Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mr. Genachowski, Tear Down That Potemkin Village - Part II

Yesterday I posted a blog suggesting that FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's regulatory reform efforts were more of a Potemkin Village than real. I pointed out that he continues to cite the elimination from the FCC's books of the "dead letter" and Fairness Doctrine – a dead letter for a quarter century -- and other dead letter regulations as regulatory reform achievements, even though it is clear that these rules were not being enforced. 
According to Communications Daily [subscription required], an FCC spokesman responded to the critique by stating: "Other reforms include the agency-wide transition from paper to electronic filing, a reduction in the FCC backlog and the closing of 999 dormant proceedings." 
Exactly my point. Like eliminating dead letter rules, transitioning to electronic filings, reducing backlogs, and closing dormant proceedings is not an unworthy exercise. I give Mr. Genachowski credit for these matters. But there is no mistaking these "good housekeeping" reforms for tackling existing or proposed substantive regulations that have significant economic impacts and which do not pass cost-benefit muster. 
It is meaningful substantive regulatory reform of this type that I had in mind when I said, "Mr. Genachowski, Tear Down That Potemkin Village."