by: Ethan Huff
(Natural News) Nearly a decade ago, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had in its possession overwhelming evidence that Google was engaged in illegal market distortion and other monopolistic behavior. The agency chose to do nothing, however, due to pressure from Barack Obama, whom Google handily rewarded for the favor by reelecting him.
The FTC could have put an end to Google’s reign of terror against free speech and free markets back in 2012 had Obama not interfered with the process. All the censorship, election rigging, and advertising manipulation would have ceased had the FTC been encouraged to do its job.
Instead, Obama goaded the FTC to turn a blind eye to Google’s crimes. Leaked documents obtained by Politico show that the FTC closed its investigation into Google in early 2013, right when Obama was beginning his second term.
William Kovacic, a former FTC chair under President George W. Bush, pored through the more than 300 pages of leaked documents and determined that his former agency overlooked or ignored “what many experts and regulators would consider clear antitrust violations.”
Kovacic says the specificity of the issues outlined in the documents are truly “breathtaking,” which makes the FTC do-nothing response to it all the more disturbing.
“In short, where we find ourselves today – with Google as the primary filter of the world’s information, engaging in a network of exclusionary contracts and anti-competitive conduct, and subject to an antitrust lawsuit led by the Department of Justice and joined by 48 state attorneys general – could have, and should have, been avoided,” writes Rachel Bovard for The Federalist.
Antitrust law enforcement must rely on hard market realities, not speculative economic forecasting
Bovard laments the fact that because the FTC did nothing, we are now facing an unprecedented assault against free speech and free markets by the Big Tech machine, which today includes not just Google but also Facebook and Twitter.
“It also reveals just how politicized antitrust enforcement has become – influenced by the siren song of internet exceptionalism and the powerful tug of Google, one of the world’s richest companies,” Bovard adds.
In Bovard’s view, one of the most shocking takeaways from the leaked 2012 documents is the fact that the recommendations made by the FTC’s lawyers at the time sharply differed from those of the agency’s economists.
While the FTC’s attorneys concluded that Google was breaking the law by “banishing political competitors” through exclusionary contracts on mobile phones, the FTC’s economists tried to argue that accusations made against Google for market dominance were unfounded.
These same economists claimed that Google only represented between 10-20 percent of all referral traffic to retails websites even though Google itself admitted that the true range was more like 70-90 percent. A pair of FTC economists also made “questionable assertions” about Google’s overall dominance of the advertising market, citing as evidence studies and papers that were funded and conducted by Google itself.
“History has borne out how spectacularly wrong the economists were,” Bovard says. “This brings forward a key element of the over-reliance on an ever-narrowing set of criteria around which our antitrust laws are now enforced. It over-emphasizes speculative economic forecasting over hard market realities.”
“In particular, an over-reliance on a cost-benefit tool called the error-cost framework has made enforcers gun-shy about acting at all,” Bovard adds. “Enforcers now largely defer to benefit claims made by the merging parties – and the economists these companies can afford to hire, who conveniently produce speculative analysis to buttress their points – while appearing to ignore hard evidence by senior executives clearly stating an anticompetitive intent behind a merger or business strategy.”
More of the latest news about Big Tech’s growing dominance over politics, markets and everyday life can be found at Tyranny.news.
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