John McCain is trying to pass legislation that would unbundle cable packages, allowing consumers to only pay for the cable channels they want.
One of his key reasons for wanting to go to an a-la-carte style is that the price of cable has risen through the years. He cited the data we’ve charted here from the FCC which shows cable bills rising through the years.
In McCain’s view, allowing consumers to pick a small selection of channels they really want should help them save money.
However, Matthew Yglesias at Slate argues that McCain’s bill might have the opposite effect. He argues that cable companies are going to get their money one way or another. If people order fewer channels, then cable companies will just charge more for those channels.
Yglesias thinks that if McCain really wants to crack down on the cable/pay TV industry, he should just crack down on it. McCain should just regulate the pay TV business setting a cap on rates, says Yglesias.