Matt Stoller Profile picture
I write BIG, on monopoly and finance. Subscribe at: Author, Goliath: Hundred Year War between Monopoly Power and Democracy
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29 Jul
1. Some resources for the #bigtechbarons hearing. First, a list of recent controversies for each company over the past few years.…
2. This is the top GOP member @Jim_Jordan's playbook for the #bigtechbarons hearing. Jordan will be disruptive and hostile to Democrats and come to the aid of big tech CEOs. Unclear whether his GOP colleagues will focus on big tech or follow his lead.
3. This is Jeff Bezos's testimony. Bezos is the most important witness in the #bigtechbarons hearing, he has never testified before Congress.…
Read 12 tweets
28 Jul
This anti-competitive behavior is hard to prosecute because judges no longer ask if monopolization is happening, but whether that monopolization is inefficient.

Efficiency is not in the law, but Dems appoint corporatists and the GOP appoints libertarians. Judges changed the law.
Google's argument is that they do monopolize by using their power to crush competitors, but it's efficient to do so. In other words they can steal and if you want your money back you have to show you will use your money more efficiently than Google will.
Read 2 tweets
28 Jul
1. My piece with @ShaoulSussman goes into the backstory on the big tech hearings. How this hearing goes, and whether Congress develops the confidence to break up and regulate these giants, will in many ways determine whether we remain a democracy.…
2. The harms of these giants were hidden from the public because they offer free services to consumers. But low prices mask a deep threat to our society, starting with an invasive surveillance architecture that has concentrated ad revenue and threatens free expression itself.
3. Two thirds of American counties have no daily newspaper, largely because Google and Facebook have diverted revenue from the free press to themselves. In addition, these entities propagate misinformation, harm mental health and promote racial discrimination
Read 25 tweets
24 Jul
1. Our new paper on Amazon is a description of how the 21st century gatekeeper works.

Amazon's rise is not a story of innovation, it's a story of power. Bezos's focus is entirely about exploiting legal loopholes. Our report shows how he did this and how to fix the law.
2. From the earliest days, Bezos sought to get big by any means necessary. He told an early employee, “When you are small, someone else that is bigger can always come along and take away what you have.”…
3. Early Amazon employees confirmed the obsession with creating dependencies, noting that Bezos’s “underlying goals were not to build an online bookstore or an online retailer, but rather a ‘utility’ that would become essential to commerce."
Read 21 tweets
24 Jul
1. This story by @daiwaka reveals George Mason takes money from big business, which has openly been their model since the 1970s. I don't understand why we need studies in the 2010s showing corruption works when Manne was bragging about it in the 1970s.…
2. The history of our world was very much shaped by Henry Manne's organizing of judicial seminars and law school corruption in the 1970s and 1980s to reshape the law for big business. This is known. We've known it for decades. Alliance for Justice wrote a book about it in 1993.
3. @ddayen constantly points it out. So do academics inside who know it's happening. What I don't understand is why the pervasive corruption within academia of economists isn't taken for granted at this point.…
Read 12 tweets
10 Jul
American culture has zero to do with our failed strategy vis-a-vis covid, it's 100% a failure of governance. No one can maintain strict personal routines forever with no plan, no hope, and no honest communication from leaders.

Americans want to be governed. Trump won't do it.
For about a month and a half, Americans tuned into 5pm daily press conferences with Trump because they were *desperate* for information and leadership. He used his time to preen and fuck around.

It doesn't help that experts love to shame people for being confused and angry.
Yup. My mayor Muriel Bowser in DC is a routine liar and idiot about covid. There's very little leadership anywhere, and frankly, the public health expert community hasn't covered itself in glory either. Trump did really set the tone though.
Read 5 tweets
1 Jul
America is ungovernable. Since the 1980s, we have systematically enabled cheaters - we call them billionaires - to take over every key academic, corporate, financial, and political institution.

And I saw 'we' because it's quite evident 'we the people' enabled it at every turn.
There were so many canaries in a coal mine. A latest one was Boeing, whose stock price is doing fine but which cannot actually make safe aircraft.
Hatred towards Congress - which is the most democratic body in America - is the key signal. American voters do not want their political leaders to confront power, and until they do, our living standards will continue to collapse.
Read 7 tweets
25 Jun
1. Bill Baer's oped on Trump's appalling misuse of the antitrust division is fine, but ProPublica reported a story on the Obama administration under Baer approved the American Air-US Air merger due to political interference.…
2. @connaje noted in his book "The Payoff" the rumor of how Rahm Emanuel explicitly told DOJ AAG Christine Varney to stand down on anti-monopolization claims.…
3. "In 1996, Thomson bought West Publishing, creating a monopoly in digital access to court opinions and legal publishing; the owner of West had given a half a million dollars to the Democratic Party and personally lobbied Clinton to allow the deal."…
Read 4 tweets
14 Jun
Social media encourages users to luxuriate in narcissism, cheap drama and rage.

It's like anti-therapy.
If you just say that whatever thing is happening is just like Hitler or if you portray yourself as some sort of passive victim you get likes and RT's.

That's an incentive to tell yourself stories that lead you to marinate in nihilism, unhappiness and learned helplessness.
The thing is, our world is pretty nice. People live a long time and we have cool technology and most of us live in democracies where we can make things better.
Read 5 tweets
3 Jun
Also protesters get to make their case publicly. There's a lot of merit in having an open society, even though it's messy.
Comparisons between US and Hong Kong protesters need better context. Hong Kong protesters are dealing with a totalitarian government. There aren't going to be acknowledgments of kidnapping and torture by the CCP, and anyone who speaks out is at risk. That's just quite true here.
In the U.S., top military and ex-military leaders openly speak out in favor of protesters. Please do not discount the value of these kinds of social and legal norms, they are hard-won.
Read 3 tweets
1 Jun
The disagreement between @mattyglesias and @ddayen over whether the CARES Act 'worked' is ideological. The CARES Act replaced permanent jobs with temporary incomes. Use of terms like 'worked' obscures the disagreement.…
Yglesias basically likes incomes without work.

"There’s been emphasis in the media on the problems with filing for benefits and the broken-by-design underlying structure of these systems. But the message of this data is that, on the whole, it worked."…
What @ddayen examines is the shift in power when everyone's dependent on the state for income. He's deeply uncomfortable with an architecture that strips productive power from small business and workers while giving them temporary incomes.…
Read 5 tweets
1 Jun
In 2014 when I was a House aide to Rep. Alan Grayson I worked on a bill to end the militarization of police. It went down badly, with a 355-62 vote. We were opposed by everyone.…
The politics here were simple. There were police leaders who opposed taking military-trade weapons, but enough police leaders like their toys and Democrats didn't want to tell them no because Democrats want to please the people around them not make policy.
Oh and no one ever lost a primary because of the vote. Democratic voters don't actually want what you might think they want.
Read 3 tweets
1 Jun
My solution is to focus on where power really lives, which is in the banks and corporations. I guarantee you that if the stock market performance hinged on reducing police violence things would be calm as fuck.
There's a lot of moral grandstanding going on around civil disorder but the claim of institutional racism is accurate. We have a bureaucratic and political problem based on who has the power to tax/spend and who doesn't. It's not about what's in our hearts.
In 2012 I published a piece called The Housing Crash and the End of American Citizenship outlining the collapse of our social contract and predicting the rise of authoritarian trends and social disorder. None of this is unexpected.
Read 5 tweets
30 May
@Vinncent @MattBruenig I’m well aware of this history. My question to you is... what’s the plan? What do you suggest to address the CCP’s actions? Concession to a CCP-led world order? If not, how do you suggest addressing this shift in power dynamics?
@Vinncent @MattBruenig One answer is ‘renew our commitment to liberal democracy acknowledge moral travesties and use diplomatic and economic tools and alliances to push back.’ Another answer is ‘not believe the CCP has aggressive goals.’ Another is ‘assume the CCP will lead better than we did.’
@Vinncent @MattBruenig I’m fine having the debate over any one of them. But I think it’s bad faith to assert that those who see a threat in the CCP do not also realize that American policymakers have engaged in horrific and bloodthirsty actions.
Read 3 tweets
29 May
@Vinncent @GradEnviro I unblocked you. Vincent, I don't disagree with your point about bloodshed and diminished U.S. moral standing, but I think you hand wave away a lot of uncomfortable realities about the CCP.
@Vinncent @GradEnviro Which is to say... what now? Give up on liberal democratic norms? Renew and refresh them? How do you do that while the CCP proposes an aggressive authoritarian approach and Trump is engaging in xenophobic nationalist rhetoric?
@Vinncent @GradEnviro I don't have answers. What I am reacting to is the refusal to entertain the questions.
Read 3 tweets
29 May
@dbessner @moshik_temkin The CCP tends to say world domination is their goal. They haven't specified exactly what they mean, but as they become more powerful and confident their actions reflect more belligerence and authoritarian actions abroad. As for why we'll go to war, it's because we are dependent..
@dbessner @moshik_temkin ... on East Asian production because we designed a global system to foster interdependence. And that means we have to keep the supply lines open. China will use its power to threaten us over those supply lines. It is already doing so.
@dbessner @moshik_temkin We need to end this march to war. Shift to a posture of deterrence, get our supply chains out of China, and build a regional economic and diplomatic coalition against the CCP.
Read 3 tweets
29 May
@naval Ok, I see your point, which is different than I'd understood. The problem with the 'obsolete' framing is it ignores policy agency. Monopsony power was part of the law prior to the 1980s. Amazon isn't our first aggregator, we had buying aggregators in the 1880s (Standard Oil!).
@naval Amazon exists because we stopped enforcing our laws against buying monopolies, the main one being the Robinson-Patman Act. And the changes were deliberate. Antitrust scholars who made the pro-monopoly changes in the 1980s are quite happy with what they did.
@naval A lot of people say that antitrust laws were written to deal with old industries like steel and railroads and meatpackers. Well guess what? We now have monopolies in steel and railroads and meatpackers! It's not an issue of modernization, it's a timeless struggle over power.
Read 4 tweets
26 May
The foreign policy left needs to be clear about just what they are willing to surrender to Beijing. Are they willing to accept a censorship regime in America and worldwide? Are they willing to accept Chinese tech dominance and surveillance? What is their acceptable end state?
The foreign policy Koch-funded left is not being clear or realistic about the terms of what they are willing to accept. Chinese domination and the end of liberal democracy and human rights as a legitimate frame is the end state. Defend that. Be honest about it.
The Quincy Institute is a key center of the new foreign policy left, and it is funded by Charles Koch. What is the goal vis-a-via Beijing’s aims? Wishful thinking not allowed.…
Read 4 tweets
26 May
@JRHunTx @TomHilly @stephenwertheim No. A weak thing can get weaker.
@JRHunTx @TomHilly @stephenwertheim My contention is that the TPP was not designed to promote any coherent aims, because they wanted a national security pact but used a 1990s era global trade deal in its stead. It was a camel, a horse designed by committee. Hence why Froman fucked up the auto rules of origin.
@JRHunTx @TomHilly @stephenwertheim The Obama pivot to Asia didn't deliver precisely because Obama and his crew never actually committed to stopping the move of supply chains out of the US and into China. The TPP wouldn't have done it either. It was never designed to.
Read 3 tweets
25 May
There was no 'outcry' over Biden's ad on China, there were noisy media personalities making arguments most Americans find fringe. Hopefully Biden will continue ignoring them. Most people know the Chinese government is dangerous and that we shouldn't have offshored our factories.
The Chinese government is illiberal and aggressive and has been engaged in conflict with us for years. It's time to stop pretending Trump organized this tension. There's a reason Obama did his pivot to Asia.…
Chinese hardliners and Western China doves all adopt an ethno-nationalist view of the nation-state. It's the China hawks who actually value human rights above ethnic groupings.
Read 3 tweets
23 May
Even when Larry Summers tries to pander and repudiate his old views so he can be appointed to the Fed without too much controversy he can’t help but reveal his contempt for ordinary people.…
“ A great deal of what was in the Trump program was fundamentally irrelevant. Who cares whether China buys soybeans from us or whether Brazil buys soybeans from us?”

Farmers do. Also Brazilians are burning down the Amazon to grow soybeans!
Summers shits on Keynes AND the working class!

“There’s a lot of evidence since Keynes, and for every non-employed man who’s learning to play the harp or appreciate Impressionists, there are a hundred drinking beer, playing video games, and watching 10 hours of TV a day.”
Read 3 tweets