reform of the system. First, "market forces, rather than subsidies, should be relied on to the greatest extent possible to achieve the identified objective." And second, "if there are to be subsidies, they should be targeted narrowly and financed broadly." According to May, "anyone familiar with the current universal service system knows it is at odds with these fundamental principles." The full press release is here.
In reply comments submitted to the Federal Communications Commission on June 2, 2008, in its Universal Service proceeding, Randolph May, President of the Free State Foundation, declared, "the Commission's current proposals to implement reverse auctions and eliminate the ‘identical support' rule are steps in the right direction towards a universal service regime that takes advantage of competition and emerging technologies and targets support to individuals in high-cost areas who would not otherwise subscribe to telecommunications service." Read the complete news release here.
On May 22, 2008, the Free State Foundation released the transcript of its seminar, "Reforming Universal Service: What Should Be Done and How to Do It," held on April 28, 2008. The seminar featured a distinguished group of panelists with a variety of perspectives discussing proposals for reforming the existing universal service fund (USF) subsidy system. Currently, all consumers pay more than an 11% surcharge on all their interstate calls to fund the various universal service subsidy programs. Read the complete news release here.
On May 13, 2008, Free State Foundation President Randolph May announced the addition of five new members to the think tank's Board of Academic Advisors. Like the initial group of Board members named in January, each of the new members is a distinguished scholar. The new members are: Ellen P. Goodman; Stan J. Liebowitz; Bruce M. Owen; Glen O. Robinson; and Steven S. Wildman. For the full press release, click here.
In a paper released on May 1, 2008 by The Free State Foundation, Bruce M. Owen, a member of FSF's Board of Academic Advisors and one of the country's foremost regulatory economists, asserts that "regulation of the media reflects not merely broad acceptance of, but insistence on, political rather than market-determined outcomes." In The Temptation of Media Regulation, Professor Owen demonstrates that there is no justification for the Federal Communications Commission to require unbundling of video programming at either the wholesale or retail level. With respect to the FCC's current consideration of mandatory unbundling regulation at the wholesale level, after examining data from large and small suppliers of cable network programming, Professor Owen concludes: "Taken together, these studies offer striking evidence that it is not industry practice for suppliers to make ‘take-it-or-leave-it' offers requiring small cable systems to take all or none of their networks….The FCC seems to be basing a proposal to regulate wholesale bundling of cable networks on a severe misapprehension of marketplace behavior." Professor Owen is a member of FSF's Board of Academic Advisors. He is the Morris M. Doyle Professor in Public Policy in the School of Humanities and Sciences and Director of the Public Policy Program at Stanford University and also Gordon Cain Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. Previously, he served as the Chief Economist of the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and the White House Office of Telecommunications Policy. For the full news release, click here.
In a new study released by the Free State Foundation, Professor Dennis Weisman criticizes the Federal Communications Commission for in the past "crafting regulatory rules that focus on the control of market power rather than on unleashing the power of markets." In his paper, "On Market Power and the Power of Markets: A Schumpeterian View of Dynamic Industries," Professor Weisman poses this fundamental question: "[W]hether most economic regulation of the telecommunications industry – given the rapid rate of technological change and increasing competitive intensity – is still justified." He concludes it is not. Professor Weisman explains that, "it is important that policymakers recognize that some of the highest social costs of excessive regulation are likely to be those not directly observable: welfare losses from innovative new services and production processes that are not developed but would have been otherwise." Read the full press release here.
In comments submitted on February 12, 2008 to the Federal Communications Commission in the broadband practices proceeding concerning network management practices, Randolph May, President, The Free State Foundation, declared, "it is imperative that the Commission proceed very cautiously so as not to be drawn in by the ‘back door' into adopting net neutrality mandates that it thus far appropriately has avoided adopting on a general basis." According to May, "if it does get drawn through the back door, the Commission will be on a very slippery slope towards abandonment of the successful policy it adopted in 2002 of creating a ‘minimal regulatory environment' for broadband services." The full press release is here.
On January 29, 2008, Free State Foundation President Randolph May announced the think tank's first Board of Academic Advisors. The panel's members, each a distinguished scholar, are: Robert A. Anthony; Gerald W. Brock; Diane M. Disney; John F. Duffy; Richard A. Epstein; Alfred E. Kahn; John Mayo; James B. Speta; William Van Alstyne; Eugene Volokh; Dennis L. Weisman; and Christopher S. Yoo. The full press release announcing the Board is here.
In a major new scholarly paper, titled "Bundles of Joy: The Ubiquity and Efficiency of Bundles in New Technology Markets," noted economists Stan Liebowitz and Stephen Margolis explain, in terms highly accessible for even the lay reader, why "market foreclosure, the principal efficiency concern with tying and bundling, is likely to be exceedingly rare." The Free State Foundation study by Professors Liebowitz and Margolis is published as part of the "Perspectives from FSF Scholars" series, now entering its third volume. Based on their study, the scholars draw the following conclusions: (1) bundling not only occurs frequently, but "it is pervasive in the economy and is the dominant form of sales, for reasons that have to do with efficiencies of a simple and obvious nature: most goods are bundles;" (2) "the conditions required for tying or bundling to create monopoly power for reasons other than product improvement are very restrictive;" and (3) in light of the first two, all proposed unbundling restrictions "should require a demonstration of a high likelihood of actual exclusion and the absence of an efficiency defense." More pointedly, Professors Liebowitz and Margolis conclude that "telecommunications policies that implement mandatory unbundling should be reconsidered or abandoned." The press release accompanying the release of the study is here.
For more information, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Mailing Address: The Free State Foundation, P. O. Box 60680, Potomac, MD 20859 Office Location: 6259 Executive Blvd., Rockville, MD 20852 Phone: 301-984-8253