The American consumer’s impotent rage
Ordinary consumers, much like most voters, know there are different rules for them. They also sense that the big service providers pay more attention to Washington regulators than to their disaffected customers. It is a perfectly rational thing to do. America’s capital is where the markets are rigged, after all.
Politicians rank their priorities in much the same order. Voters come low on their list. Lawmakers devote chunks of their schedules to raising money from donors. In most districts, the voter barely matters since gerrymandering has rigged the election in favour of one or other party. Politicians with large war chests are far less likely to be challenged for their party’s nomination. The same logic leads companies to keep a strong lobbying presence in Washington.
There are no easy ways to reduce market concentration, just as there are no easy fixes for corporate America’s grip on politics. But there are two simple ones. The first is to metastasise your consumer rage by voting for Mr Trump. This is the man who is best known to most Americans for saying “you’re fired” on television. For every problem America faces, he has a solution that is clear, simple and wrong. The second is to support aggressive antitrust action.
Since Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency, trustbusting has a great history. It could also have a great future.
Alas, no presidential nominee has yet found the conviction to champion breaking up the monopolies.
The more is the pity. Taking on the titans would not just be great populism. It would also be smart policy.