Americans exhausted by congressional gridlock may get a gift this holiday season, after all: a bipartisan law cracking down at long last on the universal nuisance of incessant robocalls.
Good, old-fashioned legislating has led lawmakers from competing proposals in the two chambers this spring to a consolidated proposal that looks likely to land on the presidents desk this week a somewhat nostalgic reminder of what government can do when its working. This year saw 54.6 billion spam calls placed, but next year could turn out to be a lot quieter.
A technological reality is responsible for the robocall epidemic: It costs less than a penny to bug someone with a garbage call, and its also possible to spend thousands of those cents with minimal effort or time. This problem is compounded by the ability to spoof numbers, which lets fraudsters scam senior citizens by pretending to be the Internal Revenue Service and also hide from any authorities who try to track them down.