In Needed: The Separation of Cable and State, James Bovard describes how cable television operators and local governments cut deals.
The cable television operators get a monopoly, and a monopoly price. Cable companies who enjoy a monopoly charge rates 35 per cent higher per channel than cable companies who have competition.
Local politicians get channels to deliver propaganda to the public. Local politicians can also get bribes in the endless ways that a modern mixed economy can deliver bribes. Beside the time honored cash and carry method, local government officials can be cut in on business deals after they leave office.
The public ends up with inflated cable bills. The public also enjoys the dubious benefit of being subjected to propaganda on channels cable operators reserve for government use.
Many will argue that cable service is a natural monopoly. If cable service is a natural monopoly, why does that monopoly have to be protected by law?
The partnership between cable companies and local governments constitutes a particular example of the general principle that businesses embrace regulation in order to restrict competition.