One of America's leading authorities on technology and telecom policy, Motley is a writer, television and radio commentator, political and policy strategist, lecturer, debater, activist, and policy advisor to The Heartland Institute.
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Someone get me the environmentalists. I have something on which we can work…together.
To the fainting couches….
Ok. Imagine if you will all the forests that must fall – to feed the government and their countless printed extrusions.
Government spends $4 trillion per annum. That’s a lot of printed currency. And an inconceivable amount of attending paperwork. I mean, the loan documents alone….
In the last year pre-President Donald Trump – government regulated at a cost of $2 trillion more. That is an unfathomable number of printed directive pages – as the Leviathan orders us around hither and yon.
The hundreds of just federal government agencies, departments, commissions and boards extrude all sorts of regs, fiats, reports, memoranda and a whole host of other parchments and documents.
This is an annual arboreal destruction exponentially worse than J.R.R. Tolkien’s Treebeard lamented – where his lands met Saruman’s.
The private sector, meanwhile, acknowledges the last half century actually happened:
“You have, of course, spent the last decade-plus watching the entirety of the actually-private sector ‘go paperless.’
“Meaning rather than continue to snail mail your bills and statements and other correspondence – you can choose instead to communicate with these companies electronically.
“You know, because we’ve invented these things called computers. And this thing called the Internet – and with it comes cool interactive tools like email and websites. You can stop paying for envelopes and stamps – and yet actually pay your bills, gather information and have your questions answered…exponentially faster.
“God bless capitalism.”
God has blessed it indeed. Except:
“(E)nter the archenemy of capitalism – government. Specifically in this instance – The Feds….
“(M)utual fund companies…can’t join the paperless revolution – without first playing ‘Mother May I’ with DC….
“(I)n 2015 (not 2005 – 2015) the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) started a rule-making process that would allow mutual fund companies to go paperless. Which will save the fund companies and their customers – an estimated 94 million individual investors own mutual funds – about $2 billion over the first ten years. And environmentalists rejoice – it will save about two million trees a year.
Excellent news. Well, not so much “news” as “Finally they’re going to let us enter the 21st Century.”
Except with government – comes cronyism:
“(W)hat was logical progress to some loomed as a menace to others—notably the American Forest & Paper Association and the Envelope Manufacturers Association. The two industries’ jointly funded group Consumers for Paper Options rallied retiree and consumer groups to join their campaign, decrying what they call the government’s ‘rush to digitize.’ They persuaded a bipartisan coalition of politicians – especially from the paper-heavy state of Maine – to threaten legislation blocking the rule.”
Only when trying to persuade government can the words “rush to digitize” be used with a straight face – in 2018.
And only government…would find it persuasive:
“They prevailed, beating back the forces of the 21st century, at least for a few more years. At a mid-July public hearing on the issue, Mary Jo White, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, noted the proposal had drawn ‘considerable attention.’ She ultimately decided to drop the plan, according to people familiar with the matter.”
And this “rush to digitize” – was entirely the recipients’ choice:
“The SEC wasn’t going to outlaw paper correspondence. The SEC was going to simply make it – an opt-in option. Anyone who still wants snail mail paper – can still receive snail mail paper. The mutual fund companies will very happily provide a toll-free number – for these people to make the papered request.”
So Treebeard must continue to weep. So that crony tree farmers can continue to pad their wallets – at the exorbitant expense of our wallets.
And government – on these cronies’ behalf – keep pushing back progress, creativity and evolution.
As only government can.
[Originally Published at RedState]