The Corruption Is In Congress: When Your New Bill Exempts The Biggest Employers In Your State, Perhaps There's A Problem
from the look at that dept
Karl wrote a bit about how the new antitrust bill from Amy Klobuchar and Tom Cotton pretends that the only industry that has competition issues is the internet industry — despite evidence suggesting other industries are much worse off — and briefly mentioned the fact that their bill conveniently excludes Walmart and Target. But the setup of the bill and those particular exclusions are so nefariously done, and so obviously corrupt, that they deserve a second post to call it out.
First off, when the House version of this bill came out, we highlighted that the $600 billion threshold seemed curiously specific, since it seemed specifically drawn just above a ton of politically powerful companies — including Walmart, Disney, AT&T, Verizon, Visa, Mastercard, JP Morgan Chase, Disney, Bank of America and others. But notably the House version of the bill would put down the $600 billion line as a marker, and if those companies reached that threshold, then they too would be subject to the same rules, and prevented (or, significantly hindered) from buying other companies.
And that’s where the Senate version is so nefarious. Under the terms of the Klobuchar/Cotton bill, it only applies to companies who are over the $600 billion line on the day the bill is signed. In other words, while the House version would eventually impact Walmart (largest employer in Tom Cotton’s state) and Target (largest employer in Klobuchar’s state), Klobuchar and Cotton conveniently changed the rules in the bill so that they would not impact the biggest companies in their home states.
There is no way to look at that other than as corrupt.
And, as Pat Hedger points out, Walmart has been growing like crazy over the last five years or so (which seems odd, considering we keep hearing that Amazon has “monopolized” commerce and is driving out all the competition):
So, as I type this Walmart is valued at a little over $400 billion. That might seem far off from $600 billion, but as recently as 2016 Walmart was valued below $200 billion. $600 billion in the next few years is not at all out of the question. And if this bill passes, it won’t matter for Walmart.
Target is somewhat smaller, but also has been growing like crazy:
So both of those companies — which compete fairly directly with Amazon — have been growing like gangbusters, and their own Senators are introducing a bill that will block Amazon from acquiring companies, but has a built-in exemption that keeps both of these competitors from being limited in the same way Amazon is being limited.
Is there honestly any way to view this setup other than out and out corruption by Klobuchar and Cotton? Protecting the largest employer in each of their states by shackling the major competitor to each, and making sure their own companies are exempted from the law no matter how large they grow?