• Advertisement
To advertise, place classifieds free ads by category in a forum as a new topic, or in the classified display ads section, or start a classifieds free blog.

U.S. presidential hopeful Warren wants breakup of Google, Facebook and Amazon

Elizabeth Warren wants to break up Apple too

Postby smix » Tue Mar 12, 2019 12:58 pm

Elizabeth Warren wants to break up Apple too
Vox

URL: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics ... e-facebook
Category: Politics
Published: March 11, 2019

Description: It’s not just Google, Amazon, and Facebook that are on her radar.

donald-trump-tim-cook-apple.jpg

Sen. Elizabeth Warren isn’t just coming for Google, Facebook, and Amazon — she wants to break up Apple too. On Friday, the Massachusetts Democrat laid out an ambitious plan aimed at promoting competition in the tech industry and proposing to break up some of the biggest names in the sector. Over the weekend, she discussed the proposal with Nilay Patel at The Verge and confirmed that beyond the three companies she initially named to split up, she would also focus on Apple. She said it would have to choose between running the App Store and distributing the apps in it. “Apple, you’ve got to break it apart from their App Store. It’s got to be one or the other. Either they run the platform or they play in the store,” she said. “They don’t get to do both at the same time.” Her issue with Apple lines up with the same problem she’s raised with Google and Amazon: These companies get a competitive advantage in search results on their platforms. Right now, Google, for example, can prioritize its restaurant rating results over Yelp’s. Amazon can identify which products are doing well on its platform, start making them, and then push them to consumers over other brands. “If you run a platform where others come to sell, then you don’t get to sell your own items on the platform because you have two comparative advantages. One, you’ve sucked up information about every buyer and every seller before you’ve made a decision about what you’re going to sell,” Warren said. “And second, you have the capacity — because you run the platform — to prefer your product over anyone else’s product. It gives an enormous comparative advantage to the platform.” Warren also said she would seek to appoint regulators who would break up NBCUniversal and Comcast, which completed their merger in 2011 after agreeing to dozens of behavioral conditions with regulators.

warren-nbc-pie.jpg

But that’s proven difficult to enforce in practice — for example, Bloomberg TV has repeatedly complained that it is exiled in the channel guide from other business channels, including CNBC. Warren’s rollout of her plan to take on big tech has made a splash. Beyond breaking up big tech companies, she also proposed passing legislation that would make companies “platform utilities” if they have an annual global revenue of $25 billion or more and offer an online marketplace, exchange, or some other way to connect third parties. They wouldn’t be able to own both the platform utility and the participants on the platform or be able to share data with third parties. For Apple, that translates to the App Store and app distribution being split up. Apple did not return a request for comment on Warren’s proposal.
Apple — and the App Store — has come under antitrust scrutiny before
This isn’t the first time Apple has come under scrutiny for possible anticompetitive practices, including with regard to the App Store specifically. The Supreme Court is currently weighing Apple v. Pepper, which originated in 2011 after a group of iPhone owners claimed that Apple keeping third-party apps out of its App Store was driving up prices and hurting competition. The Verge’s Adi Robertson laid out the case last year:
The central dispute is relatively simple: Apple only allows iOS users to install apps through its App Store. Any third-party stores require jailbreaking your phone and voiding the warranty. Apple also takes a 30 percent commission on apps that are sold through the App Store. Pepper’s complaint concludes that developers are logically passing that cost along to consumers.

Apple says its closed ecosystem isn’t a monopoly. The case has played out a bit differently in court, because instead of focusing on whether Apple’s practices are legal, the courts have instead paid more attention to whether iPhone users are allowed to sue Apple. The Supreme Court last year heard arguments on that matter.
What to do about big tech will definitely be on the agenda in 2020
Tech giants have come under increasing scrutiny in recent years. Facebook has seen a cascade of scandals related to areas such as data privacy and misinformation, and the size and reach of companies such as Google and Facebook have become a source of growing unease. A recent Axios/Harris Poll survey that asked respondents to rank the 100 most visible companies in the United States found that Facebook, Google, and Comcast all saw their brand reputations decline last year. Calls to regulate tech companies in the US have grown louder. Some 2020 candidates are picking up on the sentiment and folding reining in big tech into their campaign platforms. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has a long history of focusing on tech and antitrust issues throughout her time in Congress. She, along with Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), introduced the Honest Ads Act, which would force platforms like Facebook to disclose political ad purchasers. And she is widely viewed as a Democratic leader on antitrust. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has zeroed in on Amazon. Last year, he introduced the Stop BEZOS Act, named after Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, that would punish large corporations with low-wage employees. Amazon subsequently raised its minimum wage to $15 an hour. As the campaign continues, other candidates are likely to talk more about how they would approach the tech industry as well.



I asked Wall Street insiders whether they’d prefer Elizabeth Warren or Donald Trump. It turned out to be a hard question.
Vox

URL: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics ... -big-banks
Category: Politics
Published: February 12, 2019

Description: There was a lot of “none of the above.”

pocahontas-pinocchio.jpg

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has made no secret of her disdain for Wall Street and the ultra-wealthy. She has proposed a wealth tax as part of her 2020 platform and has for years crusaded against the big banks. President Donald Trump has been good in some significant ways for the moneyed interests in America, from his tax cuts to his deregulatory efforts. But his trade tactics have been a worrying factor for Wall Street and the wealthy. Plus, his volatility — giving America and the world Twitter whiplash and allowing the government to shut down for a month — have started to wear on markets. So whom would Wall Street prefer: Warren, the anti-corporate crusader who promises to be a steadier hand? Or Trump, a president who generally tries to keep his friends happy but is so unpredictable that his actions risk blowing up the system? “I would vote for Trump and hold my nose, and he’s worse than anything I feared,” one fund manager told me. He said in 2016 he wrote in Mitt Romney’s name and told me he believes Warren is a socialist (she’s not). “How you vote in this coming election is voting your pocketbook or the need to have a person in office who is a person of integrity. If you vote your pocketbook, clearly, you’re voting with Trump.” In recent weeks, I reached out to more than a dozen fund managers, traders, and investors to pose to them a relatively simple question: If in 2020 it comes down to Warren versus Trump, whom do you choose? Many of them preferred not to comment, but about half of the group weighed in — albeit some on the condition of anonymity. The general response: Many don’t love Trump, but they would largely pick him over Warren — or would write in someone else. It’s a sign of how deeply despised Warren is among the banking industry, even Democrats. “There are numerous people who I speak to who can’t stand Donald Trump and are eager to vote for a Democrat but who would nevertheless vote for Trump if it’s a choice between him and Warren. She is the one person who is toxic for the business community,” another fund manager and prominent Democratic donor said, though he clarified he would never vote for Trump himself. One financial services CEO told me if that were the choice, he would write in Michael Bloomberg. Former Vice President Joe Biden’s name came up in other conversations, though that would presumably mean he would be the Democratic nominee, and Warren wouldn’t be. Trump just presided over the longest government shutdown in US history, centered on his insistence on funding for a border wall that was in large part a campaign trail rhetorical tool. His public comments and interviews often show a president who is in over his head and without an understanding of many policy issues. He’s facing pressure from multiple legal threats, and many people in his inner circle are under investigation or have been indicted. Even for rich people and corporations, his tax cuts and deregulatory push have been good, but the trade war isn’t. Yet many on Wall Street would prefer him to Warren.
Why Wall Street is so scared of Warren
Warren, a two-term senator from Massachusetts and former law professor, came to national prominence largely because of her focus on financial reform and consumer protection. At Harvard Law School, she conceptualized the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, now the federal government’s top consumer watchdog, and as a lawmaker, she has made a name for herself for her aggressive stance on the financial services industry. She has, for example, zeroed in on the credit reporting firm Equifax and the chronic misbehaver Wells Fargo. During the shutdown, she pressed banks for specifics on what they were doing to help affected federal workers. As president, she would almost certainly promote a bigger corporate clampdown. In August, she unveiled the Accountable Capitalism Act, which as Vox’s Matt Yglesias explained would “redistribute trillions of dollars from rich executives and shareholders to the middle class” by requiring corporations to consider the interests of not only shareholders but also consumers, employees, and their communities when making decisions. She has also proposed a wealth tax on Americans with more than $50 million in wealth. Beyond her legislative proposals — which, depending on which party is in control of Congress, might have a hard time getting through — Warren would also be able to exert control through executive branch appointees and what is likely to be a regulatory push that moves in the opposite direction of what Trump has done. She would be able to appoint the heads of entities such as the CFPB, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Justice Department’s antitrust division, and the Treasury Department, for example. Those individuals would likely be in line with her hardline stance on financial regulation and corporate interests. “In financial regulations, personnel is policy, and the president gets to pick the people,” said Aaron Klein, a fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution and former Treasury Department aide. Those are the sorts of things that make Wall Street nervous. “Her administration would have a very antagonistic approach toward the financial services industry, and it would not be good for the economy or financial markets,” Tim Anderson, the managing director at TJM Investments, told me. A Trump supporter, he said that voting for the president in 2020 would be a “no-brainer.” Anderson also said he wasn’t buying Warren’s insistence that she is a capitalist, citing a July 2018 interview with CNBC’s John Hardwood in which she said that is the case. “She will not admit that she’s a socialist,” he said. “I think if she were to become the nominee, somebody will take that five-second sound bite and superimpose it on her plan for … the wealth tax. It’s really a wealth confiscation or wealth redistribution plan.” Warren’s campaign brushed the criticism off. “Elizabeth is serious about holding bankers personally accountable when they break the law,” Warren spokeswoman Kristen Orthman said in an emailed statement. “She wants to make big structural economic change that takes power away from corporations and gives it to workers. Of course Wall Street is afraid of her — and they are right to be.” Warren isn’t the only 2020 contender with an anti-Wall Street bent. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who has not yet declared his candidacy but whom many expect will run, is a frequent critic of the billionaire class and last year introduced a proposal that would break up some of Wall Street’s biggest firms. Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) have all sought to distance themselves from their perceived corporate ties and have said they will eschew corporate PAC money in their campaigns.
Even under Trump-induced stress, the market hasn’t broken
The stock market initially welcomed Trump’s presidency, in large part due to the promise of tax cuts and deregulation. Major US stock indexes such as the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied during Trump’s first year in the White House. But 2018 was a rockier year for stocks and wound up being the worst year for markets in a decade — some of the turmoil was related to Trump, and some of it was not. This year has started off relatively well for markets. Traders seem to have largely learned to shrug off a lot of the volatility the president brings with him with off-the-cuff tweets and whiplash decision-making, and generally believe the deregulation and reduced tax bills are worth it. And because Trump has often tethered his presidential success to the markets and the economy, there’s also a sense among some on Wall Street that Trump won’t do anything too bad to put that in jeopardy. “The people with and without money who are invested are not being scared away,” says Peter Tuchman, a trader at the New York Stock Exchange. For all of Trump’s turmoil, he put it, “the system didn’t break.” Even those I spoke with who were highly critical of Trump and seemed more open to a Democratic candidate weren’t eager to embrace the possibility of a Warren presidency. Barry Ritholtz, a commentator and chief investment officer at Ritholtz Wealth Management, said in an email that he would “much rather have a Harvard law professor than a person who has so much difficulty telling the truth respecting institutions and norms and not behaving illegally.” But on Trump versus Warren in 2020, his response was “none of the above.” Another senior Wall Street executive who describes himself as a Democrat laughed when I asked him if he would prefer Warren or Trump and, again, said neither. “If I were the image of the mercenary Wall Street trader, I’d probably say Trump, but I think he’s been so bad for markets because of his sort of unconstrained behavior,” he said. “On the other hand, with Elizabeth Warren, while I’m guessing if she were president she’d be more sensible than Trump, I think her attitude toward the entire banking and financial services industry has been really troublesome.” To be sure, that Wall Street isn’t a fan of Warren isn’t a bad thing for her campaign: She has positioned herself for years as an antagonist to big banks and corporations, and her donor base is grassroots. It also gives her a way to juxtapose herself with Trump, who promised to drain the swamp and fight against corruption and, well, hasn’t. And if Wall Street is so worried about Warren — and willing to go with Trump, despite everything, to keep her out of the White House — it could mean they think she could make some real progress in clamping down on them if elected. It could serve as another point in her favor among progressives.
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1818323
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Trumpland Is Loving Elizabeth Warren’s Plan to Break Up Silicon Valley Giants

Postby smix » Thu Mar 14, 2019 1:52 am

Trumpland Is Loving Elizabeth Warren’s Plan to Break Up Silicon Valley Giants
Daily Beast

URL: https://www.thedailybeast.com/trumpland ... ley-giants
Category: Politics
Published: March 13, 2019

Description: The senator is targeting Facebook, Google, and Amazon. And she’s attracting some strange bedfellows along the way.

trump-warren-bedfellows.jpg

One of the biggest proposals introduced to date by a Democratic presidential candidate running in the 2020 cycle has found an unexpectedly supportive audience: allies of Donald J. Trump. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) plan to break up large tech companies, which she discussed in a speech last Friday in Queens, positioned her as one of the most aggressive anti-monopolists running in a crowded Democratic field. But while the proposal was meant to serve as a benchmark for others seeking the nomination, it managed to spark a tangible amount of interest in conservative quarters, where the perception exists that the social media giants are too powerful and liberal-oriented. On Tuesday, several of those conservatives found themselves doing the previously unthinkable: claiming common ground with a senator whom President Trump routinely mocks as a fraud. “Due to their rampant censorship, these companies risk radicalizing conservatives to support policies like what Elizabeth Warren is proposing and that will continue unless they start grappling with their inherent biases and the issue of censorship,” said Andrew Surabian, Donald Trump Jr.’s political adviser, who argued that conservatives could back Warren’s proposal because of their own grievances with Silicon Valley. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), an ardent Trump ally, said he hadn’t followed the specifics of Warren’s proposal but said a similarly aggressive antitrust push from Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), the chair of a House antitrust subcommittee, could win bipartisan support. “Cicilline in the House is going to go gangbusters on big tech and I'm excited to see what he puts together in legislation,” Gaetz said. “It may get lots of bipartisan support.” Even Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) got in on the act, tweeting that Warren was “right” that tech giants have too much power while noting that Warren herself had ads on the matter removed from Facebook because of the use of the company’s corporate logo.
First time I’ve ever retweeted @ewarren But she’s right—Big Tech has way too much power to silence Free Speech. They shouldn’t be censoring Warren, or anybody else. A serious threat to our democracy.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 12, 2019

Beyond the overtures from GOP lawmakers and top Trump advisers, elements of the online right also cheered on Warren’s call to break up the tech giants. On “The Donald,” the leading pro-Trump forum on Reddit, posters praised the senator’s proposal—in part because they expected that it would alienate Democrats from wealthy Silicon Valley donors. “Watch Google and Amazons political ideologies change overnight,” predicted one post that received more than 1,000 votes in support. Warren’s goal is hardly to alienate Big Tech from the Democratic Party, though she most likely will not win plaudits in Silicon Valley for the argument that Facebook, Amazon and Google had “bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else.” The Massachusetts Democrat had two specific prescriptions for ending what she viewed as the monopoly these companies enjoyed. The first was to pass legislation that would designate a new category for large companies with an annual global revenue of $25 billion or more that “offer to the public an online marketplace, an exchange, or a platform for connecting third parties.” Warren proposes that those companies be classified as “platform utilities,” and be prohibited from both owning the platform and any of its participants. Additionally, under her plan, the utilities would have to “meet a standard of fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory dealing with users,” and they would not be allowed to share or transfer data to third parties. Warren suggested that the Amazon Marketplace, Google’s ad exchange, and Google Search would turn into platform utilities. The second aspect Warren suggested was appointing regulators to undo recent mergers like Amazon’s ownership of Whole Foods and Zappos, Facebook’s ownership of WhatsApp and Instagram and Google’s ownership of Waze, Nest and DoubleClick. “We have these giant tech companies that think they rule the earth,” Warren declared at a boisterous rally in Queens on Friday night, where Amazon had intended building half of its second headquarters before folding in the face of local and national resistance. “They think they can come to towns, cities, states and bully everyone into doing what they want.” Though Warren’s regulatory agenda has long been an object of ridicule for conservatives, many flocked to her call to break up the tech giants, which they view with increasing suspicion. In particular, conservatives have grown increasingly convinced that social media companies are engaged in a pattern of shadow and even overt censorship of their viewpoints—through algorithmic changes to user feeds and even outright bans from the platforms. Hot points have included the banning of right-wing provocateurs and a short-lived Twitter prohibition on a campaign ad from then-Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). Last year, pro-Trump commentators “Diamond & Silk” appeared at a congressional hearing to allege that Facebook was “shadow-banning” conservatives on social media to reduce their visibility. Those tensions have prompted more calls from the right for the tech giants to be broken up. In 2017, conservative columnist Kurt Schlichter called for then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to assign Justice Department attorneys to “breaking up these enormous, bloated, anti-competitive conglomerates.” And in language reminiscent of Warren’s own progressive rhetoric, National Review writer Victor Davis Hanson has called the tech founders the “new robber barons.” Sarah Miller, deputy director of the Open Markets Institute, which advocates against corporate concentration and monopoly power, said that it was not surprising to find Republicans and Democrats agreeing about the pernicious effects of tech companies becoming more and more monopolistic. “These corporations becoming more and more like private governments is just becoming more apparent to people on both sides of the aisle who are in democratically elected government,” Miller told The Daily Beast, adding that part of their advocacy is centered on pushing the Federal Trade Commission to take more action. With a growing conservative appetite for a proposal now being championed by a leading Democratic presidential candidate, President Trump could find himself in an odd position: forced to tiptoe around a signature policy of a lawmaker at which he’s directed racist attacks. On Monday, that tiptoeing began. In an interview with Breitbart, the president called Warren’s proposal “funny” because of tech leaders’ traditional support for Democrats. “Isn’t it funny? Elizabeth Warren called for their total breakup,” he said. “I do smile, though, they’re so protective of her.”
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1818323
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Elizabeth Warren's fairy tale about Big Bad Tech

Postby smix » Thu Mar 14, 2019 2:20 pm

Elizabeth Warren's fairy tale about Big Bad Tech
The Week

URL: https://theweek.com/articles/828707/eli ... g-bad-tech
Category: Politics
Published: March 14, 2019

Description: As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump offered a series of ridiculous tax plans. Although the proposals utterly failed as serious policy, they succeeded in signaling to skeptical conservatives that Trump was really one of them. Or at least that he would probably act like one of them as president. Now no Democrat doubts Elizabeth Warren is a true blue progressive. But her fantastical plan to break up Big Tech — like, all of it — is also far more signal than substance. It suggests to potential presidential primary voters that Warren is an imaginative thinker who has identified a critical threat to America's economy and democracy and is proposing a bold response.

warren-and-how.jpg

And just as President Trump eventually achieved a watered-down version of his tax cuts, a President Warren — or some other Democrat having jumped on the "break ‘em up" bandwagon — might well start the U.S. down the path of dismantling its tech titans: Alphabet-Google, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook. Consider growing Republican hostility to Silicon Valley, there might even be bipartisan support for such an idea. Yet even a more modest version of the Warren plan would risk hobbling America's most innovative sector and key competitive advantage in the global economy. Trumponomics is built on economic myth — the U.S. is overtaxed and free trade has impoverished the middle class — so, too, Warren's anti-trust activism is based on a misreading of history and economics. She argues that it was Washington's trust-busting effort in the 1990s against Microsoft that helped give birth to Google and Facebook. "The government's antitrust case against Microsoft helped clear a path for internet companies like Google and Facebook to emerge," she writes in a Medium blog post explaining her plan. And then, she adds, it was a lack of trust-busting in the 2000s that allowed those companies, as well as Amazon and Apple, to grow to gargantuan size. These are dubious claims, at best. Microsoft didn't miss the mobile revolution because it was distracted by the Clinton administration's decision to sue the company over unfair dealings with Netscape, a case ultimately settled by the George W. Bush administration. It's much more likely that Microsoft fell into a trap that often ensnares large, dominant firms: It simply couldn't adjust to a business paradigm shift where its model — desktop PCs running Windows — was no longer the center of the universe. Moreover, Big Tech didn't get big because of nefarious business practices. Or as Warren puts it, "They've bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else." Alternate explanation: They have created superior and innovative products and services that consumers love. Indeed, a much-cited study by economist David Autor finds that industries, like tech, that have become more concentrated are exactly those that have been increasing their innovation most rapidly. This is hardly surprising. Big Tech firms are the biggest corporate spenders on R&D, more the behavior of paranoid competitors than satisfied monopolists. There's no sign that Warren has considered how her plan would affect all that investment spending. Nor has she considered how these companies will continue to deliver free services if government regulation undermines the current ad-driven business model. Everything would change, she promises, but all only for the better for consumers. That really gets to the heart of why Warren's plan is so flawed: A lack of imagination. The internet isn't over. It isn't time to turn these firms into "platform utilities" under a heavy government thumb. Amazon owns just 5 percent of the retail market. Facebook has lost 15 million users since 2017 and is trying to shift its entire business strategy. Apple wonders how to adapt to a post-iPhone world. Google faces a future where voice search may be dominant, and other Big Techies are aggressively competing. History is littered with supposedly unassailable tech firms that are now industry afterthoughts: Yahoo, MySpace, Nokia. Technologies will evolve. So might business models. Government should be careful when injecting itself into that process. Warren and other antitrust enthusiasts should take a look at a new tech competition report commissioned by the British government and coauthored by Obama White House economist Jason Furman. It concedes that the "tipping effects" of digital markets often means one winner takes most, a process that has benefits as well as costs. It also points out that "policy change and enforcement can be slow and unpredictable, which is even more costly than normal in rapidly evolving technology markets." Rather than advocating for making companies divest themselves of past purchases, such as Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp, the report favors more caution toward future M&A and other measures that may boost competition, such as allowing consumers to move their data from one social media site to another. Admittedly, such ideas won't rev up a crowd in Iowa or New Hampshire, but they do show seriousness in a deeply unserious time.
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1818323
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Don’t Break Up Big Tech

Postby smix » Sun Mar 17, 2019 12:14 am

Don’t Break Up Big Tech
Politico

URL: https://www.politico.com/magazine/story ... ech-225808
Category: Politics
Published: March 13, 2019

Description: The worst ideas in Washington are often bipartisan. Big Tech is about to learn this lesson, if it hasn’t already. Elizabeth Warren is out with a headline-grabbing proposal to break up Big Tech companies, the sort of overly ambitious government plan that once would have engendered knee-jerk Republican opposition. Not anymore. Who says we all can’t get along? When the senator tweeted her (understandable) objection that Facebook had taken down her ads attacking Facebook and other tech companies, Ted Cruz — in a retweet heard around the world — agreed that the companies have too much power.

warren-glass-teepee.jpg

Tech is caught in a right-left pincer, made all the more powerful by the populist spirit afoot in both parties. Conservatives don’t like these companies because they are owned and operated by sanctimonious Silicon Valley liberals subject to the worst sort of groupthink. Progressives don’t like them because they are colossal profit-making enterprises. That’s why there is some chance Washington might get together, and along the lines Warren proposes, effectively outlaw the business models of some of the most successful and iconic American companies. It’s the most compelling evidence yet that, yes, we are losing our minds. Warren’s idea to cleave off the platforms of the tech companies and have them run as “platform utilities” separate from the rest of their business is unworkable and is justified by a series of errors and misjudgments. It’s not true, as Warren asserts, that the antitrust suit against Microsoft in the 1990s opened up the space for Google and Facebook to thrive. Microsoft never got the internet, and left the space open for Google and Facebook all by itself, as often happens with a large incumbent wedded to its successful business model (in Microsoft’s case, based on physical computers). She charges that the tech companies use mergers to limit competition and cites as an example Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp. It’s hard to discern the harm here. When the social network bought it, WhatsApp was available for a fee. Now it’s free and more people use it than ever before. What’s the problem? She calls out Google for allegedly killing off its competitors by burying them in its searches. It’s not obvious that Google actually does this, although its search business inherently involves constantly making choices to try to best serve what people want to see. No government regulator is going to make Google’s searches better, or is qualified to even try. Warren’s proposal is obviously formulated without taking any account of the interests of users and consumers, who are the ones who made the tech companies so large in the first place. Why does Google provide a tool without which it’s impossible to imagine contemporary life — and has opened up vast vistas of readily available information — for free? Because it can monetize it with advertising. Without the advertising revenue, which Warren insists should be a separate business, Google has no incentive to devote engineers to constantly improving its search engine. By the same token, it’s not going to help anyone to have iPhones that no longer come with or sell Apple apps. And would people really appreciate having to go to two different Amazons, one just a platform, one selling Amazon products? This is all silly, as are the mergers that Warren pledges to break up, including Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods. Under what theory is something untoward? Amazon doesn’t have anything close to a monopoly in food retail. Rather than taking over the sector, it’s spurring investment and innovation. The nation’s largest supermarket chain, Kroger was founded in 1883. It was slated to increase its spending on investment 200 percent in 2018, developing a self-checkout app and robot delivery, precisely because the space is so competitive. We’ve seen the same effect in retail. Falling behind Amazon, Target invested massively on improving across the board, and in one quarter in 2018, had its best sales growth in more than a decade. This past holiday season it sought to one-up Amazon by offering free two-day shipping. This is the market working, not getting short-circuited. The tech giants aren’t stand-pat companies. The top five spenders in research and development in 2017 were all tech companies. Amazon alone spent more than $22 billion. The development of autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence and voice recognition wouldn’t be nearly as advanced as they are now if it weren’t for the work of Google and Amazon. The behemoth of yesteryear, General Electric, isn’t making these investments. None of this is to deny that there are genuine concerns about tech companies. They need rules for content that honor viewpoint-neutrality and the spirit of the First Amendment, and perhaps there should be tighter regulations around privacy. Their business practices aren’t above scrutiny. But any real offenses should be addressed with fixes addressing specific conduct, rather than with a massive politically imposed reorganization across the industry. That’s a very bad idea, and if you had any doubt, watch it win plaudits from both sides in Washington.



Warren took tech's money while ripping its biggest players
Politico

URL: https://www.politico.com/story/2019/03/ ... ns-1216417
Category: Politics
Published: March 12, 2019

Description: The presidential candidate took at least $90,000 from employees of Amazon, Google and Facebook between 2011 and 2018.

warren-dough-boy.jpg

While Sen. Elizabeth Warren was railing against big tech companies, she was taking their money — plenty of it. The Massachusetts Democrat, who is powering her presidential campaign with a bold proposal to break up the likes of Amazon, Google and Facebook, in September accepted a $2,700 contribution from Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer. But Sandberg, whose donation went unnoticed at the time, was just the biggest name from Silicon Valley to give to the senator: Warren took at least $90,000 from employees of Amazon, Google and Facebook alone between 2011 and 2018. The figure includes only donors who gave at least $200 over either of her two Senate campaigns; and just those who listed their employer. Warren is carrying over millions of dollars she raised for the Senate in the last cycle to her 2020 presidential run. While the donations flowed to Warren’s committee, she was accusing Google, Amazon as well as Apple of using their powerful platforms to “lock out smaller guys and newer guys," including direct competitors. She’s also criticized the huge sums Silicon Valley firms spend on federal lobbying and taken on Amazon and others over their treatment of workers. Now, Warren has put the trust-busting message front and center in her presidential campaign. In a blog post last week, which she repeatedly referred to at the tech industry conference South by South last weekend in Austin, Texas, Warren called for unwinding Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram; Amazon’s consumption of Whole Foods and Zappos; and Google’s takeovers of Waze, Nest and DoubleClick. Warren later confirmed that her plan would apply to Apple, the biggest player in tech and one of the world’s biggest companies. "Either they run the platform or they play in the store," she said over the weekend. "They don't get to do both at the same time." At the same time, Warren hasn’t weaned herself off of tech employee money — or their services. Warren’s campaign, for example, continues to buy ads through Facebook, and her books are still on Amazon. Her reliance on the massive companies underscore tech’s pervasiveness in politics and society at large, but also politicians’ unwillingness to separate themselves from its legion of employees who give money. In 2016, one of Warren’s current presidential competitors, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), received $361,000 from employees of Google’s parent company, Alphabet; $170,000 from employees of Microsoft; $132,000 from Apple employees; and $106,000 from Amazon employees. Sanders, who has targeted much of his energy at Amazon's labor practices rather than antitrust, had no comment through his Senate office on Warren’s plan. Others, like Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who has also taken money from tech executives, oppose Warren's breakup plan before seeing results of an investigation to determine if such steps are needed. Asked Monday, the Warren campaign, which has sworn off traditional big donor fundraisers and phone calls, would not say whether she will decline donations from tech employees going forward. "She doesn’t take PAC money and federal lobbyist money. She isn't holding high-dollar fundraisers where people can buy access. She's not auditioning for billionaires to start super PACs. And she is proposing breaking up some of the biggest tech companies in the country," Warren spokeswoman Kristen Orthman told POLITICO. "Clearly, she's not influenced by their money." In a Sunday interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Warren herself refused to say if she bars tech executives or employees from giving to her. “Look, nobody has been beating down the door,” Warren said. “But let me be clear, I’m not in Washington to work for billionaires. I’m in Washington to help level the playing field so that everybody gets a chance to get out there and compete.” Warren added she’s been told by young tech entrepreneurs in Austin that they merely want a chance to get in the game. Representatives for Amazon, Facebook and Google declined comment on their employee donations to Warren. Warren's critics in tech see her argument as flawed, saying there has to be some harm to consumers in order justify antitrust action. “There’s lots of rhetoric,” one Silicon Valley leader told POLITICO on Monday, “but where’s the harm and injury?”



Warren calls for new tax on corporations
Politico

URL: https://www.politico.com/story/2019/04/ ... ns-1343428
Category: Politics
Published: April 11, 2019

Description: Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren Thursday called for a big tax increase on large corporations. The Massachusetts senator unveiled a plan to impose a 7 percent surcharge on corporations making more than $100 million, the second major tax proposal of her campaign. The tax is larger than it may appear because Warren would apply it to an altogether new tax base: She would impose it on the earnings that publicly traded companies report to investors. That is based on a different set of accounting rules than when firms do their taxes. Warren said it will end the ability of companies to report profits to Wall Street while simultaneously telling the IRS they have no taxable income. “It will make our biggest and most profitable companies pay more and ensure that none of them can ever make billions and pay zero taxes again,” she said. She predicted it would raise at least $1 trillion over a decade, which would increase projected corporate tax receipts by about 30 percent. It would amount to not only rescinding much of Republicans’ recent corporate tax cut but would likely leave some companies paying more than they did before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The proposal comes as Warren has established herself as the policy maven of the Democratic presidential primary. She’s previously called for a new wealth tax on the rich. Warren is at least the second Democratic candidate to call for hiking taxes on corporations, with Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota proposing to raise the corporate levy to 25 percent, from the current 21 percent. Warren did not say what she would do with the money raised. She earmarked some of the $2.75 trillion her wealth tax is predicted to raise to pay for a universal child care program. Warren said she didn’t want to simply raise the corporate rate because “our corporate tax code is so littered with loopholes that simply raising the regular corporate tax rate alone is not enough.” She estimates about 1,200 publicly traded companies would be liable for the tax. It would also apply to private corporations, though not pass-through businesses, whose profits are recorded on the owners' individual tax forms and which include many small businesses. It would be complicated for companies because they would still have to pay the 21 percent corporate tax rate under current tax rules, and then pay the surcharge using a different accounting method. Companies use different accounting rules when they report earnings to Wall Street than when they do their taxes. The differences are arcane, mostly having to do with how foreign income and accelerated depreciation of property and equipment are treated. Depreciation reduces companies’ profits for tax purposes but it does not cut the earnings they report to investors. For example: If a company earns $10 but can deduct $9 for depreciation, its taxable income would be $1 but the firm would tell investors it made $10. The tax would apply to businesses' worldwide income, and firms would not get the benefit of credits against taxes they paid abroad, which means they could also face double taxation on their overseas earnings.
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1818323
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Four Reasons Why Senator Warren’s Public Utility Proposal Will Backfire

Postby smix » Sun Mar 17, 2019 2:23 am

Four Reasons Why Senator Warren’s Public Utility Proposal Will Backfire
American Action Forum

URL: https://www.americanactionforum.org/ins ... -backfire/
Category: Politics
Published: March 12, 2019

Description: Senator Elizabeth Warren recently offered a new proposal to break up tech companies, which she is calling platform utility regulation. If put in place, companies that have annual global revenue of $25 billion or higher and that provide an online marketplace, an exchange, or a platform would be broken up, while all platforms, regardless of size, would be subject to a new series of regulations.

warren-gets-an-idea.jpg

Here are four reasons why the proposal will backfire.
Reason One: The Proposal Won’t Induce Competition, But Chaos
Under Warren’s proposal, the companies would be prohibited from owning both “the platform utility and any participants on that platform.” Apple and Google would be prohibited from preloading apps on their mobile operating systems. In its strictest form, this rule would mean a structural separation between the advertising side of the platform and the users. Without both sides of the market, there is no business model. As Michael Moritz, a major investor in Google, said of those early years before the ad side was combined with users, “We really couldn’t figure out the business model. There was a period where things were looking pretty bleak.” Because these businesses depend on the combination of the two sides, any action meant to break them up would be a death knell. Moreover, all platforms would be required to engage in “fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory dealing with users,” swinging open the door to regulation. Because these terms are hard to define, an agency would need to be given wide latitude, much like the amorphous public-interest standard at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). As former FCC Commissioner Glen Robinson explained, this standard “is vague to the point of vacuousness, providing neither guidance nor constraint on the agency’s action.” Something similar would be expected for platform regulation under this proposal.
Reason Two: The History of Breakups Isn’t Pretty
Warren argues that her separation proposal and regulations “would restore competition to the tech sector,” like the United States accomplished in an earlier era of trust busting. But the American Action Forum (AAF) previously tackled this history and came to the opposite conclusion, as have other researchers. The goals of lower consumer prices, more innovation, and higher output don’t often happen in the wake of breakups. It is also a simplification to claim that “in the Gilded Age, waves of mergers led to the creation of some of the biggest companies in American history — from Standard Oil and JPMorgan to the railroads and AT&T.” Standard Oil was formed in wake of the first antitrust law, the Sherman Act, which caused a merger wave. Yet, the discovery of the Spindletop oil field in Texas is generally credited with toppling the Standard Oil empire. JPMorgan, while often derided, has never been broken up, making it a confusing example. Finally, AT&T got a government-granted monopoly in the Kingsbury Commitment in 1913 that was later pulled apart by the Department of Justice in the 1980s. If we are to look at the past for guidance, we should recognize just how lackluster the results were when companies were broken up.
Reason Three: The Decline in Entrepreneurism Has Many Causes
Warren blames large platforms for a decline in entrepreneurism, but there are long-term forces at work. For one, a decline in startups was predicted by Nobel winning economist Robert Lucas back in 1978, who first modeled the inverse relationship between productivity and entrepreneurship rates. The model has been adapted extensively, and is supported by research between countries, and historical work in the United States, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, and Thailand, all finding this inverse relationship. Indeed, productivity goes a long way to explain the shifts in entrepreneurship rates. Nicholas Kozeniauskas, a recently minted economist at New York University, found that the decline in entrepreneurship has been more pronounced for industries with higher education levels, such as tech. Overall, “an increase in fixed costs explains most of the decline in the aggregate entrepreneurship rate.” Yet Warren’s policy, by making economies of scale more difficult, would raise fixed costs—undercutting this idea’s policy goals.
Reason Four: All Combined, The Changes Would Be Radical
Finally, Warren argues that nothing will substantively change: “You’ll still be able to go on Google and search like you do today. You’ll still be able to go on Amazon and find 30 different coffee machines that you can get delivered to your house in two days. You’ll still be able to go on Facebook and see how your old friend from school is doing.” But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Breaking up tech companies would be a difficult and technically messy process, as AAF has explained. There wouldn’t be more competition or better options for consumers, but the destruction of viable and important businesses. Government agencies would also have to be involved and companies would begin to second guess their decisions. In all, subjecting platforms to utility regulation might seem like a modest proposal, but the idea is actually quite radical.
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1818323
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Elizabeth Warren's Plan to Break Up Big Tech Would Be Bad for America

Postby smix » Mon Mar 18, 2019 3:41 pm

Elizabeth Warren's Plan to Break Up Big Tech Would Be Bad for America
Reason

URL: https://reason.com/archives/2019/03/15/ ... k-up-big-t
Category: Politics
Published: March 15, 2019

Description: Presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren has a new plan to break up big tech companies. The proposal entails appointing a bunch of regulators to undo mergers that her administration would deem anti-competitive. Warren's plan would classify any company that runs a marketplace and makes more than $25 billion a year as a "platform utility" and prohibit them from selling their own products.

warren-pretendian.jpg

Considering the prevalent knee-jerk loathing of big tech and capitalism in general, it's likely to be a popular idea. Many conservatives, angered at social media platforms, will also find the notion of breaking up these companies agreeable. But there are number of good economic and idealistic reasons to oppose Warren's plan. For starters, Warren's plan wouldn't only strip the incentive for big companies to invest in growth and innovation; it would inhibit small-business innovation, as well. It's true that big tech frequently swallows enterprises to eliminate competition. Yet many times smaller tech firms don't have access to capital that allows them to bring big ideas to fruition, or they simply can't take the risk. Big corporations can do both. Does anyone believe a gaggle of technocratic political appointees are going to do a better job of allocating investments? "Twenty-five years ago," Warren writes, "Facebook, Google, and Amazon didn't exist. Now they are among the most valuable and well-known companies in the world. It's a great story—but also one that highlights why the government must break up monopolies and promote competitive markets." The fact that Facebook, Google, and Amazon didn't even exist 25 years ago tells us the exact opposite. It highlights how quickly innovative ideas can transform the marketplace in an era of relative deregulation. I'd tell you to ask the executives at Woolworth's or Blockbuster—and soon AOL, MySpace, and Sears—but there aren't any. Apple or Amazon were early adapters of the market's new realities. Now, some of their businesses are forced to compete with other giants like Walmart or Samsung. This has been beneficial for consumers. Now, if Twitter and Facebook want to stay on top, they probably should stop antagonizing half of their marketplace. Then again, in 25 years, it's quite likely that a bunch of new platforms will overtake both, no matter what they do. That hasn't stopped Warren from acting as if tech companies like Google are the new Standard Oil. "I want a government that makes sure everybody—even the biggest and most powerful companies in America—plays by the rules," Warren claims. This misleading turn of phrase has become standard on the left, which often acts as if companies are breaking the law or using "loopholes" when they fail to adhere to the imaginary regulations. Tech companies aren't breaking any rules by ignoring Warren's fictitious strictures. We already have a place to adjudicate the usefulness of mergers, and it's called the Justice Department. They already do a terrible job without any more help. And if the DOJ is susceptible to partisan pressure—Democrats are now arguing that Trump ordered it to block the Time Warner/AT&T merger—surely a second regulatory body based on capricious progressive concepts of the common good would likewise be ripe for abuse. A number of voters, regrettably, seem to believe that increasing regulatory oversight helps alleviate the destructive relationship between government and business. Yet, by giving politically motivated regulators expansive powers to dictate how and when companies can grow, Warren would not only imbue government with more power to pick winners and losers, she would further incentivize CEOs to placate government officials and politicians rather than do what's best for their companies and consumers. It would be a lot more productive if we left markets to compete and instead broke up government power. "Curious why I think FB has too much power?" Warren recently asked on Twitter after Facebook took down some of her ads. "Let's start with their ability to shut down a debate over whether FB has too much power. Thanks for restoring my posts. But I want a social media marketplace that isn't dominated by a single censor." A person doesn't need to be exceptionally perceptive to notice that Warren's grievance regarding a "single censor" shutting down debate on social media is weakened by the fact that she went to a competing social media platform to perpetuate the debate. Nor did it take much work to find out that virtually every major news site had thoroughly covered her plan to break up Big Tech. Her own tweet debunks the notion that a sole social media site can dominate news coverage or a national debate. Taking Instagram away from Facebook would do nothing to induce the social media giant to embrace truly open debate. However, forcing a private entity to run ads that call for its own destruction is an unambiguous attack on free expression. In the end, Facebook contends that they removed Warren's ads because they violated company rules against use of its corporate logo. "In the interest of allowing robust debate, we are restoring the ads," the company explained. That makes the tech giant a far more robust space for free expression than your average news channel. And as sure as state intervention into TV news "fairness" would backfire so, too, will opening the door to big tech intervention.
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1818323
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Elizabeth Warren’s Tech Assault Propels Fringe Antitrust View to Spotlight

Postby smix » Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:49 pm

Elizabeth Warren’s Tech Assault Propels Fringe Antitrust View to Spotlight
Bloomberg News

URL: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... -spotlight
Category: Politics
Published: March 14, 2019

Description: Democratic 2020 contender Elizabeth Warren’s call to break up big tech companies like Facebook Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. thrust into the mainstream an emerging movement that favors an aggressive attack on corporate power. Warren’s proposal last week to classify some technology giants as utilities and undo previous industry mergers jolted Silicon Valley. It also hit a nerve among Democrats and Republicans in Congress, who’ve grown increasingly concerned that curbs on anticompetitive conduct are poorly enforced. That all but ensures that restraining the power of dominant companies will be a focus of the 2020 campaign as Democrats seek to unseat President Donald Trump. Later this month, presidential candidates Amy Klobuchar and Julian Castro are set to appear at an Iowa event along with Warren to discuss monopoly power in rural communities. Still, Warren’s prescription for targeting big tech is not without political and legal risks. Breaking up a company would entail years of litigation and could alienate some voters who enjoy its services. And even advocates of reining in big companies aren’t necessarily on board. "Elizabeth Warren’s proposal is very radical because it’s front-running the intellectual debate rather than codifying what the intellectual debate has produced," said Luigi Zingales, director of the Stigler Center at the University of Chicago. "The people who think there is a problem are probably in the minority, even in the academic world."

warren-indian-thing.jpg

Rethinking Enforcement
Warren’s broadside is part of a wider rethinking of antitrust enforcement in the U.S. that until now has has been mostly relegated to legal conferences and academic papers. At its heart is the view that antitrust officials have fallen down on the job, leaving broad swaths of the economy dominated by large firms insulated from competition. Plenty of lawyers and economists dispute there’s a problem, but its proponents have pushed the break-em-up idea to center stage in the antitrust circles of Washington and academia. There’s a split on how to deal with the issue. One view, advanced by Barry Lynn’s Open Markets Institute in Washington, calls for throwing out the current playbook and reorienting antitrust enforcement away from its emphasis on consumer prices. Lynn advocates for reining in the ability of big platforms to squeeze sellers. One way to do that -- which Warren embraces -- is prohibiting tech platforms from moving into different lines of business where they can abuse their power as middlemen.
Balanced Approach
Another camp supports stepped-up enforcement under the existing framework based on consumers. That’s a balanced approach that was articulated at a conference last week in Washington that featured former Justice Department and FTC officials. It’s an approach Warren would reject, said William Kovacic, a former FTC commissioner who is now a professor at George Washington University Law School. "She’d say, ‘it’s nice and it’s cute, but you guys don’t have the guts or the vision to see what has to be done and I do and everything that went on in here is a timid response to a serious problem, and the house is burning down and you still want to water the bushes in the back yard,’” Kovacic said. Warren’s not alone in favoring a more aggressive approach. Joe Simons, the head of the Federal Trade Commission, has acknowledged the possibility enforcers may have fallen short. He set up a task force last month to investigate tech companies and possibly unwind past mergers. The chairman of the House’s antitrust panel, Democratic Congressman David Cicilline said earlier this year that when it comes to tech companies, "every option is on the table."
Existential Threat
Talk like that would have been dismissed as fanciful just a couple of years ago when Silicon Valley was the darling of the Obama administration. Now it’s grappling with what increasingly seems to be an existential threat. And it’s coming not just from liberal Democrats like Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders. Even Republicans are on the attack. Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri told the Conservative Political Action Conference this month that Facebook and Google are "a law unto themselves" and are threatening competition. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas even retweeted Warren, saying she was right to criticize Facebook for having too much power. Warren has called for legislation that would treat large tech companies like Amazon as utilities and ban them from owning participants on the platform. Under that scenario, Amazon’s marketplace, for example, would be split from its AmazonBasics business. Google search would be spun off from the rest of the company. Warren also said she’d seek to undo past mergers that she said undermined competition, including Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram and Google’s purchase of DoubleClick.
Breaking Up
Preventing tech platforms from moving into other lines of business -- also called vertical integration -- is an idea backed by Lina Khan, an antitrust scholar who wrote an influential paper on Amazon’s threat to competition. Khan, who was recently hired to work for the House antitrust subcommittee, lauded Warren’s proposal. She argues that separation addresses the risk that technology platforms like Amazon and Google will discriminate against companies that depend on them. Breaking up companies is practically unheard of today in antitrust enforcement. The last example occurred in 1982 when AT&T reached a settlement with the Justice Department to give up its local phone companies. Nearly 20 years later in the U.S. antitrust case against Microsoft Corp., a federal judge ordered the company split up, a decision later reversed on appeal. Warren, like many others, credited the Microsoft case for paving the way for Google’s success.
Policing Platforms
Since then, U.S. enforcers don’t have much to show when it comes to policing tech platforms, while European officials have brought antitrust cases against Google and Facebook. The FTC and Justice Department are frequently criticized for approving mergers that allowed Facebook and Google to strengthen their dominance. In 2013, the FTC under President Barack Obama closed an investigation into whether Google violated antitrust laws by skewing search results. Some experts are still mystified by that decision. "Why didn’t you pull the trigger? You had the shot," Kovacic said. "That’s what they have not answered for us." Bringing a case today to force a breakup of a tech company (let alone three of them) would require years of litigation and face a skeptical judiciary, according to Kovacic. Last year, the Supreme Court ruled against a group of states and the U.S. in an antitrust case against American Express Co. that some saw as hobbling enforcement against tech platforms.
Political Risk
And there’s a risk Warren’s proposal will alienate some voters, given that people understand the benefits the companies provide, said Daniel Crane, a professor at the University of Michigan Law School. While her vision will find support among liberal Democrats, Crane said, it also resonates in some quarters on the right. Former Trump adviser Stephen Bannon reportedly supports regulating Google and Facebook like utilities. "The question is how deep will the political support be for the kind of very aggressive change in direction that Liz Warren is pushing," said Crane. "Will she ultimately get traction and will it turn into votes? I’m a little skeptical that’s going to happen for her."
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1818323
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Big Tech is not the enemy, Sen. Warren

Postby smix » Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:14 pm

Big Tech is not the enemy, Sen. Warren
The Hill

URL: https://thehill.com/opinion/finance/434 ... shes-wrong
Category: Business
Published: March 20, 2019

Description: Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) call to break up Google, Amazon, Facebook and Amazon is puzzling. These companies have grown big because they’ve been successful for workers, consumers and the American economy. They’ve added jobs, driven down prices and invested tens of billions of dollars in the U.S. economy. Productivity in the digital sector has grown by almost 60 percent since 2007, compared to only 5 percent in the rest of the non-health private sector. What’s more, these companies are helping the U.S. maintain its global and economic leadership against fast-growing competitors in countries like China. These factors don’t exempt the platform companies from close scrutiny to make sure that they are not stifling competition or harming consumers.

warren-chances.jpg

But breaking them up would be a mistake, for three reasons. First, the tech platforms have been good for workers. The four companies have added in excess of 800,000 jobs since 2007, almost totally by organic growth. Moreover, these companies pay good wages to workers both with and without college degrees. For example, Amazon’s minimum wage of $15 per hour is far in excess of the $11 hourly median wage for retail sales workers in the U.S. Second, the trouble spots for U.S. consumers are physical sectors like food and health care, not the tech sector. Our analysis shows that prices in the tech/telecom/e-commerce sector have fallen by almost 15 percent since 2007. By contrast, prices in the rest of the private sector, even leaving out health care, have risen by 21 percent. Particularly troubling is the price of food, which represents 13 percent of household budgets, and more for poor Americans. Since 2000, the price of food relative to other goods and services has been rising, breaking a 50-year trend of food getting cheaper. This relative price increase for food — in large part due to consolidation and weak productivity growth in the food processing industry — is hurting poor Americans much more than anything the tech platforms might be doing. Indeed, it’s one of the biggest reasons why real incomes have stagnated. Finally, the tech platforms are relatively small compared to the global economy, which is the appropriate measuring stick. Their 2018 revenues total only 0.8 percent of global GDP. By contrast, the top four companies on the Fortune Global 500 list — Walmart plus three Chinese giants — have revenues equal to 1.7 percent of global GDP. To put these numbers into historical perspective, the top four U.S. industrial companies in 1969 — GM, Ford, GE and IBM — had revenues equal to 2 percent of the global economy. These industrial giants were far bigger, in relative terms, than the tech giants are today, yet they are remembered fondly as pillars of the American economy. Moreover, there’s no sign that the tech platforms are suppressing small business. Newly released Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that new establishments are being created at the fastest rate in a decade, led by the information sector. Sen. Warren is drawing the wrong lessons from the growth of the tech platforms. If she really cared about the future of American workers and the American economy, she would laud the success of the digital sector in generating U.S. jobs and incomes. Indeed, as a recent PPI poll makes clear, most Americans quite rightfully have a favorable view of the big tech companies and oppose breaking them up. Next, we advocate that Sen. Warren should concentrate on policies to help digitize lagging sectors, such as manufacturing, as we have suggested. That would create a network of local manufacturing operations around the country, using technologies such as 3D printing to bring back production from overseas. Instead, Sen. Warren is proposing policies that would weaken the global competitiveness of the U.S. economy. Sen. Warren’s call to break up America’s tech leaders will no doubt go down well with Chinese and Europe leaders, who would prefer to face enfeebled U.S. tech giants. But these companies symbolize American creativity, entrepreneurial prowess, and job creation. Those are qualities that progressives should be supporting, not trying to tear down.



Koch group launches ads against Warren plan to break up tech giants
The Hill

URL: https://thehill.com/policy/technology/4 ... p-big-tech
Category: Business
Published: March 29, 2019

Description: A group backed by GOP mega-donor Charles Koch is launching an ad blitz pushing lawmakers to reject Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) proposal to break up tech giants. Americans for Prosperity (AFP), a Koch-funded free market group, is running ads in Washington, D.C., and in the home states of lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee against Warren’s proposal. “Don’t politicize antitrust laws,” the ads will urge lawmakers. “If we use antitrust law to punish successful competitors, we eliminate incentives for innovation,” Billy Easley, a senior tech policy analyst at AFP, said in a statement Friday. “Government should not be empowered to pick winners and losers in the marketplace and there is a reason we have regulatory enforcement agencies like the Federal Trade Commission to prevent the politicization of this process," he added. "Our ads are reminding lawmakers on both sides of the aisle that antitrust law exists to protect consumers, not to be used as a political weapon.” The ads, according to a release on the group’s site, will also include a link to a site where the public can send messages to members of the Judiciary Committee expressing their disapproval of Warren’s plan. The ads were first reported by Politico. Earlier this month, Warren, a 2020 presidential contender, unveiled her proposal calling for companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon to be broken up to prevent the firms from competing on the platforms that they host. The plan would involve legislation that prohibits that conduct and appointing regulators who would go after Silicon Valley giants. “Oh look—the Koch brothers don’t like my ideas,” Warren said in a tweet on Thursday. “Apparently they're horrified about any effort to try and rein in the economic and political power of giant corporations. I'm shocked.”



Ocasio-Cortez backs Warren's plan to break up big tech
The Hill

URL: https://thehill.com/policy/technology/4 ... p-big-tech
Category: Politics
Published: May 3, 2019

Description: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is backing 2020 presidential contender Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) plan to break up big tech companies. “The idea itself is something that I am supportive of because taking an antitrust approach I believe is absolutely relevant and it’s appropriate to take,” the progressive House freshman said in an interview with Politico this week. Warren’s proposal would break up companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon, targeting firms that both own an online platform and participate in its marketplace. Ocasio-Cortez echoed criticisms of such arrangements, arguing that in the case of Amazon, its role as “both the marketplace, producer, seller … creates an antitrust issue.” The New York Democrat was an outspoken critic of Amazon’s plans to open a headquarters near her district in Queens, N.Y.

aoc-snowflake.jpg

And last month, she announced she had quit Facebook and called social media a “public health risk.” This week, she leveled criticism at the social network’s business model. “Facebook as a basic communications platform while also selling ads and also being a surveillance platform, I think those functions should be broken up, but how that gets levied and how that gets approached is what we need to take a fine-tooth comb at,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1818323
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Government Shouldn’t Pick Winners and Losers on the Internet

Postby smix » Sat Mar 30, 2019 4:11 pm

Government Shouldn’t Pick Winners and Losers on the Internet
Americans for Prosperity

URL: https://americansforprosperity.ivolunte ... Internet-2
Category: Politics
Published: March 2019

Description: Don’t Break Up Tech Companies

dont-politicize-antitrust-laws.jpg

Sen. Elizabeth Warren recently said she would use federal antitrust laws to break up America’s innovative tech companies. This is a terrible idea that threatens the internet as we know it. Antitrust laws serve a purpose – they should be used to address instances of collusion, price fixing, and other anti-competitive practices that harm consumers. These laws should not be weaponized by politicians and cronies to target companies that became successful through innovation and offering a service the American people want. Doing so would harm tech companies of all sizes, including start-ups, as well as consumers. Government should not pick winners and losers in the tech industry, or any other industry. Sign here to tell the Senate Judiciary Committee to not politicize antitrust laws.

SIGN THE LETTER
Dear Judiciary Committee Members,:

I’m writing you today, urging you to oppose any effort to use antitrust laws to break up America’s innovative tech companies.

Technology improves the lives of everyday Americans like myself. Using antitrust laws, one of the most powerful tools available to the government, to break up the companies that provide these services would lower our quality of life, and would threaten the innovative nature of the internet.

These laws should be used to protect Americans against instances of collusion, price fixing, and other anti-competitive behavior. They should not be weaponized to support a politicians’ agenda. Doing so would harm tech companies of all sizes, including start-ups, as well as consumers.

Please oppose politicizing antitrust enforcement and ensure that the government remains focused on what is best for consumers.

Sincerely,
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1818323
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Americans don't support Sen. Elizabeth Warren's plan to break up big tech: Poll

Postby smix » Sun Apr 07, 2019 8:23 pm

Americans don't support Sen. Elizabeth Warren's plan to break up big tech: Poll
CNBC

URL: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/04/04/elizabe ... -poll.html
Category: Politics
Published: April 5, 2019

Description: Americans have offered their initial judgment of Sen. Elizabeth Warren's plan to break up large technology companies: They don't support it. By 50% to 47%, the NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll shows, Americans disagree that the likes of Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google should be split into smaller competing companies because they have too much influence on American life. By a more emphatic 68% to 28%, respondents said such decisions should be left to the free market rather than government. Warren, the Massachusetts senator seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, has emphasized her commitment to challenging corporate power. Her proposal aims to break up tech giants with global revenue of at least $25 billion, with the goal of helping consumers and small businesses by improving competition and preventing abuses of corporate power. The poll shows Americans skeptical of those mammoth firms. Just 6% say they trust Facebook to protect their personal information, while 92% do not. Google and Amazon fare better, but only slightly. The telephone survey of 1,000 adults, conducted March 23-27, carries a margin for error of 3.1 percentage points. Three in 4 call it unacceptable that social media companies collect users' personal data to help advertisers target them. Solid majorities say social media divides Americans, wastes their time, spreads lies and disseminates unfair attacks on public figures and corporations. Just 36% call themselves satisfied with the amount of federal oversight and regulation of companies such as Facebook and Twitter. But they plainly don't want those companies' services to go away. By better than 3 to 1, Americans call the use of smartphones and social media to communicate and stay in touch with people an overall step in the right direction for society. Six in 10 say technology has more benefits than drawbacks, and call themselves hopeful of further advances over the next five years.

warren-more-proof.jpg

Unusually for an American political issue, attitudes toward technology regulation do not divide along party lines. Majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents all pronounce themselves dissatisfied with current levels of regulations and agree that free market competition should determine the future of giant tech firms.



Cramer: Teddy Roosevelt wouldn't even break up Facebook
CNBC

URL: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/09/jim-cra ... en-up.html
Category: Politics
Published: May 9, 2019

Description: Facebook's co-founder Chris Hughes called for the company to be broken up in a New York Times op-ed Thursday, saying CEO Mark Zuckerberg's power has become too vast. According to CNBC's Jim Cramer, that's not a move that even the president best known for smashing monopolies like the Standard Oil Company would make. "I don't think TR would break up Facebook," Cramer said on "Squawk on the Street," referring to former President Theodore Roosevelt, whose administration was known for its strong enforcement of antitrust measures. "For a long time all we cared about was that foreign companies were killing us," Cramer said. "So then we suddenly have these fabulous companies that are really dominant, and now we have to worry that our own dominant companies are killing us? Shouldn't we be proud?" In his op-ed, Hughes argued that Zuckerberg now has "unilateral control over speech" and the company's strategy of acquiring and copying other businesses that could potentially compete with it has kept the social media landscape free from real threats to Facebook. Cramer refuted the idea that Facebook is a monopoly that needs to be broken up, arguing that users can log off any time they'd like. "In the end, this is a social media site," Cramer said. "It's not the American party like the Communist Party or the Soviet Union, I mean it's a darn social media site."
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1818323
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

PreviousNext

  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to Politics


Mobile Device
  • 1
  • FREE CLASSIFIED ADS
    Free Classified Ads
    There are 3 ways to advertise - your choice: you can place free ads in a forum topic, in the classified display ads section, or you may start your own free blog. Please select the appropriate category and forum for the ad content before you post. Do not spam.
    Caveat emptor - let the buyer beware. Deal at your own risk and peril.
  • Advertisement