Amazon deserves more than rejection from New York. It should be investigated


Simply saying ‘no’ to its headquarters isn’t enough – Amazon should be investigated for abusing monopoly power (The Guardian)


This week, Amazon abandoned a plan to open a second “headquarters” in New York City, after citizens rebelled against the idea of paying almost $3bn in subsidies and tax incentives to one of the world’s biggest corporations. But simply saying “no” to Amazon’s coercive terms is not enough. New York citizens should now demand that the state’s Attorney General Tish James begin investigating the corporation for abusing its power as a monopoly.

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Democratic attacks on AOC expose the party’s fear of taking on moneyed interests


The Democratic Party’s loyalty to plutocrats led to political disaster. But many of its leaders won’t change their ways. (The Washington Post)


It’s not just right-wingers that are driven crazy by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the firebrand newcomer to national politics: Some of the Democratic lawmaker’s colleagues in her own party view her with suspicion. Their criticisms, however, offer a window into how a failure to take on concentrated power — while pretending to do so — has warped Democratic culture.

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Congressional Staffing for Dummies: The Pay Go Dispute


There are a lot of people arguing about this thing called Pay Go. Here’s my attempted explanation of what Pay Go is and how it intersects with stuff you care about.


In other to understand the conflict, which seems on the surface quite simple, you have to understand a bunch of things about Congressional process and budgeting. So let’s start with PayGo itself. What it is? #PayGo stands for pay as you go budgeting, a concept that in theory mean that bills Congress pass need to be deficit neutral. That is, each proposed program or law, if it costs money, should also bring in an equal amount of money through either taxes or other budget cuts. This is what’s known among centrists in Washington, D.C., and frankly among most Americans, as ‘fiscal responsibility.’ A balanced budget by the government requires that you bring in as much as you spend.

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The One Issue the Left and Right Can Agree On


Even Tucker Carlson and Goldman Sachs are talking about the pernicious impact of monopolies in the U.S. (The New Republic)


In November, not long after Amazon announced that it would build its second headquarters in New York City and northern Virginia, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the newly elected representative from Queens and the Bronx, tweeted that she’d been getting calls from residents all day. “The community’s response?” she wrote. “Outrage.” Amazon, as legal scholars were quick to point out, had become a monopoly so powerful it was using its economic heft to exploit not only competitors and suppliers, but entire states. New York and Virginia had agreed to subsidize helipads for Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos; Virginia even promised to help the company fight Freedom of Information Act requests.

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Right-Sizing American Capitalism


Fundamentally rebuilding our democracy means engineering our corporations and markets to enable the freedom of the producer from the domination by the monopolist or financier (Democracy: A Journal of Ideas)


In 2006, 2008, 2010, 2014, 2016, and 2018, Americans voted to change their political leadership. Clearly, Americans are unhappy with our political and economic elite.

It’s not hard to see why. Small business formation is down, income inequality is up. The heartland has been turned into a set of economic colonies whose wealth is moved to distant financiers. Our corporations, having been allowed to concentrate into monopolies, are now used against us to extract our wealth and constrain our liberties.

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This time, Amazon has gone too far


Jeff Bezos’s company is profiting and taxpayers are paying the price (New York Daily News)


For the last year, public officials across America and Canada have held an embarrassing beauty contest to entice Amazon to place its so-called “second headquarters” in their region. They have done this through subsidies and benefits, and the occasional public begging spectacle, like New York Governor Andrew Cuomo musing on changing his name to Amazon Cuomo.

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Should we break up the tech giants? Not if you ask the economists who take money from them


This week’s FTC hearings on the growing power of companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google only included economists who have taken money, directly and indirectly, from giant corporations that have a stake in the debate. (Fast Company)


Amid growing concern over the power of such behemoths as Amazon, Google, Facebook, and other tech giants, in recent months there’s been a bipartisan push for better enforcement of antitrust rules–with even President Trump saying in August that their size and influence could constitute a “very antitrust situation.” The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has launched its most wide-ranging study of corporate concentration in America in more than 20 years with a series of hearings being held around the country. Chairman Joseph Simons, a practical enforcement-minded leader, launched the hearings by expressing concern over the growing problem of monopoly, which is now found in nearly every sector of the economy. “I approach all of these issues with a very open mind,” said Simons, “very much willing to be influenced by what I see and hear.”

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If the U.S. Doesn’t Control Corporate Power, China Will


Laissez-faire economics has left firms bending the knee to Beijing. (Foreign Policy Magazine)


Last week, Bloomberg broke the news of a hack by the Chinese military of critical hardware assembled by an American company in China, affecting Apple, Amazon, and the U.S. Defense Department. While there is controversy over the story, no one doubts two key facts. Chinese hacking of Western corporations and governments is systemic, and China has a virtual monopoly over the manufacture of high-technology products, which it uses to its own advantage.

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Don’t thank Bezos for giving Amazon workers a much-needed raise


Jeff Bezos runs a powerful monopoly that causes him to exert huge power and control. We shouldn’t be praising him but tackling his power. (The Guardian)


Watching the cheering of Amazon warehouse workers after being told they were getting a raise of $15/hour, it would be easy to see the wage bump as a great victory for working people. Senator Bernie Sanders thanked Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, profusely, “What Mr Bezos has done today is not only enormously important for Amazon’s hundreds of thousands of employees, it could well be a shot heard around the world.” He encouraged companies like McDonald’s and Walmart to follow Amazon’s lead.
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The Bailouts for the Rich Are Why America Is So Screwed Right Now


Did they prevent a full-scale collapse? Yes. Was it necessary to do it the way we did? Not at all. (VICE)


In 1948, the architect of the post-war American suburb, William Levitt, explained the point of the housing finance system. “No man who owns his own house and lot can be a Communist,” he said. “He has too much to do.”

It’s worth reflecting on this quote on the ten-year anniversary of the financial crisis, because it speaks to how the architects of the bailouts shaped our culture. Tim Geithner, Ben Bernanke, and Hank Paulson, the three key men in charge, basically argue that the bailouts they executed between 2007 and 2009 were unfair, but necessary to preserve stability. It’s time to ask, though: just what stability did they preserve?
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