10 August 2006

A Chart Is Worth a Thousand Dollars-- er, Words

Today I read this item in the news:

17-Year-Old Wrecks While Talking On Cell Phone.

Studies have shown that cell phones are strongly associated with accidents, and that the majority of cell phone conversations are not important. Nevertheless, it is legal to drive and yap and risk the safety of others on the road.

Why is this, I wondered. So I went over to OpenSecrets.com and checked telecom contributions to Congress.

Look at this chart and note what happens after 1994, the year of the Gingrich/Corporate takeover of Congress. Note the dollar amounts given and the percentages given to Republicans and Democrats before and after 1994.

Now recall the Telecommunications Deregulation Act of 1996 (a.k.a. the "Telecoms give us more money than you do" Act). A pretty clear case of quid pro quo, wouldn't you say?

Here's the rub: when people don't talk, roads are safer. When people talk, telecoms make money.

So could we have safer roads? Yes. Could we decrease the chances that a teenage numbskull will end the life of a responsible adult? We sure could. But you try telling Congress that you'd prefer safer roads to telecom profits. Try telling them you value public interest rather than corporate welfare.

Good luck with that.

1 comment:

Michelle Fry said...

Jeez. It's frightening to see how direct the line between bad drivers, yacking on their cell phones and congress is. What a bunch of whores we have in congress.