Out of Control Policy Blog

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Politicians are stampeding to register their empathy for survivors of spam abuse. At last count there were, I think, seven anti-spam proposals. New York’s Chuck Schumer has introduced the latest and most aggressive proposal of all, and it seems to be gaining the most momentum with anti-spam activists. Maybe the group was just dazed by the Supreme Court’s ruling on sodomy laws, but even the Christian Coalition is backing Schumer’s proposal.

I know spam is the whipping boy of the moment, but I can’t get too riled up about it. After all, most of the time you can re-route bulk email and delete all of it at once.

So it makes sense that Schumer would champion a cause as small as spam. After all, he seems to enjoy taking up small causes. Years ago, after being shocked by the price of a box of Frosted Mini-Wheats, Schumer mounted a crusade against the price gougers in the cereal industry. He even urged Janet Reno to investigate Big Cereal. Schumer’s railed against ATM fees that usually cost under $2, and earlier this year he fumed over having to pay $23 to replace the E-Z Pass that was lost when his car was stolen (maybe there’s an E-Z Pass investigation in the works).

Schumer is the perfect foot solider for the modern hyperactive state because, for him, no issue is too small to legislate. If you’ve got a TV camera, he’s got an outraged sound byte and a bill to match.

Of course, it’s not so much that Schumer champions small causes – it’s that he’ll
champion any cause. And since he can do more damage as a champion of big causes, like health care, we’re better off hoping he sticks to the small ones.

Maybe we should even throw some more small outrages Schumer’s way: airline food, paper cuts, Carrot Top’s success

Ted Balaker is Producer


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