Real Time with Bill Maher, 2/14/14
Stop the Comcast-TimeWarner merger. Sign the petition:
Need More Convincing?
Paul Krugman asks, in his New York Times article yesterday, “So let me ask two questions about the proposed deal. First, why would we even think about letting it go through? Second, when and why did we stop worrying about monopoly power?”
He goes on to make the following points:
On the first question, broadband Internet and cable TV are already highly concentrated industries, with a handful of corporations accounting for most of the customers. Once upon a time antitrust authorities, looking at this situation, would probably have been trying to cut Comcast down to size. Letting it expand would have been unthinkable.
In fact, a number of experts — like Susan Crawford of Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, whose recent book “Captive Audience” bears directly on this case — have argued that the power of giant telecommunication companies has stifled innovation, putting the United States increasingly behind other advanced countries.
And there are good reasons to believe that this isn’t a story about just telecommunications, that monopoly power has become a significant drag on the U.S. economy as a whole.
There used to be a bipartisan consensus in favor of tough antitrust enforcement. During the Reagan years, however, antitrust policy went into eclipse, and ever since measures of monopoly power, like the extent to which sales in any given industry are concentrated in the hands of a few big companies, have been rising fast.
Moreover, there’s good reason to believe that monopoly is itself a barrier to innovation. Ms. Crawford argues persuasively that the unchecked power of telecom giants has removed incentives for progress: why upgrade your network or provide better services when your customers have nowhere to go?
And the same phenomenon may be playing an important role in holding back the economy as a whole. One puzzle about recent U.S. experience has been the disconnect between profits and investment. Profits are at a record high as a share of G.D.P., yet corporations aren’t reinvesting their returns in their businesses. Instead, they’re buying back shares, or accumulating huge piles of cash.
In addition to the overarching macroeconomic implications of this merger, there are also, at the most basic individual level, the adverse aspects for us consumers, such as data caps, courtesy of Comcast.
If you like cable, this should matter to you.
If you are a consumer, this should matter to you.
And guess what… We’re all consumers. None of us are exempt.
Let’s not forget to utilize our majority voice via our consumer power. After all, we are the 99 percent, right?
Stop corporate monopolies—which are bad for the economy & bad for us consumers.
Sign the petition: