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There’s a new surge in the corporate urge to merge.
Not long ago, monopolies, duopolies, and oligopolies were not only frowned upon by our public watchdogs, but aggressively challenged, and even busted up. These days, however, corporate giants feel free to gobble up their competitors, knowing that the watchdogs will hardly bark, much less bite. In fact, now that the Supreme Court has turned corporate campaign donations into legalized bribes, congress critters and other officials have become tail-wagging accomplices to giant mergers that let corporations collude rather than compete.
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The Bush-Cheney regime was infamous for cheerleading this consolidation, including mergers allowing AT&T and Verizon to capture 70 percent of all wireless phone subscribers. But this is not just a Republican phenomenon. Obama’s Justice Department, Federal Trade Commission, and Federal Aviation Administration, genially waved through American Airline’s takeover of US Airways, as well as United’s consumption of Continental. This has left air travelers to the mercy of one or two bullies in every major airport – and no service at all in smaller cities,
Now comes dominant health care giants like Aetna and Anthem, as well as Walgreens and Rite Aid, demanding to merge into behemoths that would control the availability of health insurance and essential medicines to millions of Americans. Ironically, the very lawmakers and pundits who praise each of these monopolizations are also the noisiest preachers of the virtue of competitive markets and consumer choice.
Oh, they also claim to be champions of the people’s will – even though the clear will of the vast majority of Americans is to stop the merger mania and anti-consumer monopolization that corporate America and its political servants are hanging around our necks. That’s not just ironic, it’s cynical, hypocritical… and disgusting.
“How Mergers Damage the Economy,” The New York Times, November 1, 2015.