Jewish World Review Oct. 1, 2003 / 5 Tishrei, 5764
Why you should hold off on thanking politicians for passing and signing the national do-not-call list
The do-not-call registry allows you to
prevent certain telemarketers from calling your
number by just signing up on a list.
Fifty million people have already signed up.
This was a political no-brainer, 412-8 in Congress, 95-0 in
the Senate, the president signed it into law today. Who
wants to be known as the politician who supported the
telemarketing industry's efforts to disturb our dinners?
I think it's a great idea. The problem-the current law
doesn't go far enough. It doesn't prevent politicians or
charities from calling, just commercial operations that you
haven't done business with in the past. I am no less annoyed
when I get a politician's fund-raising call than I am from
someone trying to sell me copying machine equipment. At
least with a commercial operation, I'm getting something for
A federal judge has declared the law unconstitutional
because it exempts nonprofits. The judge ruled the
government can't decide what types of speech people get
to hear, that the government shouldn't be in the business of
choosing which organizations are subject to the law. So if
Congress would just pass a law saying people can opt out
of all telemarketing calls, it shouldn't be a constitutional
Look, I think it's a close call as to whether the judge
was right, whether the current bill violates the First
Amendment. More leeway is often given to charities and it
is the consumers who are deciding to block the calls, not the
But why not make it simple and non-controversial,
allowing all of us to avoid getting phone calls from people
we don't know, no exceptions? We'll figure out ways to
donate to our favorite charity without being bothered by
So next time you hear a politician supporting this law,
saying it's time to get telemarketers out of our homes, yell
back, "I want you out, too."
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