Amy Klobuchar and Tom Cotton’s Big Tech Anti-Monopoly Bill Exempts Their Preferred Firms

Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D–Minn.) and Tom Cotton (R–Ark.) The Platform Competition and Opportunity Act was introduced by Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) on Friday. It would prohibit so-called Big Tech firms like Amazon, Facebook and Google, from buying rival companies unless they can show the government that the merger will not result in one platform taking over a competitor.

Cotton said that Big Tech firms bought rivals “to crush their competition and expand their market shares, as well as to harm working Americans,” in a statement. “Sen. Amy Klobuchar “I have a bipartisan bill in my favor to stop these horrible acquisitions.”

It is designed to keep tech companies from purchasing rivals. The law also concerns Facebook’s business practices in the past. Social media sites’ acquisitions of WhatsApp, and Instagram by the Obama-era Federal Trade Commission were approved with very little fanfare. Now, they are being widely criticized by both right and left-leaning anti-tech crusaders. Current law requires the government to show that the merger does not harm consumers. However, Cotton/Klobuchar would transfer the responsibility of proof to companies making the acquisition.

You have many good reasons to protest government intervention in the private sector’s affairs. No matter the issues with social media, there is no way to claim that Facebook’s acquisitions Instagram/Whatsapp have caused damage or put it in a monopoly position. It competes for consumers’ attention through social media with Twitter and Google. The dominance of companies like Amazon and Apple hasn’t hurt consumers. These firms are well-liked because they meet the market demand.

One provision in the Platform Competition and Opportunity Act is particularly skewed. The law would only apply to companies of a certain size—i.e., firms that have a “net annual sales of $600,000,000,000 in the prior calendar year or with a market capitalization of greater than $600,000,000,000.” For example, Amazon and Facebook both have market caps exceeding $600 billion so the law will apply.

However, it is noted that the bill only applies to firms exceeding $600billion “as of date of enactment”. In other words, if a company has a market cap under $600 billion on the day the bill becomes law, then that company is permanently exempt—even if it later crosses the threshold.

Walmart and Target are two companies currently below the $600billion line, and therefore exempted from the bill. Both companies have a combined value of hundreds of billions and are expanding faster than Amazon’s e-commerce platform. But under the Klobuchar/Cotton law, it wouldn’t matter if Target and Walmart overtake Amazon—they would be immune from this new antitrust action, as long as they are small enough on the day the bill is signed.

Target has its headquarters in Minneapolis (Minnesota), which may interest some readers. Walmart has its headquarters in Bentonville Arkansas. That’s quite an interesting fact. It’s probably just a coincidence that the $600-billion-at-date-of-enactment provision would shield the two most important companies in Klobuchar and Cotton’s home states.

Big Bird tweeted his vaccination status, prompting conservatives to attack the fictional, publicly funded bird who promoted vaccines for children.

In response, Sen. Ted Cruz (R–Texas) tweeted about how Bird Bird was spreading pro-vaccine propaganda. The tweet was also shared by other conservatives:

The criticisms would have been more logical if Big Bird had supported the Biden vaccination mandate or stated that all children must be vaccinated prior to returning to school. Big Bird stated that vaccines “keep me and other healthy,” but this is not wrong or overtly political. Therefore, it’s difficult to see why the right was so panicked.

The New York TimesFarhad Manjoo asked, “OK. But What Should We Do About Facebook?” The Experts were available to answer my questions. He considers several ill-advised schemes—breaking up the company, repealing Section 230—before turning to my idea: Do nothing. Read more

Robby Soane, an editor of Reason magazine’s “Tech Panic”, argues that legislators and the media are too worried about Facebook’s potential dangers.

He doesn’t disagree that the company’s rise has had some terrible effects, but he worries that some proposals could exacerbate Facebook’s dominance — a point with which I agree.

Soave explained to me via email that Facebook’s best solution was “doing nothing and watching as Facebook slowly falls apart on its own.”

Soave is right. Technology companies once strong have been beaten down in the past. Facebook still makes lots of money, but it has lost consumers’ trust, its employees are upset and leaking left and right, and because most of its popular products were acquired through acquisitions — which regulators are likely to bar in the future — it seems unlikely to innovate its way out of its troubles.

Soave’s suggestion that Facebook should be left alone is not my opinion. Strong privacy and transparency regulations are what I favor.

Soave may get exactly what he needs. It’s possible to do nothing, as long there is wide agreement among politicians on how Facebook should be addressed.

You can read the entire column by clicking here.

• Tragedy struck Astroworld, a music festival in Houston, Texas, over the weekend. The stage was ready for Travis Scott to start, and a large crowd raced toward it. The crowd was so dense that some couldn’t breathe, and others were crushed. Eight people were killed in the chaos.

• The infrastructure deal passedEach chamber, as well as the Senate.

• Authorities have charged Igor Danchenko, an analyst who provided information for the infamous Steele dossier, with lying to authorities—providing yet more evidence that much of the intelligence undergirding the Russia collusion narrative was false.

• Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has spoken up about his unvaccinated status, ruffling some feathers within the NFL.

• American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten de-maskedWhile participating in an indoor conference. People were hearing her voice, she said. It is possible that this could be the case. You can also see it here Problem for schoolchildren who have difficulty hearing their mask teachers.

• Iraq’s prime minister survived a drone attack on his home.