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Powell Successful At His Own Agenda

I have to disagree with my esteemed colleague Paul Kapustka, who calls for the removal of FCC chairman Michael Powell. If success is to be measured by accomplishing

I have to disagree with my esteemed colleague Paul Kapustka, who calls for the removal of FCC chairman Michael Powell.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm no apologist -- nor admirer -- of this administration. But if success is to be measured by accomplishing what you want to achieve, then Powell has been very successful. His only sin is that those who disagree with him don't share his agenda.

Powell's agenda, by his own admission, is minimalist. He does not espouse the ambition of previous chairmen to lead an activist regulatory agency. Quite the opposite. He is more partial to a Jeffersonian "he who governs least governs best" philosophy.

As exhibit A to the virtues of this world view, he gives us the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which, one could argue, was a legislative attempt to have regulators micro-manage one of the most dynamic industries the world has ever seen.

As Powell said in his Supercomm fireside chat, the Telecom Act has fallen far short of its objective to light the way to a golden information era. Not a few people believe that the substantial amount of progress that has been made in the near-decade since the Act came into being has occurred in spite of it -- not because of it.

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