The cell phone market is similarly ologopolistic, but that hasn't prevented the few big competitors that exist from driving prices down and service quality up at a pretty impressive rate. Everybody hates them, but we all remember when talk time was rationed and text messages were $1 a piece. Now talk and text is unlimited and a gig of data costs less every year. We're even seeing the old "bend over and take it" contract model start to show cracks.
As long as they're legitimately competing on a level playing field, you only really need 2 sellers doing battle for customers to keep monopolistic assholery in check.
In a perfect world, cities would all have conduit running underneath them and would simply lease conduit space to the highest bidders to run their cables. Rerun the auction ever few years to keep things fresh and let the market sort it out. Outcomes would be amazing. Unfortunately, a city with empty conduit ready for cables from many competitors is exactly what we don't have.
Broadband Internet is a tougher problem. In terms of infrastructure, it's hard for a region to have robust competition. It's not as extreme as, say, sewage (where it's basically impossible to have two competing sewage systems under a city), but it's closer to that model than to a healthy market. So you're stuck dealing with pain-in-the-ass monopolies that don't innovate and don't compete on price.
Why should they? Why should anyone? Telecommunications hardware is not free and does not maintain itself. Whichever companies/individuals use it more should be paying more.
That's fine. Charge more for more bandwidth. But don't charge different amounts for different types of content. I don't think "net neutrality" means "unlimited bits for everybody for $0" in the mind of any sensible preson.
Lobbying involves talking and bribery involves illegal money.
Half of the lobbying transaction is talking. The other half is listening because the person doing the talking is a good source of campaign money.
Also, there are more definitions of bribery than the legal definition used to describe the crime.
Unlike most other taxes, the energy tax does not reduce differences in disposable income, but it merely leaves them constant (when electricity use is equal).
The problem is that the things the rich give up to pay an additional flat tax are different from the things the poor give up. A flat tax of $1000 may cause a rich person to buy $1000 less in nice clothes and electronic toys, an average family to cancel a vacation, and a poor family to drop their health insurance. So the tax is flat in a dollar sense, but a much heavier burden on the poor in a standard of living sense.
They seem to have no real evidence for casaution, and so they just spew out correlations and hope most people wont notice.
A mechanism for causation + correlation is evidence of causation.
Interesting idea though could create situations where a potential licensee may come along and be faced with potentially bolstering a patent that could be free for them to use in a few months if they don't.
That's an issue that exists in all time-limited systems, though. It's currently hard to license a patent that will expire in a few months. The trick is setting the expiration time long enough that there's an incentive for the licensee to license rather than running down the clock but short enough that there's some urgency to get the damn thing to market.
Several related companies could easily license each other's patents in exchange for licensing eachother's patents just to keep them current.
This is a more interesting problem, but the first regulatory question should be, "So, Mr. Licensee, what product are you using that patent you licensed in?" If somebody tries to sue you over a patent they've been sitting on for 15 years, the first thing you ask is if the patent has been exercised enough to still be valid, and you check to see if the licensees have actually brought it to market in a meaningful way. If not, that's a strong argument that the patent should have been invalidated. It doesn't eliminate the need for courts to deal with the issue, but it does create more of a burden on the patent holder to create a track record of getting the ideas to market. If companies cross-license patents and bring real products to market in order to keep their patents active, I'd argue that it's a win as long as the functionality is actually there and not a sham.
Right now, every time a company comes up with a cool new invention, they have to search through mountains of patents to see if somebody, somewhere has done it before and is just sitting on the patent. A system that puts a greater burden on inventors who bring things to market than on inventors who don't is not balanced correctly. Maintaining a patent monopoly should require continuous effort to put that idea to work in something useful.