The deregulation lobby operates on faith — the faith that government regulation is unnecessary because the magic of competition is all that's needed to keep consumer prices under control.
But is it so?
California has been running a sort of laboratory test of this theory since 2006, when the state Public Utilities Commission deregulated telephone landline prices. The PUC's rationale was that competition from wireless, cable phone service, and voice-over Internet protocol (VoIP) carriers such as Vonage had become strong enough to keep landline rates in check.
Last November, the PUC decided that after 10 years "the time seems ripe" to check on whether its...