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Why Antitrust Authorities Should Block Google’s Takeover of Nest’s “Smart Home” Business

This week, Google announced it was paying $3.2 billion to acquire the home appliance company Nest.  Home appliances might seem like an odd choice to be the second largest takeover target in Google’s history, but is less surprising when you understand that Nest makes “smart appliances” like themostats and smoke detectors that monitor people and [...]

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The Myth of High Tech Competition

When writing about antitrust in the Internet economy, you invariably run into people arguing something to the effect: “Well, antitrust was all well and good in the old industrial economy, but in new technology markets, competition is just a click away and new innovative competitors are appearing everyday.” Sounds compelling but it’s just plain false. [...]

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ObamaCare’s Secret Subsidies Make it Better Than You Know

Most people have heard that lower-income individuals and families get subsidies to pay for premiums. But, in the media and online, a lot of folks figure it’s the out-of-pocket costs (deductibles, co-pays etc.) that will still leave health care unaffordable for a lot of those families. Rarely discussed in the media are the so-called “cost [...]

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Taking on Google’s Monopoly Means Regulating its Control of User Data

European regulators appear likely to take action soon against Google as a monopolist in the online economy.  This is in contrast to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which took a pass on action against Google this past January. However, the measures discussed in Europe, which largely focus on whether Google is treating potential competitors fairly [...]

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A Mayor De Blasio and the Impact on National Progressive Politics

This Tuesday is the Democratic primary for mayor in New York City.   And the frontrunner to win the primary is Bill De Blasio, who has made an unapologetic appeal to voters that addressing inequality in the City will be his priority if mayor. That arguably the most progressive major candidate is leading the race shouldn’t [...]

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Why Google’s Spying on User Data is Worse than the NSA’s

There is an odd cadence to the debate on the National Security Agency spying on user data supplied by social media companies like Google and Facebook, as if the comprehensive, integrated profiles of user data controlled by large multinational corporations was only a problem when the government got hold of them. Don’t get me wrong.  [...]

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Will FCC Chairman Genachowski Allow More Job Destruction in a T-Mobile/MetroPCS Merger?

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has made job creation a top priority. Here’s a test: will he require conditions to protect jobs in the T-Mobile/MetroPCS merger? When merging companies talk about “transaction-specific efficiencies” and cost savings through “synergy,” the workers involved know that pink slips are usually on the way. That’s what we can expect if [...]

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Should we tax content providers to fund broadband build-out?

How do we address surging bandwidth usage and bridge the digital divide in a country where tens of millions of families don’t have any high-speed access to the Internet at home – and everyone sees high prices often without the speeds for the most cutting edge uses of the Internet? Just this week, The Wall Street Journal highlighted how many low-income teens, a third of whom have no broadband at home, turn to places like McDonalds with free Wi-Fi to get their homework done. New money to bridge that gap is an obvious need cited by many political leaders, but the money needs to come from somewhere.

One question is whether content providers on the Internet like Netflix, Google and Facebook, who profit tremendously from the existence of a fast Internet, should be taxed to support the physical infrastructure supporting broadband?

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The Right Embraces Sweden– and Misses the Point

There have been a number of stories this week around the online rightwing about how Sweden and the Nordic countries have moved right, probably inspired by this Economist story.  The story describes nations that seem hardcore Thatcherite: * Taxes have been cut: the corporate rate is 22%, far lower than America’s. * [Sweden's]  budget deficit is [...]

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The Enduring Radicalism of Les Miserables

In discussing Les Miserables, most critics have focused on the spectacle (grand), on the acting (quite outstanding) or the use of real-time singing (quite effective), but far less has been written about Victor Hugo’s enduring radical politics being brought to the big screen. This is a case of a movie budget making poverty look nasty [...]

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