50 million people can#039;t all be wrong

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 4, 2003

Over 50 million American citizens rushed to beat today's deadline to be on the Federal Trade Commission's "Do Not Call" registry.

One judge said 50 million is not enough and that the FTC did not have the authority to do such a list. Congress jumped up and said the FTC could have the authority.

A second judge said it violates the telemarketing industry's First Amendment right. What is this issue all about?

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Are we all so busy that we will not take the time to police our own phone and tell people, "No thank you.

I'm not interested."

Yes, it's a bother and chore, but is this the most important issue of the day?

Apparently so.

It has brought a federal court to a halt and Congress can't seem to do anything other than debate the issue.

It's a regular Washington brouhaha.

In this era of wanting less government, we now happily invite that same government to act as our personal answering machine. Needless to say, this is not over by a long sight. However, here are some ideas to get through it all:

One, the government should not be in the private secretary business, let the phone companies do it.

Two, businesses must police themselves.

When they are told, "Please no more calls," then businesses should adhere to the callee's wishes.

Further calls could be prosecuted as harassment.

Three, let telecommunication companies toe the line.

Make them responsible if they sell a customer's information.

If we can put a man on the moon, then surely we can figure out a way to stop long-winded telemarketers from interrupting our most prized possession…our free time at home.