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The NY Post has many excellent columnists. Here’s Maureen Callahan, with a topical column about the urgent need to trust bust Jeff Bezos’s Amazon.
When Jeff Bezos announced that Amazon would be raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour last week, the reception was rapturous. The Seattle Times called it “the just thing.” “Good for them,” said President Trump’s chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow. “I’m in favor of higher wages.” Bloomberg called it proof that “an even higher minimum wage is probably safe for big, productive cities.” Senator Bernie Sanders, a chief Bezos antagonist, called it “enormously important.” “Unequivocally good news,” said The Washington Post.
The latter is owned by Jeff Bezos, an all-too-easily forgotten point these days. Because for all the questions to follow this announcement — Why now? What is Amazon eliminating to pay for this? How much praise does Bezos, recently crowned the World’s Richest Man, deserve while paying, as of 2017, a median Amazon income of $28,446? — we are not asking the real one.
$28K? sheesh, what a pennypincher.
When did we become The United States of Amazon?
“Amazonia” sounds exactly like the post-nation we’re careening towards. Lots of jungle, lots of inequality, lots of danger. A place Norman Rockwell wouldn’t recognize.
In his best-selling book “The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google,”
Galloway cites some arresting statistics: Far fewer U.S. households have a gun than Amazon Prime, by 30 to 64 percent. More Americans have Prime than voted in 2016 (55 percent), or earn $50,000 or more a year (55 percent), or go to church (51 percent). He calls Amazon’s ability to woo Prime subscribers at a $119 yearly cost the equivalent of “entering into a monogamous relationship” with its consumers, who as of 2016 spent, on average, $193 per month. (Non-Prime members average $138 per month.)
From 2006 to 2016 Amazon’s stock price growth surged by 1,910 percent, destroying Sears, J.C. Penney, Kmart, Best Buy, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Target and Walmart.
Perhaps most importantly: Since the Great Recession, Amazon has paid just $1.4 billion in corporate taxes compared to Walmart’s $64 billion.
Eye-popping stat. The southern border Wall is projected to cost $20 billion. If Amazon was fairly taxed, the company could have funded three Walls.
“We have institutionalized a regressive corporate tax structure at the hands of our idolatry of innovators and Amazon,” Galloway says. In 2017, Amazon paid nothing in federal tax.
The bugman idolizes rootless nerd billionaires.
The company is now on pace to become the largest clothing retailer in the country by 2021 and has become the most valuable company on the planet without ever posting substantial profit.
Think about that. Perhaps no other publicly traded company aside from Tesla has convinced the markets and investors of future profitability with such lopsided margins.
And Amazon has made itself such an indispensable part of the supply chain that it sets the price points of just about everything. If you are someone who makes something or sells something, from books to fire pits to flat- screen TVs, Amazon tells you what the market — its market — will bear. Its limitless supply of cash means it can undercut any other retailer in any space it wants to dominate.
MUH FREE MARKET
In a world where so much is now controlled by so few — there are five big book publishers left, five Hollywood studios, five large health insurers, four phone providers and four cable companies — and this summer AT&T bought Time Warner — Amazon’s reach is terrifying.
Its ostensible search for the next city to house its second headquarters has become “the Olympics on steroids,” Galloway says, with state and local governments promising tax breaks that would starve funding for schools, police and fire departments. We have a new national holiday, Amazon Prime Day. Alexa and Echo, Amazon’s cloud-based voice-operated systems, sit in an estimated 40 million homes and spy on us, reporting our moods, tastes, wants, needs and fears back to HQ.
Yet we don’t fear Alexa.
We have become soy-stuffed sheep easily led to the slaughter. Our way of life, our values, our cherished traditions and once-revered institutions, our social accord, our Pleasantvilles….all of it under the butcher’s knife, served to the salivating maw of Globohomo.
I never imagined a time in America when the masses would not just tolerate Big Brother, but welcome the all-seeing eye into their bedrooms. And pay for the pleasure!
Amazon is spending $5 billion on original programming this year and is on pace to outspend Netflix by 2022.
F___ot Doctor Evil (h/t MPC) hates President Trump, as evident by the daily TDS droppings of the newspaper he owns, the Washington Post-Op. If Bezos gets his greedy mitts on a monopolistic stranglehold of streaming video, you can just imagine the amount of anti-Trump, anti-White, anti-American bilge that would spill forth every minute of every day. “93% negative stories on Trump? We can hit 100%! (with no pee breaks)”
Think about that, Galloway says: A retailer in Seattle as content king. And after announcing a vague health care initiative back in January, stock prices for major health care insurers plummeted — such is Amazon’s power that the mere hint of market entry damages long-standing competitors.
Amazon wants to feed, treat, entertain, educate and medicate America — and that’s just what it’s told us. Nothing Orwellian here, right?
The gay Millennial chimes in: “If you have nothing to hide, there’s nothing to worry about” as he hands over his private convos about strapons to server admin bindis and the HR bluehairs they’re trying to impress.
Galloway says that Amazon’s new $15 hourly wage needs to be viewed through a much more cynical lens. “Jeff Bezos doesn’t do anything that’s not the smart thing to do,” he says. “When Amazon raises their wages so publicly, other people are forced to do so” — thus starving out the competition. It’s our new Cold War, he says, and Amazon won’t stop at retail. It will outspend every other entity in pursuit of global domination.
And if we ever hope to stop it, we need to understand how we got here.
Our tectonic shift, Galloway believes, was the death of Steve Jobs in 2011. We were already on the path of technology replacing religion, but Jobs, in dying young, “became our Christ, Apple our religion, and the iPhone the cross,” says Galloway.
Big Tech became our sex. And as with all nerd-based sex, no one feels satisfied by the experience.
We have become equally complacent while technology mauls our economy, he says. “We seem to be comfortable, at least in tech, with the 8,000 people who work at headquarters splitting $80 billion in revenue,” while lower-wage workers struggle to get by. Business Insider reported that as of this year, Amazon was among the top companies whose employees relied on food stamps. And that $15 minimum wage? In exchange, the company quietly cut monthly bonuses and stock options.
This complicated problem, he says, has a simple answer: Break up Big Tech.
“The key to competitive markets is that no one entity has too much control of the marketplace,” he says, adding that no other company has violated anti-trust over the past 100 years as Amazon and its ilk. Bezos’ recent support for a universal basic income is alarming, Galloway writes, because it means he sees a near future in which Big Tech permanently puts people out of work.
Soynet. (privatize the profits, socialize the costs, personalize the meaninglessness)
“Ma Bell couldn’t have been easy to break up, and we unleashed 30 years of incredible innovation,” Galloway says. “Teddy Roosevelt broke up the railroads. If the Department of Justice hadn’t moved in on Microsoft [in 1998], do you think we would have Google? We don’t break companies up because they’re evil or take jobs or don’t pay taxes. We do it because it’s time.”
President Trump has every reason in the world to break up Amazon. Bezos constantly shits in Trump’s face through his newly acquired newspaper. He crushes the middle class and economically and culturally dislocates more vulnerable White Americans under a tide of short-term cheap, long-term expensive Dirt World labor.
Bezos is the villain who immiserates the “Forgotten Americans” Trump vowed to protect. So why isn’t Trump taking action? What’s staying his hand? It’s obvious Bezos fears an anti-trust suit; he’s busy paying off a small army of congressmen to do his bidding and cuck on cue before the almighty Amazon. Is the weak link Jeff Sessions?
Trump should make anti-trust and the Wall his defining issues in 2019 if he wants to lock up 2020.