Matt Stoller Profile picture
Hi. I work at the American Economic Liberties Project. Also, I wrote the book Goliath, and I write a monopoly-focused newsletter BIG: https://t.co/ZIPlU6qcF7
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23 Nov
1. One institutional problem of the Dems/left is what I'll call the Lollipop Problem. We've optimized our party to offer things people like, but we do so whether people prioritize those things or not. Let's do a thought experiment on Dems, using lollipops as a stand-in.
2. 10 years ago, some progressive economists at the Fed got data from candy makers showing candy makes people happy. Then progressives set up a coalition for lollipops, which poll well, and activists at the end of the Obama era began holding signs saying "Lollipops NOW!"
3. Then Trump won the Presidency. Stories in the New Yorker and the New York Times started to come out about how Trump corrupted and controlled the traditionally bipartisan US Candy Agency. "How dare he!?!?"
Read 17 tweets
22 Nov
1. I wrote up the current odd state of antitrust politics, where DC's biggest lobbying group - the U.S. Chamber of Commerce - has declared open war against Lina Khan and the anti-monopoly movement. mattstoller.substack.com/p/big-business…
2. This is not hyperbole. “It feels to the business community that the FTC has gone to war against us, and we have to go to war back,” said Chamber President and CEO Suzanne Clark, in the Wall Street Journal. wsj.com/articles/ftc-k…
3. The Chamber will be suing the FTC at every step, filing Freedom of Information Act requests, and setting up a war room to tell horror stories about Khan and the government's attempt to address dominant firms. mattstoller.substack.com/p/big-business…
Read 22 tweets
22 Nov
Obama is doing this favor to Bezos just as the Teamsters leadership was overthrown in favor of people who want to organize Amazon.

The paradox and tension of all Dem-left politics and elite media discourse runs through Obama's symbolism and the inability to discuss it honestly.
To be fair to Obama, he did stump for Democrats earlier this month and Terry McAuliffe pulled out a squeaker in Virginia. So he is a big help in Dem politics.
Unlike all other Presidential libraries Obama's 'Presidential library' won't be run by the National Archives and so isn't subject to government rules. And it's not even a library! Research historians are actually offended. nytimes.com/2019/02/20/art…
Read 4 tweets
22 Nov
Everyone should congratulate former President and current internet influencer Barack Obama for receiving a $100 million from Jeff Bezos to build a plaza at his library. Hooray! puck.news/bezos-and-obam…
Solid work by @PuckNews
I wonder which crypto conference Obama will headline first along with paid speaking gig buddy Ashton Kutcher. There are so many options!
Read 4 tweets
17 Nov
Tom Edsall is the problem. So are all these political scientists. So is the New York Times. That’s the actual Democratic Party. They won’t fire themselves and they don’t see themselves as responsible. nytimes.com/2021/11/17/opi…
The reason Afghanistan hurt Biden is because the Democratic Party in the form of the Atlantic, the New York Times, the national security apparatus, etc turned on him. Trump’s strength is he disdained the elitists on his side. Biden hasn’t.
I don’t think a loss is going to do it. The progressive institutions are simply too strong and Democratic voters simply like their leaders too much. It’s going to take a Democratic Trump.
Read 8 tweets
7 Nov
Democrats *don't* want to fix their rural problem with policy. They talk a lot about policy but they don't know that, say, rural health care has gotten a lot shittier in the last ten years. Democrats have been bad for rural America on policy. bostonreview.net/forum/finding-…
I don't know if rural America is more concerned about culture or policy but no one else does either. Democrats in 2016 barely noticed opioids.
This is also a challenge for the Rs. The Rs want to fix their urban problem with culture, but it's really a policy challenge. The first party to *actually* notice policy matters will govern for a generation.
Read 4 tweets
6 Nov
Yes Democrats look down on people who live in rural areas, but they shouldn’t take it so personally. Democrats look down on everyone. nytimes.com/2021/11/06/us/…
We believe in diversity, equity, and inclusion when it comes to who we condescend to.
I’m only half kidding. Literally every faction of the Democratic voting base feels taken for granted and condescended to.
Read 4 tweets
6 Nov
1. Yesterday I wrote up a labor revolt at CVS and Walgreens by pharmacists and technicians. And what I found has some partial answers as to why Democrats are getting crushed by voters even as workers get more militant. mattstoller.substack.com/p/pizzaisnotwo…
2. The problem most people face at work is not 1930s-style Pinkerton hostility, but these guys, the management consulting Bob's. It's alienation from the distant corporate masters who control the workplace.
3. And that's a *direct* result of corporate power and size. Pharmacies used to be locally owned and small. Here's a Salt Lake City directory of pharmacies from 1955. Note they are almost all independently owned, with one small chain.
Read 23 tweets
6 Nov
What the antitrust bar misses is that the 'participants' are not just #BigLaw but everyone in the economy. Mergers have harmed tens of millions of people, and if we enforced the law as intended most mergers would be illegal. Antitrust law was not written so you could have a club.
The simplest rule would be that all mergers above $1 billion are illegal. The current rule is that all mergers are arbitrarily decided by a random judge who probably finds dueling corrupt economists confusing, intimidating and irritating.
What actually angers antitrust attorneys about Lina Khan is that she isn't in the club and didn't pay her dues. Instead she wants to actually wield the authority Congress gave the FTC to ensure fair markets. That's really all it is.
Read 4 tweets
4 Nov
Why don't we have cheap rapid covid tests? Tim Stenzel, the FDA employee in charge of approving them, approved two firms to make them. He had worked at both. Then he blocked additional ones from coming on the market. propublica.org/article/heres-…
FDA official Tim Stenzel explicitly advocated a rapid covid testing monopoly in his approach. Why? Efficiency!

Except that Europe has 39 tests and they are cheap and everywhere. We have expensive tests and they are in shortage.
This story about rapid covid testing came from my organization @econliberties. We wrote a letter two months ago asking why Stenzel is allowed to make these kinds of decisions. At this point the FDA needs radical reform to end its pro-monopoly posture. documentcloud.org/documents/2109…
Read 7 tweets
3 Nov
Liberals don't get it. The Pandemic and Covid are different things. Covid is a disease. The Pandemic is a politically constructed determination. We are not in a 'flu pandemic' because we have decided politically that the flu is something we have to deal with in a normal society.
Covid makes you sick. The Pandemic is a rationale for making lots of public policy decisions about who can travel, work, get educated, sell medicine, and so forth. Covid can decline as The Pandemic continues, and vice versa.
Biden has not handled the Pandemic well because he has empowered media hungry bureaucrats like Fauci to make *political choices* when the country has decided it prefers normalcy to endless panic and control.
Read 4 tweets
2 Nov
I have views on what Democrats are doing wrong politically, but the basic issue is that we are out of touch. I've never seen such wildly pro-labor sentiment in America in in my lifetime, but the Democratic governing class has no connection to the working class.
When Democrats admire a working class icon as much as they admire Anthony Fauci, they will no longer be out of touch. Screw that. When Democrats can *name* a working class icon...
Structurally the Democrats rely for their political machinery on nonprofits, and that's mostly untethered from any feedback loop except what foundation and corporate executives think. I don't really know how to fix any of this.
Read 10 tweets
2 Nov
A lot of the opposition to stronger antitrust enforcement is based on the idiotic notion that most business leaders know what they are doing when they try to monopolize a new area.
It's like let's say that antitrust enforcers had won the case against the AT&T-Time Warner merger. What would have happened is that DOJ would have saved AT&T shareholders and Time Warner employees from an immensely stupid deal.
If we had enforced predatory pricing law Softbank would not have been able to waste billions of dollars of Saudi money on WeWork. I'm not saying that's the point of the law, but the idea that too much enforcement is inefficient is likely the opposite of the truth.
Read 4 tweets
2 Nov
When Simon & Schuster announced that it was up for sale in March 2020, its CEO wrote to one of its best- selling authors: “I’m pretty sure that the Department of Justice wouldn’t allow Penguin Random House to buy us, but that’s assuming we still have a Department of Justice.” 🤣
Spicy complaint form DOJ against Penguin/Random House buying Simon and Schuster. storage.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.usco…
It is interesting that this DOJ challenge is going after a merger that would reduce the market from 5 to 4 competitors.
Read 4 tweets
1 Nov
The Biden administration pushed to allow the sale of over the counter hearing aids. The Medicare hearing expansion would ban Medicare from paying for over the counter hearing aids. 🤔mattstoller.substack.com/p/hearing-aid-…
This kind of pro-monopoly bullshit is why I'm tired of progressive politics. 'We need to expand coverage of hearing in Medicare' sounds awesome but then you realize it's about helping monopoly providers of overpriced hearing aids by excluding competitors. mattstoller.substack.com/p/hearing-aid-…
It's quite possible to fix the legislation so that the hearing aid cartel can't effectively undo what the Biden executive order just did re: hearing aids. mattstoller.substack.com/p/hearing-aid-…
Read 4 tweets
29 Oct
1. For at least five years, Facebook has been mired in significant public scandal. But Mark Zuckerberg simply doesn't care. Why? The answer is, he knows it doesn't matter, because the rule of law doesn't apply to the powerful. mattstoller.substack.com/p/enough-is-en…
2. Zuckerberg has heard intense criticism since he started Facebook at Harvard. And while criticism would seem shameful to a normal person, to him, the scandals, far from a problem, are why he won. He is worth $100 billion bc he grabbed whatever he could, and others didn't.
3. The legal problems, the settlements for deception with the Federal Trade Commission, the $5B fine for violating it, foreign investigations, and the antitrust suit... to him it's noise. He's a builder, and builders build. mattstoller.substack.com/p/enough-is-en…
Read 22 tweets
28 Oct
This bill isn't anything close to a New Deal agenda in any way shape or form. Tossing around "New Deal" doesn't make it so.
FDR's goal during the New Deal was to break the power of oligarchs. He did it while governor of New York, he ran on it in 1932, and he implemented it when in office. That's not Biden or the Democrats or the progressives' goal. Social spending wasn't the New Deal.
Here's a comparison of FDR's infrastructure spending and whatever these plans are. They don't match up in their political goals. mattstoller.substack.com/p/will-monopol…
Read 6 tweets
28 Oct
Re: antitrust, it's time for the committee vote on Jonathan Kanter. John Cornyn says he's concerned about big tech, but is attacking Kanter over Kanter's opposition to the consumer welfare standard. Says antitrust law has nothing to do with stronger labor law. @JohnCornyn
The fissures in the Republican Party are fairly significant. @JohnCornyn cannot both seek meaningful action against big tech and support the status quo. It doesn't work. The status quo *created* big tech dominance.
And @amyklobuchar talks about how so many mothers can't keep their kids from seeing 'crap' online, and blames big tech. Calls for bipartisan support for Kanter.
Read 5 tweets
27 Oct
In a few minutes the new CFPB director @chopracfpb will testify before the House Financial Services Committee. I wonder if anyone will ask him about his initiative on big tech and financial data or it'll all be 'help consumers' vs 'be nicer to the banks.' financialservices.house.gov/calendar/event…
What a shocker, @PatrickMcHenry is using his time to bash the CFPB's burden on business and the Democrats 'far left agenda' and ignoring Chopra's initiative on big tech and financial data. Exactly like Democrats, totally uninterested in substance.
"We will be keeping a close eye on practices that might impede competition, we plan to listen carefully to local
financial institutions and nascent competitors on obstacles they face when seeking to challenge dominant
incumbents, including in Big Tech." financialservices.house.gov/uploadedfiles/…
Read 13 tweets
27 Oct
No, Bidenomics isn't working. Higher demand is leading to inflation but there's massive demand leakage due to imports. We don't make much here anymore. People don't feel the boom because domestically it's ephemeral and they know it.
The current policy framework isn't getting us to make things in the U.S., and that's why people don't see this economy as doing well. It's factories in China getting the extra orders, not your neighbors. msn.com/en-us/money/ma…
This is what Trump and Biden have wrought, and it's because most policymakers simply do not believe making things is important, except in China, where they believe making things is essential.
Read 4 tweets
21 Oct
1. This week Biden did something quite useful on monopoly. 40 million Americans have some form of hearing loss. And yet hearing aids, unlike most other consumer technologies, are super expensive and haven't dropped in price for decades. Why? mattstoller.substack.com/p/silencing-th…
2. The answer is... monopoly. Nearly all hearing aids come from a cartel of firms that own all parts of the hearing aid supply chain. mattstoller.substack.com/p/silencing-th…
3. These hearing aid firms have joined together to pool patents, so just to enter the market requires paying them a private tax. himpp.info/about-himpp/id…
Read 13 tweets