She wants to break it all up

Photo by Julian Hochgesang on Unsplash

Is that really such a bad idea? Via the New York Times, a profile of anti-monopolist Sarah Miller:

“WASHINGTON — One night five years ago, Sarah Miller, a former Treasury Department aide, was trying to make sense of an economic recovery that had left the country in the grips of rising inequality.

“Thinking back to recent news articles about corporate mergers, she Googled “monopolies in America.” Her screen filled with links to articles detailing a nascent school of thinking that corporate concentration was to blame for inequality, and that a century-old approach to antitrust laws could help solve it.

“As she read more, she felt she had found the absent piece of a puzzle. “This is probably a big deal,” Ms. Miller, now 37, remembered thinking.

“It is now common to hear Democratic presidential candidates argue that tech companies like Facebook and Google are too powerful. The Trump administration, too, is investigating whether those businesses, as well as Apple and Amazon, have violated antitrust laws.

“Ms. Miller has been central in making the issue prominent. From her onetime seat as the deputy director of the Open Markets Institute, a research and advocacy group focused on antitrust, she spent three years as a thorn in Silicon Valley’s side, guiding a coalition of liberal groups that demanded federal officials break up Facebook.”

Go read the whole thing.

Stop being a spectator

And start being an activist. Congressional switchboard: 202-224-3121.

Consumer chief undermines consumers, again.

Amazon helps itself, not consumers

Photo by Bryan Angelo on Unsplash

Go read, it’s quite enlightening. Via the Washington Post:

SEATTLE — When Jeff Peterson’s Amazon seller account was hacked recently, he frantically tried to reach Amazon’s customer service for help restoring access to his sports memorabilia store.

As nearly 4,000 fraudulent orders rang up, the Garden Grove, Calif.-based seller called Amazon’s seller support line, phoned its main customer service number, reached out via a separate account on its Canadian site, and even sent an email to chief executive Jeff Bezos. Nothing worked.

“I can’t get any answers from Amazon at all to fix this,” Peterson said, as negative reviews of his service accumulated, decimating his business.

One thing he hadn’t done was pay as much as $5,000 a month for a program Amazon offers sellers as a way to get quick help from a real person.

Amazon has become a powerful marketplace alongside its role as an online retailer, with more than 2.5 million third-party sellers who have become global businesses on its platform. Early on, Amazon compelled sellers to use its warehouses to guarantee speedy Prime shipping, in addition to other programs that largely benefited consumers. But now, sellers and former employees familiar with Amazon’s internal strategy say the company is increasingly focused on boosting its profits on the backs of its sellers — often without any clear upside for customers.

 

Decrease corporate power to increase consumer power

If it’s done right, healthcare reform won’t cost any more than we already spend

Warren promises to kill ISP monopoly protection

This is exactly the pro-consumer attitude we like to see! You go, Sen. Warren:

Presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren has unveiled a plan she says will not only improve broadband access in America, but kill state laws specifically designed by the telecom industry to hamstring broadband competition.

Warren’s proposal, outlined in a Medium post as part of a broader plan for rural America, includes doling out $85 billion to help fund broadband deployment to underserved areas. FCC data suggests that 39 percent of rural Americans still lack access to broadband.

But the plan also does something notable: it takes aim at the growing roster of protectionist state laws telecom lobbyists have used to crush competition across the country.

“Many small towns and rural areas have turned to municipal networks to provide broadband access in places that the private market has failed to serve—but today, as many as 26 states have passed laws hindering or banning municipalities from building their own broadband infrastructure to protect the interests of giant telecom companies,” Warren said.

Why we sent the insulin petition

 

This is happening all over America. I’ve seen several of these stories already, and here’s what it boils down to: NOT ALL INSULIN IS ALIKE. Not everyone can take the cheapest insulin.

That’s true of most medications. I’m lucky enough that generic thyroid medication works for me, but it doesn’t work for everyone. That’s why we encourage you to speak out on these petitions.

We are deadly serious about these issues.