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Sun Dec 1, 2019, 08:45 PM

America is not the land of the free but one of monopolies so predatory they imperil the nation

Its growing economic crisis is in contrast to a thriving and newly innovative Europe

Tomorrow, President Trump arrives in London for the annual Nato summit. Despite the boasting and the trappings of superpower status, he is an emissary from a country whose economy and society are in increasing difficulty, and whose global leadership is under challenge not just from the usual suspect, China, but from Europe. With the unerring capacity to be wrong that defines the Brexit right, Britain is about to decouple itself from a continental economy beginning to get things right, and hook up with one that is palpably beginning to fail.

... Except the latest research demonstrates the reverse is true. Britain is about to make a vast mistake. In the recently published The Great Reversal, leading economist Thomas Philippon of New York University and member of the advisory panel of the New York Federal Reserve, mounts a devastating attack on the conventional wisdom, so perfectly embodied by the witless Boris Johnson. The news is that over the last 20 years per capita EU incomes have grown by 25% while the US’s have grown 21%, with the US growth rate decelerating while Europe’s has held steady – indeed accelerating in parts of Europe. What is going on?

Philippon’s answer is simple. The US economy is becoming increasingly harmed by ever less competition, with fewer and fewer companies dominating sector after sector – from airlines to mobile phones. Market power is the most important concept in economics, he says. When firms dominate a sector, they invest and innovate less, they peg or raise prices, and they make super-normal profits by just existing (what economists call “economic rent”). So it is that mobile phone bills in the US are on average $100 a month, twice that of France and Germany, with the same story in broadband. Profits per passenger airline mile in the US are twice those in Europe. US healthcare is impossibly expensive, with drug companies fixing prices twice as high or even higher than those in Europe; health spending is 18% of GDP. Google, Amazon and Facebook have been allowed to become supermonopolies, buying up smaller challengers with no obstruction.

This monopolising process gums up everything. Investment in the US has been falling for 20 years. Because prices stay high, wages buy less, so workers’ lifestyles, unless they borrow, get squeezed in real terms while those at the top get paid ever more with impunity. Inequality escalates to unsupportable levels. Even life expectancy is now falling across the US. But why has this happened now? Philippon has a deadly answer. A US political campaign costs 50 times more than one in Europe in terms of money spent for every vote cast. But this doesn’t just distort the political process. It is the chief cause of the US economic crisis. Corporations want a return on their money, and the payback is protection from any kind of regulation, investigation or anti-monopoly policy that might strike at their ever-growing market power...

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/dec/01/america-is-not-the-land-of-the-free-but-one-of-monopolies-so-predatory-they-imperil-the-nation?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

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Response to BeyondGeography (Original post)

Sun Dec 1, 2019, 08:50 PM

1. K n R ! Thanks for posting!

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Response to BeyondGeography (Original post)

Sun Dec 1, 2019, 08:52 PM

2. it is a crisis. ppl can't or won't see this.

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Response to Kurt V. (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 1, 2019, 08:58 PM

4. I am not sure they will see this after the whole damn thing collapses.

And be certain, it will collapse!

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Response to democratisphere (Reply #4)

Sun Dec 1, 2019, 09:01 PM

5. Its probably necessary. with all erosion comes new ground.

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Response to Kurt V. (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 1, 2019, 10:39 PM

15. Would that all Democrats were making this an issue

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Response to BeyondGeography (Original post)

Sun Dec 1, 2019, 08:55 PM

3. GOPers have been unfettering predatory capitalists for decades

Government agencies and regulations meant to encourage competition have been steadily dismantled or repurposed to encourage monopolization.

The system has been incrementally rigged to favor the richest donors and beneficiaries of GOP.

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Response to Hermit-The-Prog (Reply #3)

Sun Dec 1, 2019, 09:08 PM

7. And AGAINST everyone else. But, hey, WE can't demand change because WE

might scare some of them from donating to the party.

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Response to blm (Reply #7)

Sun Dec 1, 2019, 09:28 PM

9. I want to excite young voters and rely on old ones

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Response to Hermit-The-Prog (Reply #3)

Sun Dec 1, 2019, 09:55 PM

11. Wow 50 times more

A US political campaign costs 50 times more than one in Europe........

No wonder Trump had to go to Russia, Saudi's, China etc

Pretty soon, all these leaders of other countries will realize they can make alot of money for themselves simply by selling their country out to any one of these countries.

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Response to BeyondGeography (Original post)

Sun Dec 1, 2019, 09:08 PM

6. In my youth, I remember the Gov breaking up

large monopolies, denying media ownership if it made for fewer choices. Ma Bell gave us several spinoffs and increased competition, but today the mega corps are bigger than ever and actively eating up the competition. Gov intervention is totally absent, not surprising since out representatives are all financially obligated to turn a blind eye.

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Response to procon (Reply #6)

Sun Dec 1, 2019, 09:16 PM

8. Anti-trust laws are still on the books

they simply aren't enforced. Maybe someone needs to start enforcing those laws.

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Response to Bettie (Reply #8)

Sun Dec 1, 2019, 10:04 PM

13. There hasn't been a 2 Sherman Act case started by the DOJ since the H. W. Bush administration

Literally zero felony monopoly enforcement cases begun since the Microsoft case. Nearly 2 decades of no enforcement whatsoever. I see it everywhere. Here, scalping tickets is illegal, but EBay does it on StubHub every day. FedEx got slammed for misclassifying workers, but Uber and Lyft do it with total impunity. Worse? Underground small immigrant cab businesses always existed. They got busted for being unlicensed. Uber and Lyft don't. Amazon violates the Robinson-Patman Act every day. If you don't believe me, look at an item a few times, clear your cookies, then look at it again. Watch the price discrimination in real time. That's not to mention all the money stashed in the Caymans we do absolutely nothing about. So much criminality...

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Response to rhodytowny (Reply #13)

Sun Dec 1, 2019, 10:32 PM

14. Excellent post.

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Response to BeyondGeography (Original post)

Sun Dec 1, 2019, 09:52 PM

10. Trump, "representing" America

the very idea is OBSCENE

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Response to BeyondGeography (Original post)

Sun Dec 1, 2019, 09:56 PM

12. We are a full blown oligarchy

At this point, as has been shown in study after study, the voice of the average American has as much influence as static noise on our elected representatives, while the voice of the 1% is heard and acted on well over 50% of the time. It’s disgusting, and it’s maintained because our institutions have been taken over by moneyed interests. The media, colleges and universities, the courts, and more, have been entirely compromised by those who own and control them - the billionaires who love this fucking country.

We desperately need a progressive Democrat to win the presidency, and for turnout to put both the House and the Senate in Dem control. THEN we might be able to turn this ship of state around and form the country we want, one that that operates for the betterment of all people and not just the stinking, filthy rich. With our election systems it’s a toss up as to whether we can indeed vote our way to a progressive America. I guess we’ll see in 2020.

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Response to BeyondGeography (Original post)

Sun Dec 1, 2019, 10:49 PM

16. Meanwhile, America thinks enforcing anti-trust is "Socialist."

In the new GOP, competition and small businesses are bad / Socialism, monopolies and lobbyists are good / "American." Power and wealth should be concentrated in as few hands as possible. Those at the top should have the government at their disposal to keep others from rising to their level.

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Response to BeyondGeography (Original post)

Sun Dec 1, 2019, 11:21 PM

17. Southern Spain Last Summer: Investment in Making Better Lives

I spent a month in southern Spain last summer. They had high speed trains all over the region and train stations that were gleaming palaces and fancy buses and fancy bus stations. They had a medical clinic that was low cost or free for citizens in every neighborhood or village. They had community art centers and third age centers, massive public housing and good investment in education. What used to be the poorest region in Spain is now thriving. It is amazing what a country can do without spending trillions on wars! Why can’t we have that?

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Response to BeyondGeography (Original post)

Sun Dec 1, 2019, 11:32 PM

18. Tax campaign spending.

All campaign spending by individuals, tax at 10%.

All campaign spending by PACs, Corporations, 501(c’)s of any type, tax at 25%.

We’ve got to get dark money in elections fully disclosed, and taxing them will both reduce their influence, and help our economy. It’s the one thing all can agree that we can tax and have it help America.

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