Despite being the leftist I am, I have to say deregulation’s one of those things that’s worth looking at on a case-by-case basis; it’s often good.
Take airline dereg. Yes, service is shitty and the seats are small, but that’s because deregulation got all of us in the air. I grew up in an era when air travel was the province of businessmen and the upper middle class, and even the upper middle class didn’t travel by plane more than a couple times a year.
Now, pretty much everyone flies, and many of us fly a lot. Dereg made this happen. I’m for it.
Dereg has also given us cheap long-distance service - although the carriers clearly need to be forced to be less confusing about the specifics of their plans.
OTOH, deregulation of the airwaves has given us corporate sameness on the radio, and a message from the adult world to our children that sex is something they should routinely indulge in, among many other things. The airwaves are a particularly interesting situation in that we own them; dereg here was the telecommunications world’s way of saying to the public, “You shouldn’t be able to dictate any standards for the use of your own property, except by your buying decisions.” Funny, we’d never dream of running the national parks that way. Or maybe we would (shudder).
In theory, in the case of electrical deregulation, competing utilities can be held to the same good-citizen standards that applied to the electrical monopolies. In fact, it’s not easy. If the electricity I buy in Maryland is being produced in Ohio, what sort of agreement will be necessary for Maryland regulators to ensure that the power generated in Ohio is being produced in the same environmentally friendly manner that Maryland citizens have required of the local power companies - and will we budget the extra money for our regulators to go up there and check on them regularly?
It’s the sort of thing that you’d like to see one or two states try, before everyone jumps on the bandwagon. After all, you’d like to know where the damned thing’s headed before you jump aboard.