Also looks like Amazon is now predatory pricing to kill UPS and Fedex. Classic monopolizing technique. cnbc.com/2018/11/09/ama…
This is my favorite subsidy for Amazon. Small, but humiliating. "The company will also receive a cash grant from Arlington of $23 million over 15 years based on the incremental growth of the existing local Transient Occupancy Tax, a tax on hotel rooms."
I don't know how to explain this, but something has always been a bit.. off about the left and about Democrats. There's not a sense that they are in charge or could be in charge. They don't even really believe they have the right to wield power.
Democratic Presidents tend to appoint Republicans as Secretary of Defense or as FBI Director. This is pervasive across the left, both progressives and centrists. They want progressive stuff, but brought to you by Jim Comey types. I wish this had a name.
The aesthetic is pervasive. On the left, it's a fetishization of Howard Zinn's narrative of powerlessness, a constant talking up of grassroots as virtuous and governing as sinful. Among centrists, it's a fetishization of the private sector. There's a lack of will to power.
Classic. Amazon forces Apple to sell through its marketplace, in return for killing small repair shops who work on Apple products. This is ugly and wrong. But also, Amazon has so much power it can force Apple to do its bidding. motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/…
Amazon did this to Nike. Let us sell your products (and capture customer data) or, you know, shame about all those counterfeiters and third party sellers selling your products that we can't clean up on our platform... wsj.com/articles/how-n…
I don't have much to add about the election except it'll be another 'throw the bums out' contest. Instead I'll talk about governing. There are two related changes the Democrats need to make in how they operate to truly become a governing party.
The first is to restore their understanding of key lever of power that doesn't require a majority or legislation. That is, real, genuine Congressional oversight over corporate power. Actual investigations to uncover information on how our systems work are critical.
The reality is that corporate lobbyists don't win because of bribery or campaign donations. They dominate because they have a monopoly of information on how industries work. Think of the members asking Zuckerberg to work with them on social media regulation.
Monopoly power is about the power to discriminate. Take this story earlier this year of black farmers being sold fake seeds and then pushed off their land. I've done a bit of research into the company being blamed, Stine Seeds. wmcactionnews5.com/story/38610463…
The owner of Stine Seeds, Harry Stine, is a billionaire. Stine Seeds and Monsanto sell soybean seed genetics, basically it's a toll booth farmers have to pay. But this isn't a good product, it's a government-licensed monopoly that didn't exist prior to the 1980s.
Stine's innovation was not creating better seeds, though he did that. It was putting in contracts that farmers couldn't use his seeds to grow crops, and then replant from seeds from their own crops. And they couldn't start their own breeding programs. It was stopping competition.
1. Get ready for a nitty gritty thread on how corporate power is reliant on the Federal Trade Commission, and insider Republicans and Democrats, for its power. As well as some thoughts on why this will change. It starts with a giant little noticed merger this week.
2. This week, the FTC approved the merger of Praxair, Inc. and Linde AG, the second and third largest suppliers of industrial gases in the world. Industrial gases are a key input for industries such as oil and gas, aerospace, steel making, health care, food manufacturing, etc.
3. The consequences of this transaction are unpredictable and potentially dangerous. It will probably raise prices across the economy, and concentrate supply chains in chaotic ways. It's a giant combination of corporate assets. But that's not what makes it interesting...
This article is part of a long line of arguments reflecting a weird adherence to the liberal version of original sin. If you cannot explain why Trump-like candidates are ascending all over the world, then your study is junk. vox.com/policy-and-pol…
Liberals love hearing that Trump won solely because of racism, which is an immutable unlearnable object of sin. This absolves them of any need to be introspective about the catastrophic failure of Democratic policy or the need to consider how America is part of global trends.
There was a financial crisis that started in 2006 and ricocheted all over the world for eight years or so until 2014. It laid bare all the illusions of power we have told ourselves globally. If you cannot incorporate this into your political framework your framework is junk.
Senator James Couzens: "Give me control of the Internal Revenue Bureau and I will run the whole darned country... He can arrange things so that heavy campaign contributions will be paid out of the public treasury merely by returning it to contributors in the form of tax refunds."
Ok so this is a little noticed but awesome win for 37.5 million people with hearing loss, brought to you by @SenWarren's smart use of competition policy to structure markets. engadget.com/2018/10/05/fda…
Basically hearing aids had to be prescription and cost thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. @SenWarren's bill that passed last year allowed self-fitting over the counter hearing aids. Now Bose is entering the market, and will likely charge $500 or so.
The share prices of specialized hearing aid makers have dropped by 10-20% and tens of millions of people will now get cheaper hearing aids. Without treatment hearing loss can lead to dementia. This is good. Social justice flows through markets.
1. A lot of people wonder why I'm constantly harping on the Democrats when Trump is in the White House. One of the reasons is the old Democratic establishment protected Susan Collins.
2. Susan Collins has always portrayed herself as a moderate. And she is soft-spoken and nice, which is appealing to voters. She speaks openly about being pro-choice, and talked up working with Senators like Ted Kennedy.
3. There are some useful things Collins has done. For example, in 2010, she put in a requirement that larger banks have higher capital requirements. hsgac.senate.gov/media/minority…
Obama lied about really important things, like foreclosures and health costs. This notion that he was decent man dealing w/an impossible situation is as silly as the idea that Trump is a self-made billionaire. Obama shaped policy around aristocratic goals.
Grievance politics works on everyone. My own cohort is upper class white liberals, and upper class white liberals went nuts for Obama in a weird irrational manner. The rage from liberals who pointed out he lied about, say, retroactive immunity for telecoms in 2008, was high.
1. Ok, I see I'm going to have to explain the Amazon minimum wage hike. There are two ways of protecting our liberties as individuals. First are rules to protect producers: patent, copyright, union, farm supports, etc. Second are rules to restrain capital: antitrust, finreg, etc.
2. The key is to block the ability of the financier to use the corporation and bank to control us. That means cutting off the ability to pour free capital from Wall Street into a segment to monopolize. That's why we had rules against predatory pricing.
3. It's why we used to force large companies - like railroads, airlines, AT&T, etc - to remain in a single business segment. This goes back to the 19th century. Jefferson saw it, the "aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government."
1. Kavanaugh's clearly on display anger and pain was quite confusing to millions of Americans. Many saw authenticity in his voice and thus in some way believed he is telling the truth. It is time for us to wake up to what aristocracy is. Aristocracy is a moral system.
2. Most Westerners have a hard time imagining aristocracy. The enlightenment kind of pushed the end of feudalism as a moral frame. The idea of divinely ordained social hierarchies doesn't make any sense to us.
3. We think of aristocracy as a bunch of men in whigs and women in petticoats and corsets, a sort of black and white before color TV world. That is not what aristocracy is. Aristocracy is a belief in the moral right of elites to rule and abuse everyone else *for their own good.*
Agree with the sentiment here, but privilege is the wrong frame. Growing up affluent means growing up with the ability to be free. That's not privilege. It's what *everyone* should have. It's not unfair that some have it, it's unfair that some don't.
Being able to go to college without debt, being able to raise kids and see a doctor, not having to worry about food, shelter, being able to have leisure and make non-coerced political and social choices... That's not privilege. That is what every person in America should have.
You also don't need to grow up poor to notice homeless people on the street and think 'hey that's bad they should have homes.' You just need to not be a sociopath. There but for the grace of God and all that. I mean we have many religious traditions making this point.
1. Ok, time to address this piece by Hank Paulson, Tim Geithner, and Ben Bernanke on the need for more bailout authority to address financial crises. It is a surprisingly interesting but hidden political argument.
2. The argument is that the banking system 'outgrew' protections against panics put in place during the Great Depression. They didn't see the crisis coming, but their response as firefighters was pretty good. Banks were bailed out, which was unfair, but America recovered.
3. It's couched in technical terms, but basically they argue, accurately, that what happened was a standard banking panic, only one that happened in the unregulated sector of the banking system which ordinary people don't have access to. But one critical to the flow of credit.
1. There's a lot of wishful lefty thinking going on right now. The young generation isn't necessarily progressive. Gillum supported fast track corporate trade authority. Pressley opposed Medicare for All. Beto supported bank deregulation.
2. The crevices where power really lives in America is in the arcane technical boring stuff about banks, trade, monopoly rules - aka big money. That's not excitable stuff right now. What someone does when you're not looking is who they are.
3. Capuano was an old white man bigot about Kaepernick. He also has a 20 year record of voting against wars and fighting bank deregulation when no one is looking. Both matter. Or do they? If you believe Capuano's record was not important then you are saying you will serve power.
1. A short thread on how ideas travel, with a case study on the problem of monopoly, now being studied by central bankers at Jackson Hole. How did this idea break into modern discourse? It started in the late 1990s, with a journalist named Barry Lynn (now my boss).
2. Lynn noticed that an earthquake in Taiwan took down a whole bunch of seemingly unrelated factories halfway across the world, toys, cars, etc. He asked, what happened? The answer is that essential components had been sole sourced in Taiwan.
3. This caused what he called an industrial supply shock, like a bank run, but in the industrial world. These are happening more and more. He wrote a book on this in the early 2000s called End of the Line. amazon.com/End-Line-Comin…
1. Ok, I'm going to talk about an under the radar fight over wealth, power and the law. It's going on at the most important Federal agency no one cares about, the Federal Trade Commission. And there's even something you can do about it.
2. The FTC is charged with policing America's markets. It has massive power over mergers, monopoly, and unfair trade practices. It won't surprise you that for forty years, because of law and economics "scholars" like @ProfWrightGMU, it has enabled fraud instead of stopping it.
3. There are five FTC Commissioners (3 Rs and 2 Ds), and it's a pretty consensus driven agency. Dissents are somewhat rare. But last week, @chopraftc, a new commissioner, dissented on a small consumer protection case over a company called Speedway Motorsports.
This cycle Democratic voters are electing mostly centrists with a smattering of leftists. What matters far more than these labels, which are basically about how much to spend on social welfare, is whether people broadly are seeing the threat of corporate concentration.
Just by watching hearings in Congress, it isn't really the left interested in the details of corporate power. There are some progressives who are there, but it's mostly the GOP, random centrists, and a few progressives who are trying to figure out how to structure commerce.
Small pharmacists have a lot of GOP support. Uber-centrist @MarkWarner has the boldest and most interesting views on Facebook/Google/Amazon. @RoKhanna and @SenWarren are doing important work on defense contract monopolies. And @SenWarren worked w/the GOP on hearing aid cartels.
Russia is a dangerous and hostile power that meddled in the U.S. election. It's worth remembering that Russian lifespans dropped radically after Larry Summers and Bill Clinton's neoliberal boys went over to help the USSR transition to capitalism. Russia is mad at us for a reason.
The Chinese however have no reason for hostility to the U.S., which has historically been a good friend. China's increasing dangerous posture is purely a result of Wall Street's recklessness, bad policy from Clinton to Obama (and now Trump), and its own autocratic government.
Trump's power is based an exploitation of our own unwillingness to fix the flaws of the international trading and security system. Germany doesn't pay its fair share for NATO, it is deeply protectionist, and so forth. "Tear it all down" is bad, but the status quo is also bad.
One of the reasons @Ocasio2018 did well is because Obamacare obviously didn't work for the majority. In 2009, 7% of large employers offered high-deductible health care insurance. Today it's 39%. Insured people are losing their health care and the Democrats didn't notice!
There's no real mystery with why people are turning to different candidates. It isn't some grand youthquake, it's that the Democrats haven't been relevant to anything for years. Obama promised lots in 2009, but did a terrible job. This wasn't hard to see. washingtonpost.com/posteverything…
1. Since I'm the liberal that Democratic socialists both love and hate, let me do some history on the origin of modern Democratic socialism. Democratic socialism is in many ways actually just old school Democratic populism.
2. I understand why young people dislike liberalism and Democrats. There's been a total failure of leadership among liberals and Democrats for decades. Why would anyone want to follow liberals or Democrats? I certainly don't. Most Americans don't.
3. Modern liberals and Democrats fell into an intellectual trap in the 1960s. They began to stop seeing concentrated financial power as a political threat, or even as political. Banks and monopolies became like the weather. Maybe a problem, but not a political problem.
I'm going to show you just who @Ocasio2018, Justice Democrats, and DSA beat tonight. it isn't @JoeCrowleyNY. It's the most powerful people in America. Here are Crowley donors Sheryl Sandberg, Sean Parker, Google NET Pac, and Facebook's PAC.
Crowley donors who lost tonight: Facebook, Google, Blackrock, Humana, Raytheon, Capitol One, AFLAC, Microsoft, CIGNA, TD Bank, H&R Block, Salesforce dot com, United Technology, Deloitte, Covington and Burling, Anheuser-Busch, Honeywell...
Crowley donors who lost tonight, part II: Intel, American Bankers Association, Citigroup, UPS, T-Mobile, Altria (Phillip Morris), ERNST & YOUNG, Florida Sugar Cane, Boeing, Constellation Brands, Altice, The Options Clearinghouse, Diageo, Cisco Systems...