Addiction and Recovery
Ian Winer is an investor, philosopher, humanitarian, writer and public speaker who connects people to the truth of market places and human behavior. Ian is the author of the book, Ubiquitous Relativity: My Truth is Not the Truth. A regular contributor to CNBC, Fox Business, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and Reuters, to name just a few, he is known for seeking connections through non consensus thinking and making it relatable to everyone.
A great way to lose in 2020, is to enact this platform from Elizabeth Warren
I feel like this reminder to my Democratic friends is becoming a daily event to enter in my Calendar.
In the world of societal equality, I have listed in many previous posts ways I would try to fix the income inequality in this country which I view as an enormous threat. In the world of "realpolitik", If you would like to lose in 2020, this is the type of platform to run on.
I want to be clear. I did not vote for and have no love for Trump as a human being, nor did I vote for Hillary. I voted for Gary Johnson (but don't hold that against me). I think some of Trump's policies are good, some are shit and some are just plain frauds like this Tax Bill.
If you have not read Ms. Warren's blog post, I encourage you to do so, as I imagine this is going to be one of her big talking points. She argues that big tech companies like AMZN, AAPL, GOOG, FB should be broken up because their market share has grown to such a size that they have way too much power and control over industries and Democracy in general. She cites the examples of Standard Oil, Microsoft, The breakup of AT&T, J.P. Morgan and the railroad companies as monopolies that were broken up for the same reasons. She has solutions such as regulating them like utilities and unwinding recent mergers that continue to give them more and more power.
I have one question for Ms. Warren that is not addressed in her platform piece: If her policy is enacted as it relates to "big-tech" will prices for the U.S. Consumer go up or down? I don't know how she would answer, but I am pretty certain that prices for every Amazon order, Apple iPod, or any Advertisement on Facebook or Google will go up. The biggest reason the monopolies have historically been broken up is because they were unfairly gouging the consumer given their monopoly status and controlled the market for price.
Is that the case for Amazon? She claims that because they have 50% of e-commerce then they are a monopoly. What she fails to mention is that Amazon only has 5% of the overall retail sales markets. It is because of Amazon that other retail companies have gotten more efficient and prices have come down a lot. It is because of Amazon that you can order something in the morning and get it that afternoon. Amazon has changed the face of retail for the consumer by offering improved convenience and price. If you are cheering for this policy, ask yourself in an environment of eternal wage compression: Am I willing to pay 10-15% more for everything I buy to make this policy happen?
What about Apple? Apple has 23% share in the smart phone market and does not play in the feature phone market. Oh, and the overall global handset market is contracting. If we break them up, is everyone willing to pay 10-15% more for their phones? Are you willing to watch your prices fo apps go up?
What about Facebook and Google? Do they have a ton of market share? Absolutely. But if you want to advertise your products as a small business, where do you get the most bang for your buck? Facebook and Google. If we limit their market share, small businesses have to be prepared to pay more to advertise their products. And if small businesses have to pay more to advertise their products, then they will have to either raise prices themselves on the consumer to keep their margins (probably not what the U.S. consumer wants ) or they cut costs elsewhere by cutting pay or people. Again probably not what the U.S. consumer wants.
This is the biggest distinction I want to draw. The monopolies of old were broken up because their control of pricing hurt the general public. The "monopolies" of new that Ms. Warren wants to break up help keep consumer prices low.
So it becomes a philosophical argument in my opinion. If you support the Warren plan, I believe you have to be prepared for higher prices for many things. If you are willing to sacrifice that part of your paycheck so that Amazon loses share then have at it. My opinion, is that most people still vote with their wallet.
Socialism is the new buzzword used by people to describe anything non GOP platform. That is bullshit. I understand there are small businesses that get hurt by Amazon. But again, it comes down to price. So, if I were in a debate with Ms. Warren, I would ask her how she is modeling price inflation based on this policy and what it would mean for the U.S. Consumer's disposable income?
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