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AN INDUSTRY CRYING OUT FOR REGULATION

The older I get, the more libertarian I become. Let people live how they please without government regulation, as long as no one gets hurt. Oh, some things call for regulation, like air traffic control, child labor, pure food and drug products, and pollution control. One area that really frosts me and is crying out for federal control is cable television.

Remember when cable first came out? The big selling point was that yeah, you have to pay, but there are no commercials. Huh? Watch any given hour and there will be multiple cycles of unending advertisements, far greater than on any of the broadcast channels. Not only that, the price for cable has risen astronomically. According to a recent FCC study, monthly pay TV prices have risen from $22.35 in 1995 to $69.03 in 2023. That's triple, nowhere near how much my income has risen. Nor is inflation the demon in the mix. Price of a gallon of milk in the same time span rose by about 60%. Yes, 60, not 300!

Bear in mind, the above costs are for basic cable, which is basically the pre-slipper Cinderella of the industry. Consider any of the add-ons, and that 300% increase is actually rather tame. Not to mention the hidden fees. My bill shows a separate charge for sports programming (over and above the extra amount I pay for the sports package). Curiously, that sports programming fee continued throughout the pandemic, when there was no sports coverage.

Adding insult to injury, channel surf as frenetically as I may, there is less of interest to watch on 1,000 channels than on the traditional four of my childhood (CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS.) More often than not, I flip the set off and return to that good book I've been meaning to read.

I could also go into the many outlets of disinformation cable provides, but all that'll do is leave me steaming. Steaming? Say, that suggests a perfect solution. Streaming. If the FTC won't act as a cable watchdog, I'll self-regulate the industry. My first step: cancel my cable package. There is this wonderful new world called streaming.

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