BIG by Matt Stoller

BIG by Matt Stoller explores the pervasive influence and consequences of monopoly power in various industries, including healthcare, defense, technology, and entertainment. It critically examines the roles of regulation, antitrust enforcement, and corporate practices in shaping the economy, often highlighting the need for greater transparency and competition.

Monopoly and Antitrust Issues Corporate Influence on Economy Regulatory and Legal Enforcement Healthcare Industry Practices Defense Industry Oversight Technology and Media Consolidation Financial Practices and Economic Policy Labor and Industrial Policy

The hottest Substack posts of BIG by Matt Stoller

And their main takeaways
28992 implied HN points β€’ 15 Mar 24
  1. The U.S. government is taking significant actions to address privacy and data protection, with legislation forcing a divestment of TikTok being part of a broader strategy.
  2. Recent legal actions by the Biden administration are reshaping how data brokers operate and enforce consumer protection laws in relation to sensitive consumer data.
  3. The debate over TikTok ownership highlights concerns about foreign control of key social infrastructure and the need for governance to prioritize the sovereignty of the people.
27044 implied HN points β€’ 10 Mar 24
  1. Biden's administration is taking steps to reduce corporate power through measures like capping credit card late fees and focusing on monopolies in the healthcare sector.
  2. There is a mix of positive and negative actions within the Biden administration towards tackling concentrated economic power, showcasing a nuanced approach to corporate regulation.
  3. Despite Biden's populist State of the Union rhetoric, the administration faces challenges in fully addressing corporate power and governance issues, including instances of corruption and policy setbacks.
25210 implied HN points β€’ 02 Mar 24
  1. The Supreme Court is currently considering a case involving tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Amazon and the question of whether economic regulations for these platforms are unconstitutional under the First Amendment.
  2. The case has broad societal implications, touching on antitrust, privacy, civil rights, and speech liability claims against big tech firms. The argument raised questions about the extent of tech companies' rights to make decisions like racial segregation or account deletions based on political views.
  3. The case illustrates how the influence of Robert Bork, a conservative antitrust lawyer, has shaped modern American corporate state, particularly the broad support for a society run by big tech, challenging the traditional role of democratically elected officials in regulating private tech platforms.
34149 implied HN points β€’ 21 Feb 24
  1. The Kroger-Albertsons merger faces challenges due to potential criminal activity discovered, leading to antitrust suits and trials to block the deal.
  2. The merger could worsen the grocery market situation with fewer stores, higher prices, and data implications for suppliers, consumers, and workers.
  3. Evidence found of Kroger and Albertsons colluding in wage suppression by avoiding hiring each other's workers, raising concerns and prompting legal action.
29794 implied HN points β€’ 22 Feb 24
  1. Capital One is trying to purchase Discover for $35 billion due to a loophole the Federal Reserve left in banking laws, which allows Capital One to have control over pricing in ways its competitors cannot.
  2. The credit card system in the U.S. involves a complex web of fees and intermediaries that result in high costs for merchants, driving the merger between Capital One and Discover in a pursuit for more pricing power.
  3. The merger faces opposition from various groups due to concerns about increased monopolization and reduced competition in the credit card industry, highlighting the need for reforms to promote fair commerce and innovation.
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19710 implied HN points β€’ 28 Feb 24
  1. The $25 billion Kroger-Albertsons merger is facing challenges as the Federal Trade Commission and nine states sue to block it due to potential negative impacts on consumer prices and wages.
  2. The case is significant because it involves a novel application of antitrust law, focusing on labor grounds and the impact on union bargaining terms.
  3. The merger's potential consequences, including higher prices and lower wages, have sparked political response from politicians and unions, indicating widespread concern and opposition.
15241 implied HN points β€’ 04 Mar 24
  1. There is a proposal to cut $45 million from the Antitrust Division's budget, reducing it by roughly 20%, which could impact their enforcement efforts against monopolies.
  2. The Antitrust Division's funding comes partially from fees paid by corporations involved in mergers, and a recent proposal could subject the Division to the normal appropriations process instead.
  3. The current bill is still subject to modifications, so there is a possibility of adjustments to the proposed budget cut for the Antitrust Division.
43431 implied HN points β€’ 26 Jan 24
  1. There is growing discontent and criticism towards Boeing's management from various stakeholders like Wall Street, labor unions, customers, and regulators.
  2. Major Boeing customers like Alaska Airlines and United Airlines are publicly holding Boeing accountable for quality issues and demanding reimbursement, indicating a significant shift in the industry's code of silence about problems.
  3. The government, particularly the FAA, has taken actions against Boeing and is showing signs of increasing regulation, potentially leading towards a moment where Boeing's management structure may face significant changes.
32315 implied HN points β€’ 03 Feb 24
  1. Dialysis industry is controlled by two powerful corporations - DaVita and Fresenius - impacting over half a million lives. Non-compete agreements could potentially change this monopoly.
  2. Dialysis is a critical treatment provided under universal healthcare for end-stage renal disease patients, but monopolistic control has led to issues like patient coercion and quality concerns.
  3. The lack of competition and consolidation in the dialysis market has led to lower survival rates in the US compared to other countries. Eliminating non-compete agreements for healthcare professionals could foster innovation and improve patient care.
22918 implied HN points β€’ 16 Feb 24
  1. Apple's Vision Pro is a remarkable technological innovation that could potentially revolutionize how we interact with technology in our daily lives.
  2. Apple's strict control over its products and ecosystem can limit innovation and competition, causing concerns about the future of technology development and consumer choices.
  3. Apple's significant role in semiconductor manufacturing, specifically with chips produced in Taiwan, poses a national security risk due to the potential dependence on a politically unstable region.
20856 implied HN points β€’ 14 Feb 24
  1. The oil and gas industry is going through a significant wave of consolidation, with mega-mergers happening between major companies.
  2. The mergers and acquisitions in the industry are driven by challenges in increasing production, high finance strategies, and the desire to showcase access to reserves to investors.
  3. The consolidation will likely lead to squeezed suppliers, reduced innovation, and a shift of industry power from domestic firms to global entities.
56953 implied HN points β€’ 26 Dec 23
  1. The pharmaceutical industry is heavily influenced by aggressive marketing campaigns targeted at doctors, controlled by corporations like IQVIA.
  2. IQVIA, a major player in the healthcare industry, is involved in a trial over a merger that could impact the future of advertising to healthcare professionals.
  3. The FTC alleges that IQVIA's acquisition of advertising firms like DeepIntent could lead to a monopolization of the healthcare provider advertising platform market.
22689 implied HN points β€’ 07 Feb 24
  1. Antitrust Division's budget may be at risk of defunding by Congressional Republicans, impacting its ability to pursue cases against big corporations like Apple and Ticketmaster.
  2. Challenges in Antitrust Division's budget in recent years resulted in limitations on taking action against big tech monopolies like Google and Apple due to lack of resources.
  3. The bipartisan antitrust reform legislation of 2022 aimed to boost Antitrust Division resources for more effective enforcement, but current budget debates, including potential cuts, pose a threat to this progress.
55463 implied HN points β€’ 20 Oct 23
  1. The Pentagon lacks oversight in tracking defense contractors, leading to issues in weapon production
  2. The defense industrial base is facing challenges due to prioritization of cash out over production
  3. The Government Accountability Office highlighted the lack of tracking defense-related mergers in the Pentagon, posing risks to national security
38389 implied HN points β€’ 02 Nov 23
  1. A $1.8 billion antitrust decision against the National Association of Realtors for price-fixing could change the housing market.
  2. The high commission structure for real estate agents in the U.S. could lead to changes in how homes are bought and sold.
  3. Private enforcement of antitrust laws is important in challenging monopolistic practices and promoting fair competition in the real estate industry.
48129 implied HN points β€’ 06 Oct 23
  1. Inflation could possibly be driven by consolidation and data sharing in industries like Amazon and meat price-fixing cases.
  2. Price-fixing can involve colluding to raise prices or lower wages, not just about increasing prices for consumers.
  3. People not only dislike high prices but also feel cheated by unfair pricing practices, like hidden fees and tips, impacting their perception of the economy.
32430 implied HN points β€’ 04 Nov 23
  1. Labor unions can influence corporate investment decisions and set industrial policy.
  2. There is a shift towards empowering workers to have a greater say in how corporations operate.
  3. The rise of antitrust enforcement, labor activism, and focus on domestic manufacturing subsidies are interconnected in challenging the influence of financiers and middlemen.
39306 implied HN points β€’ 22 Sep 23
  1. FTC Chair Lina Khan is actively fighting against predatory finance in health care, specifically targeting a private equity firm for monopolization in the anesthesiology industry.
  2. The excessive prices in the American health care system are attributed to massive consolidation in various sectors, including the involvement of private equity firms focused on profit extraction.
  3. The FTC's lawsuit against USAP and Welsh Carson highlights illegal practices in monopolization, price-fixing, and market allocation that have cost Texans millions, shedding light on the need to address predatory actions in the industry.
35524 implied HN points β€’ 16 Sep 23
  1. Public dissatisfaction with the economy despite positive statistics like low unemployment and consumer spending
  2. The Biden administration lacks coherence in its policy approach and struggles to address issues like inflation and housing costs
  3. Judicial appointments and internal disagreements within the administration contribute to the challenges faced by Bidenomics in governing effectively
53286 implied HN points β€’ 14 May 23
  1. Hollywood is facing a crisis with streaming services struggling to profit while dominating the industry.
  2. Legal changes in the U.S. over the years have stripped independent producers of bargaining power, impacting the quality of content.
  3. The ongoing writers' strike highlights the need to address the structural issues in the industry caused by consolidation and lack of market signals.