Rent-seeking protectionism is ugly when you confront it.

More on the proposed Sirius-XM merger, this time recapping recent research studies:

One of the main arguments against the merger, according to the Carmel Group, is that consumers’ audio options, particularly in the car, are limited. While some technology firms promise great advances that could bring more choice — such as in-car, high-definition radio and built-in MP3 technology — regulators should consider only what’s available now, the group says.

“The FCC and DOJ aren’t in the business of looking into some crystal ball and predicting some technology in the future,” said Jimmy Shaeffler, Carmel Group senior analyst and author of the group’s report released last week. “Somewhere down the line, maybe 5 years, 7 years or more, XM and Sirius can come back to this argument and possibly prevail.”

I wrote about this study last week when it first appeared. I must say, it’s mighty gracious of Mr. Shaeffler to permit Sirius and XM to come back to regulators and the National Association of Broadcasters, presumably with hat in hand, and ask for permission. Assuming they’re both still around, of course. But it’s not competition they have to worry about. Nope, that’s not evolved, and it would certainly be irresponsible to predict changes that will no doubt be glacial in speed. Look at where we were 5 or 7 years ago. So little has happened, it would be irresponsible to assume anything.

Nothing to see here, folks. The Carmel Group’s study is independent and unbiased, despite being paid for by the National Association of Broadcasters.