The captured regulatory agencies and our wretched lives


The entities serving our needs are supposed to be regulated by agencies of government so they won’t abuse us through lousy or inefficient services. Or by charging exorbitant rates. Thus, electric cooperatives are supposed to be being supervised by the National Electric Administration (NEA) and the water districts by Local Water Utilities Administration. Corporations soliciting investments from citizens are being overseen by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Etcetera, etcetera.
Are they effective in delivering on their mandates? They are better known as ineffective or incompetent. And true to our national reputation of being wordsmiths we came up with the phrase “captured regulatory agencies.” Very apt.
It means they are under the beck and call of those they are supposed to regulate. Due to corruption. Officers of an electric provider, for instance, can pay officials of the NEA for them to look the other way even if electric consumers are being skinned off by being charged unconscionable rates per kilowatt hour for lousy services..
Similarly, SEC officials, through incentives in various forms, can be made to act blind to shady financial schemes being pulled off by investment houses or other financial institutions.
Who can stop agencies from becoming captured? High-ranking officials of government. Most often though they are equally corrupt or even worse. Certainly, a black pot cannot call the kettle black. Therein lies the rub. Any reform must start from the very top. Everybody knows this. And who are placing the people there? We, the people who are often blindsided by stupidity among so many other things.
A big way of lessening stupidity is by educating the people which must happen from all corners. The mass media is a key player here. Actually, every citizen has a role to play if the people are to get freed from the clutches of ignorance.
And those trying to lead the way must know where they are going and must have the discipline to keep straight on the road. While human errors can happen here and there, by and large, the core discipline must be maintained. A tall order certainly but that is what behooves us if future generations are to see a better country. Talk is cheap. So let our actions show what we are made of.**


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