Oh, how I would love to be a fly on the wall in the Oval Office today! Can you imagine the discussions taking place between President Trump and his legal and economic advisers about today’s announcement that Amazon will buy Whole Paycheck for $13.7 billion dollars? Hmm. Maybe, a little antitrust legislation might be in order?
I hope that no matter the particular words used or strategies devised, that the Trump Administration sees this as an opportunity to accomplish several political objectives that will both help the American middle-class and punish one of his most detestable and dangerous enemies, Jeffrey Bezos.
Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, has amassed a fortune of around $85 billion dollars. With this pile, he has, naturally, done what all titans of industry do:
- Used purchasing power, unlimited access to cheap money, and economies of scale to devastate small businesses and create a quasi-monopoly. (Before we get technical about a monopoly -by definition “one”- it’s close enough. There are maybe a few dozen oligarchs who could easily form a cartel over almost every aspect of vital industry if allowed to continue)
- Called himself a philanthropist despite being a major net negative for the modern world.
- Bought a major media outlet to steer its editorial decisions towards his personal vainglorious pursuits. In Bezos’ case, the Washington Post, for the purpose of exerting influence over politics through propaganda to cement his place as a nouveau riche member of the Deep State. He followed the lead of Carlos Slim, Rupert Murdoch, Ted Turner, and others.
Same as it ever was. Today’s titans only differ from those in the late 19th, early 20th century, in matters of aesthetics. Instead of the stuffy, unsmiling, austere John Pierpont Morgans of the past, we now have mega-billionaires with shit-eating grins, shaved heads, and who don’t wear socks underneath their Dockers.
Which brings us back to the matter at hand: Trump needs to use this opportunity to channel his inner-Bull Moose.
Capitalism, when it is utterly void of regulation, will invariably reach its natural end-stage: Monopoly – as in the dual meaning of [1.] one business taking over vital concerns (like Standard Oil) to control prices, as well as [2.] the Parker Bros. board game. When a business passes GO! enough times, through access to cheap money created out of thin air and bribes to corrupt politicians, its purchasing power will swallow up all the shoes and hats and thimbles and wheelbarrows in the game. The middle class eventually disappears and all become indentured servants. We are living through this today. The leftists, daft socialists and communists at heart though they are, do have a point (though for the wrong reasons). Drastic gaps between rich and poor will destroy a nation.
This economic system of ours, the worst except for all the others ever devised by mankind, therefore needs to be refreshed every so often with antitrust legislation to bring back competition and the small businesses that are the backbone of a healthy economic and social nation.
Think of it as the periodic turning over of the game board once the hotels on Boardwalk and Park Place begins to bankrupt all the players. The original Populist President, Teddy Roosevelt, did it before through the Sherman Act and Trump can do it again.
President Trump can thwart the Deep State and stick it hard to Bezos by pushing antitrust legislation and threatening to break-up the Amazon-Whole Foods merger. He has hinted before at being a trust buster in line with Roosevelt when he mentioned breaking up Comcast during his candidacy.
It would be immensely popular with the left, the right, and Libertarian-leaning small business owners. The Swamp of course would be horrified, but that is the point is it not? The only way to defeat the Deep State is to attack its oligarchs and reduce their power and influence. That starts with their money.
At the same time, he should try to reinstall Glass-Steagall to lessen the stranglehold that Wall Street banks have on the finances of Main Street, courtesy of Messers. Clinton, Gramm, Leach, and Bliley.
To get even bolder, he could drum up popular support to introduce legislation to prevent corporate interests from controlling the free press.
Destroying monopolies, draining the swamp, and Making Journalism Great Again, all with one swift kick in your enemy’s hindquarters. Please give it a go, Mr. President.