The latest news surrounding the U.S. Postal Service is that the price of stamps is climbing from 49 cents to now 50 cents next week. However, the Postal Service and its leadership aren’t being so forthcoming about the upcoming tidal wave of rate hikes that will impact millions of individuals across the country who use the mail on a regular basis.
Steve Pociask | All Articles
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Steve Pociask is president of the American Consumer Institute, an educational and research nonprofit organization.
The National Transportation Industrial League (NITL) just concluded its conference in Dallas to discuss U.S. transportation policies. Among the group’s highest priorities will be their efforts to “reform” economic regulation for our nation’s privately-owned freight railroads. Supporters of the organization and the Washington regulators they petition, however, should remember what has happened in the past and consider the future of onerous regulations, an impetuous one that could increase costs for consumers at the checkout counter.
Last summer, many of us criticized Boeing for acting in ways antithetical to the interests of consumers with its flimsy trade complaint to the International Trade Commission (ITC) against Canada’s Bombardier. Boeing claimed that Delta’s selection of the new C Series passenger planes made by Bombardier was priced too cheaply and it represented unfair competition. The irony back then was thatBoeing, the “Mother of All Trade-Subsidy Receivers,” was complaining about unfair prices.
Qualcomm has asked the International Trade Commission (ITC) to halt the importation of some Apple smartphones that use the chips of its competitors. The issue stems from a patent dispute between Qualcomm, a maker of baseband processor chipsets used in many popular electronic devices, and Apple, a manufacturer of these devices. Now, a new report by the American Consumer Institute (ACI) finds that an importation ban would lead to shortages and drive up consumer prices -- costing consumers $9.9 billion.
President Trump has vowed to rebuild America’s aging highways, bridges, airports and other key areas. But these investments will be for naught if stronger storm resiliency standards are not included in this ambitious infrastructure plan.
The devastating flooding in South Carolina underscores the urgent need for policy reforms that can reduce the risks of floods and other disasters. While Congress must provide emergency relief to help the people of South Carolina today, lawmakers should also look at long-term changes that can combat the growing threats Americans face from natural disasters.
The importance of improving our road and bridges became a policy highlight of President Obama’s State of the Union address, when he said that “21st-century businesses need 21st-century infrastructure – modern ports, stronger bridges, faster trains and the fastest Internet.” His solution was for more public funding. Yet, another solution that would help maintain our infrastructure at no new cost to American taxpayers has gone ignored for years.
President Obama recently signed an executive order that requires government-issued credit and debit cards to be equipped with new chip and PIN technology aimed at reducing fraud. Given the persistent rash of data breaches aimed at American consumers and businesses, the security measure was met with applause. But despite this progress, the vast majority of consumers will still be left vulnerable because the president’s actions fall short without the cooperation of large banks.
Wireless technology, services and applications are revolutionizing how consumers communicate, shop, work and get information. In the last year, mobile traffic grew by 81 percent, downloading speeds doubled to 1.4 megabits per second and mobile apps grew by 115 percent – 92 percent of which was downloaded at no cost to consumers.
In 2012, Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Reform Act, which was designed to take the financially troubled National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and set it on a path toward solvency by reducing flood insurance subsidies for homes located in flood-prone areas, including subsidies for vacation homes owned by beachfront millionaires. Now those flood reforms could be washed away, leaving taxpayers and other consumers to foot the bill – essentially perpetuating a subsidy for the rich.
The recent anniversary of the devastation of September 11th reminds us that the threat of terrorism in the U.S. is still very real. That fact calls attention to the importance of protection, vigilance and security in America. However, along with keeping our preparedness on high alert, Americans need to get back to doing things as they did before. For lawmakers, this means asking a very important question – should the U.S. government continue being in the business of providing terrorism insurance?
“T-Mobile’s innovative moves are putting pressure on our competitors.” That is what the company said in its testimony before Congress. However, a closer look at the testimony suggests that T-Mobile wants that competitive pressure to come from regulatory favors, not by winning in the marketplace.
As the immigration bill is being debated in Congress, there is some resistance to increasing the number of H1-B visas for foreign skilled workers in fear that they are taking away precious jobs from US citizens at a time when the unemployment rate seems stuck on high. However, a closer look at the numbers suggests otherwise.
The U.S. is in the midst of a great transformation in the telecommunications industry.
When you buy a DVD, personal computer, digital television or another audio/video capable device, you may be paying more for something than you should be.
Various special interest groups have charged, albeit without evidence, that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are exercising market power by setting prices substantially above costs and earning high profits.
The 1996 Telecommunications Act (the “Act”) promised deregulation.
Let’s face it. When it comes to mobile technologies, America’s innovators are leading the way in app development and wireless accessibility. It’s hard to remember a time when cell phones were the size of a briefcase and had no capabilities outside of making a phone call. But the realities we have grown so accustomed to are at risk, as are the very technologies that allow us to surf the Web, stream video and make dinner reservations from a device that fits in our pocket.