Competition Over Central Planning

Over at Cafe Hayek, Russ Roberts has an excellent commentary on FCC Chairman Kevin Martin’s concerns about a Sirius-XM merger. I agree with Mr. Roberts entirely, and as a Sirius subscriber, I’ll pay more if I can get the same quality Sirius service I have now and Major League Baseball.

One bit of Mr. Roberts’ post struck an interesting thought:

Five years ago there was no satellite radio. When one company came along (I don’t know who was first, Sirius or XM), should the FCC have shut them down for daring to monopolize the market? So why is it now that there’s two going back to one we have a potential calamity that the government has to worry about?

That’s an excellent question. Sirius was formed first, but XM was the first to broadcast. For those who think the government has a legitimate function in regulating this way, the government should’ve mandated that the two companies begin broadcasting on the same day. That would’ve been the only fair way to have them compete on equal footing. It can artificially decide that two is the magic number of satellite radio providers. It should be able to dictate business conditions, too. No?