Stacy Mitchell Profile picture
Advocating for policies that decentralize economic power. Antimonopoly. Pro-local. Co-director at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance @ILSR
@AlgoCompSynth@universeodon.com by znmeb Profile picture Karen Salitis 🇺🇦🇺🇲🇺🇦🇺🇸🇺🇦 Profile picture 2 subscribed
Apr 24 12 tweets 3 min read
1. I'm so sorry to see @jbouie fall into a trap that big corporations & the GOP have long used to weaken the left. Since the 1980s, the right has been allowed to define who small businesses are, claim their voice, and use it to drive reactionary policies.
nytimes.com/2024/04/23/opi… 2. The left has not contested this version of small business politics. In fact, it has helped the right at every turn — as Bouie is doing in this piece. This is very bad strategy. It costs progressives and ultimately costs working people.
Mar 3 7 tweets 2 min read
1. Many environmental groups began taking huge donations from the Waltons — the family that owns most of Walmart — starting about 15 yrs ago.

Today our fisheries, food, and water policies have been thoroughly corrupted.

civileats.com/walanthropy/ 2. You should make time to read @CivilEats amazing series on this. "Greenwashing" doesn't do justice to what Walmart is doing; it's much more sophisticated...
Nov 2, 2023 17 tweets 6 min read
1. Amazon is in a world of legal hurt — I just read the less-redacted version of the FTC’s monopoly lawsuit. Lots of evidence of Amazon execs knowingly screwing consumers & killing competition, aware of their own wrong-doing.

A few highlights. First, destroying evidence. Image 2. Here’s an exec saying that blocking sellers from offering lower prices on other sites is "a dirty job, but we need to do it." Image
Oct 1, 2023 21 tweets 4 min read
1. Weird to see the FTC’s Amazon lawsuit described as restrained, a pulled punch. It’s so not that. It strikes at the core of Amazon’s monopolization strategy.

Why the disconnect? One reason is that the commonly told story of Amazon’s strategy is the wrong story. 2. The story most people know is that Amazon spies on sellers and copies their products — that Amazon’s monopoly strategy is to exploit its control over the platform to advantage its own products and sales.

This story has been chased and told by media again & again.
May 29, 2023 14 tweets 3 min read
1. For 40 years, we’ve allowed big chains like Walmart to use their financial hold over suppliers to wrest deep discounts for themselves — while driving up the prices that small retailers pay.

This was a huge mistake, and it’s costing us all.

nytimes.com/2023/05/29/opi… 2. Walmart & Kroger “have a handle on suppliers that I can’t touch,” explains Michael Gay, owner of Food Fresh, the only grocery store in a rural stretch of Georgia. With suppliers charging Fresh Food much higher prices, the store can’t come close to matching the chains’ prices.
Apr 6, 2023 10 tweets 3 min read
It’s wild how quick libertarians are to use poor people as props to legitimize corporate power.

And also to erase their agency! Laws limiting dollar stores are the result of bottom-up efforts by people to protect their neighborhoods.
1/ Image Often people have to fight City Hall pretty hard to get these measures passed.

Their motivation is simple and universal: Who wants to live in a neighborhood that has dozens of dollar stores and no full-service grocery store? No one.
2/
Mar 24, 2023 12 tweets 3 min read
Why are Dollar General and Family Dollar so lethal to grocery stores? Why does their arrival so often leave communities with no place to buy fresh food?

The chains use 3 predatory tactics to ensure they face no competition. 1/
ilsr.org/report-dollar-… First, they open lots of stores close together. In cities, this means dozens of dollar stores concentrated in particular areas. In small towns, especially in the South, you’ll often see 2-3 dollar stores at the main intersection. 2/
ilsr.org/new-maps-dolla…
Feb 24, 2023 5 tweets 2 min read
1. If you live in California and buy something online from Best Buy, 50% of the local sales tax you pay goes not to local government, but to Best Buy.

Another 10% goes to a lawyer named Robert Cendejas.

bloomberg.com/news/features/… 2. It's not just Best Buy. Walmart, Apple, QVC, and others have all cute deals with cities where they get to pocket a huge share of the sales tax from e-commerce.

This is an impressive piece of reporting by @schwahoney
Jan 5, 2023 9 tweets 3 min read
1. The FTC’s action today to ban noncompete clauses will not only benefit workers. It will also provide a major boost to small businesses and entrepreneurship in two ways. A quick thread. 2. First, non-compete agreements act as a kind of barrier-to-entry for would-be entrepreneurs by preventing workers from leaving their jobs to start their own, competing businesses.
Nov 1, 2022 12 tweets 3 min read
1. Yesterday the DOJ won a major antitrust case. A judge blocked the merger of two publishing giants — Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster.

The ruling is great news for authors and readers. It’s also a big deal because of what it says about where antitrust is headed. 2. Rather than focus on the merger’s effect on consumer prices, the government instead argued that the deal would harm authors. By merging, Penguin/Simon would cut the number of major publishers from 5 to 4. With fewer houses competing for new books, authors would be paid less.
Sep 28, 2022 19 tweets 5 min read
1. Walmart opened its first superstore in 1962, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that it (and other chains) exploded, killing local retailers & taking over.

What happened? The government stopped enforcing a crucial antitrust law, the Robinson-Patman Act. ilsr.org/boxed-out/ 2. Robinson-Patman says that big retailers can’t use their leverage as major buyers of goods to compel suppliers to grant them discounts and other preferences, while charging smaller retailers higher prices. ilsr.org/rule/antitrust…
Jul 14, 2022 14 tweets 3 min read
A year ago this week, President Biden gave a speech in which he sharply repudiated 40 years of federal policy that favored bigness and overlooked the harm monopoly power can inflict on working people, small businesses, and communities.

1/

ilsr.org/bidens-executi… “We’re now 40 years into the experiment of letting giant corporations accumulate more and more power. And what have we gotten from it? Less growth, weakened investment, fewer small businesses,” he said.

2/
Jul 7, 2022 4 tweets 1 min read
If Chuck Schumer doesn't bring the Big Tech bills to a vote in the next 2 weeks, then one has to conclude he's corrupt.

It's the campaign cash, his daughters working for Big Tech, etc. Either that or he is wedded to further fusing the Democratic Party to Big Business, which is even worse.

The consequences of inaction are so high...
Jul 7, 2022 7 tweets 2 min read
A few thoughts on Amazon's deal to add free Grubhub deliveries to Prime.

National restaurant delivery services are not viable businesses. They suffer from diseconomies of scale and can’t make a profit. (Hence all the fraud.)

1/
Grubhub and Doordash have gotten where they are by persuading investors to fund massive losses. It's a predatory pricing scheme aimed at monopolizing delivery in different metros. The idea is to become entrenched gatekeepers that can bleed restaurants even more in the future. 2/
Jun 7, 2022 10 tweets 3 min read
Yes! By a 5-0 vote, the FTC has launched an inquiry into CVS and the other dominant pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).

This is a huge step — hopefully toward a fair playing field for independent pharmacies and the communities they serve. 1/ For a long time, PBMs have used their control over prescription benefits to undermine independent pharmacies and steer patients to their own (often lower-quality & more expensive) pharmacies instead.
2/
Jun 6, 2022 17 tweets 2 min read
Last week, an Amazon VP took to an Amazon-run forum for sellers to urge them to contact their senators in opposition to Klobuchar’s self-preferencing bill, and thereby continue Amazon’s “amazing partnership” with sellers.

The responses from sellers are… pretty lively. 1/ “When a person or business issues a vaguely threatening one-sided statement, i.e., do this or else you will be put out of business… you have to stop and ask, what is the ACTUAL issue?” — happyfamilyclothing 2/
Jun 2, 2022 19 tweets 4 min read
Amazon is claiming that passing Sen. Klobuchar’s Big Tech bill would mean The End of Prime.

This is such an absurd, desperate lie. What the bill actually does is force Amazon to compete in ways that will benefit consumers and small businesses. A thread. 1/ The bill, the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, bans self-preferencing. It bars Amazon, Google & other tech giants from giving advantages to their own goods & services, like top billing in search results, ahead of objectively better offerings from other businesses. 2/
Feb 11, 2022 10 tweets 4 min read
1. Great news: The FTC may do a study on PBMs, the powerful corps that 1) control reimbursement rates for indie pharmacies and 2) run their own competing pharmacies.

Three PBMs dominate. The largest is CVS.

ILSR has pushed this issue for a decade. Some background... 2. There’s lots of evidence that independent pharmacies outperform the chains. They have lower prices, more effective care, and more economic benefit for their communities.

North Dakota, which bans chain pharmacies, offers a great case study.

ilsr.org/report-pharmac…
Feb 4, 2022 10 tweets 2 min read
1. Altogether, in 2021, Amazon took in $120 billion in revenue from the fees it imposes on third-party sellers. That’s massive.

For every $100 in sales a seller made in 2021, Amazon pocketed $34. That’s up from $19 in 2014. 2. Amazon is a gatekeeper to the online market, and it makes money by imposing steep and growing fees on businesses that want and need to reach that market.
Dec 2, 2021 13 tweets 3 min read
AWS is commonly believed to generate most of Amazon’s profits. In fact, Amazon almost certainly takes in far more profit from Marketplace than from AWS.

Why isn’t this widely known? Because Amazon conceals how much profit it makes from Marketplace. 1/
ilsr.org/amazons-toll-r… Amazon’s financial reports break out profits for AWS separately, but lump together the rest of its divisions, disclosing only combined profit figures.

This allows Amazon to offset its huge profits from seller fees with huge losses on Prime and its own Retail division. 2/
Dec 1, 2021 14 tweets 5 min read
A striking measure of Amazon’s monopoly power is the vast stream of cash that it extracts from the businesses that have to rely on its site.

In a new report, we find that Amazon is pocketing a 34% cut of sellers’ revenue — up from 19% in 2014. 1/

ilsr.org/amazons-toll-r… This year, Amazon’s take from seller fees will soar to a staggering $121 billion. That’s double the $60 billion in fees it took in just two years ago.

If Amazon’s third-party marketplace were a stand-alone company, it would bigger than Facebook and Citigroup. 2/