Have a listen here.
Yesterday the Justice Department sued Apple and five major publishers over their e-book pricing model, alleging price fixing. Associate Director of Technology Studies Ryan Radia thinks the lawsuit is a mistake, and should be dropped.
Bryan Caplan argues that antitrust enforcement literally kills people. It’s a startling claim to make, but hear him out. One thing that people do when they have a lot of money is give to charity. Bill Gates, one of the richest men in the world, has given away billions of dollars and saved countless lives. If not for the Microsoft antitrust case back in the 1990s, he would be able to save even more people:
If Gates’ philanthropy is as efficacious as most people think, there’s a shocking implication: The antitrust case against Microsoft had a massive body count. Gates saves about one life for every $5000 he spends. If the case cost him $5B, and he would have given away 48%, antitrust killed 480,000 people. If the case cost him $5B, and he would have given away every penny, antitrust killed a million people. Imagine how many people would be dead today if the government managed to bring Microsoft to its knees, and Gates to bankrutpcy. It staggers the imagination.
Have a listen here.
The Department of Justice sued this week to stop the proposed AT&T-T-Mobile merger. Associate Director of Technology Studies Ryan Radia thinks this is a mistake. The evidence that the merger would make the wireless market less competitive is unconvincing. Nobody knows if the merger will succeed or not. Either way, consumer harm is unlikely.
Posted in Antitrust, CEI Podcast, Economics, Technology
Tagged Antitrust, at&t, at&t merger, at&t t-mobile merger, department of justice, doj, justice department, ryan radia, t-mobile, t-mobile merger, wireless
Today, the Department of Justice sued to stop the proposed AT&T-T-Mobile merger. They claim to know in advance how the merger will affect the mobile market for years to come. It’s an example of F.A. Hayek’s fatal conceit. Of course, most people haven’t read Hayek. So over in the Daily Caller, I use a better known thinker to make the same point:
The philosopher Yogi Berra once said that “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” Let’s apply his lesson to the proposed $39 billion AT&T-T-Mobile merger…
Competitors are also surprisingly confident in their ability to predict the future. A Sprint spokeswoman said that “Sprint applauds the DOJ for conducting a careful and thorough review and for reaching a just decision … Today’s action will preserve American jobs, strengthen the American economy, and encourage innovation.”
This translates roughly to “We think the merger would make the market more competitive. We were scared that we’d have to work harder to innovate and cut costs to keep our customers happy. Whew.”
Most mergers fail. Nobody knows if a merged AT&T and T-Mobile would offer a better, cheaper product line. The only way to find out is trial and, often, error. The Justice Department’s astounding claim that it knows the merger’s effects in advance is either proof of its superior enlightenment, or else the height of hubris. I’m guessing the latter.
Read the whole thing here.
Posted in Antitrust, Economics
Tagged Antitrust, at&t, at&t merger, at&t-t-mobilr merger, competition, daily caller, doj, fatal conceit, hayek, justice department, t-mobile, yogi berra
A few months ago, the FCC said it would hand down a decision on whether to allow AT&T and T-Mobile to merge within 180 days. August 26 was day 83. The FCC decided to reset the clock to zero. So now it will be as long as another 6 months before the FCC announces its verdict.
There’s a comment to made here about regulatory uncertainty. There’s another one to make about the value of the FCC keeping its word. But instead I’ll concentrate on Sen. Al Franken’s recent remarks. “I am very suspicious of consolidation of power,” he told MinnPost.com.
“Big is bad” is an old argument. Age has not given it wisdom, however. Suppose a super-size phone company like a merged AT&T-T-Mobile is so big, clunky, and inefficient that it has to charge higher prices. What a golden opportunity for smaller, leaner competitors like Verizon and Sprint to swoop in and gain market share.
Now suppose instead that the merger gives AT&T and T-Mobile better economies of scale and a faster, more reliable network. Consumers flee their previous networks to join a better, cheaper one. This is hardly consumer harm – which after all, is the usual rationale for antitrust regulations.
Nobody knows if the proposed merger will work or not. But a company’s size doesn’t have much to do with whether a merger should be allowed. If a merger gives diseconomies of scale, consumers will punish it. If it improves service and prices, consumers will reward it.
Unlike the FCC, markets are impartial. Consumers are the proper arbiters of this proposed merger. Let them hand down the verdict.
Posted in Antitrust, Economics, Technology
Tagged anitrust regulations, Antitrust, at&t, at&t t-mobile merger, at&t-t-mobile, att-tmobile merger, corporate mergers, fcc, mergers, t-mobile
The Constitution’s Commerce Clause gives Congress the power to regulate commerce. What does that mean, exactly? Over at the Daily Caller, my colleague Jacque Otto and I explain that regulation is about making commerce regular: no barriers to entry or trade, clear, understandable, and consistent rules, and so on.
Most of what people call regulation doesn’t have anything to with regular commerce. These kinds of rules are more accurately called interventions.
These interventions didn’t appear out of thin air, either:
One important reason regulators intervene is that many businesses want them to — businesses spend considerable effort and resources lobbying Washington to that end. For the most part, American companies compete on quality, price, or other consumer preferences. But on too many occasions, some companies try to use regulatory interventions to dispatch the competition. Sprint’s efforts to squander AT&T’s proposed purchase of T-Mobile are emblematic of this troubling trend.
Lessons abound for antitrust regulators — sorry, interveners.
Posted in Antitrust, Economics, regulation
Tagged Antitrust, at&t merger, at&t t-mobile merger, commerce clause, constitution, interveners, intervention, irregular commerce, regular commerce, regulation, regulators, sprint
Posted in regulation
Tagged amazon tax, Antitrust, at&t t-mobile merger, bb gun regulations, charlotte, copyright law, donut arrest, economic freedom in states, lip-synching ban, los angeles, mercatus, pruning regulations, pruning trees, wayne crews, women arrested for eating donuts
HHS is about to issue over 1,000 pages of new regulations stemming from last year’s health care bill. That’s not a huge surprise, considering the bill is about 2,000 pages long.
But these regulations all come from a 6-page section covering accountable care organizations, or ACOs.
According to Politico, John Gorman, who runs a health care consulting firm, “expects a 1,000-page rule to come out on Thursday, March 31—because he doesn’t think HHS will want to deal with releasing the regulations on April Fool’s Day.”
Posted in Health Care, regulation
Tagged accountable care organizations, aco, Antitrust, gorman health group, hcr, Health Care, health care bill, health care reform, john gorman, regulation
Have a listen here.
CEI Vice President for Policy Wayne Crews talks about why antitrust actually hurts competition, and offers some ideas for regulatory reform based on his recent articles for BigGovernment.com and The Washington Times, and on his annual Ten Thousand Commandments report.
Posted in Antitrust, CEI Podcast, Economics, regulation
Tagged 10000 commandments, 10kc, Antitrust, biggovernment.com, cei, ceipodcast, podcast, regulation, regulatory reform, ten thousand commandments, washington times, wayne crews