Building Monopolies, One Merger after Another

Jim Hightower Author, Commentator, America’s Number One Populist

There's a new surge in the corporate urge to merge.

Not long ago, monopolies, duopolies, and oligopolies were not only frowned upon by our public watchdogs, but aggressively challenged, and even busted up. These days, however, corporate giants feel free to gobble up their competitors, knowing that the watchdogs will hardly bark, much less bite. In fact, now that the Supreme Court has turned corporate campaign donations into legalized bribes, congress critters and other officials have become tail-wagging accomplices to giant mergers that let corporations collude rather than compete.

The Bush-Cheney regime was infamous for cheerleading this consolidation, including allowing the merger of AT&T and Verizon to capture 70 percent of all wireless phone subscribers. But this is not just a Republican phenomenon. Obama's Justice Department, Federal Trade Commission, and Federal Aviation Administration, genially waved through American Airline's takeover of US Airways, as well as United's consumption of Continental. This has left air travelers to the mercy of one or two bullies in every major airport – and no service at all in smaller cities.

Now comes dominant health care giants like Aetna and Anthem, as well as Walgreens and Rite Aid, demanding to merge into behemoths that would control the availability of health insurance and essential medicines to millions of Americans. Ironically, the very lawmakers and pundits who praise each of these monopolizations are also the noisiest preachers of the virtue of competitive markets and consumer choice.

Oh, they also claim to be champions of the people's will – even though the clear will of the vast majority of Americans is to stop the merger mania and anti-consumer monopolization that corporate America and its political servants are hanging around our necks. That's not just ironic, it's cynical, hypocritical… and disgusting.

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This has been reposted from Jim Hightower's website.

National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be – consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks. Twice elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Hightower believes that the true political spectrum is not right to left but top to bottom, and he has become a leading national voice for the 80 percent of the public who no longer find themselves within shouting distance of the Washington and Wall Street powers at the top. He publishes a populist political newsletter, “The Hightower Lowdown.” He is a New York Times best-selling author, and has written seven books including, Thieves In High Places: They’ve Stolen Our Country And It’s Time To Take It Back; If the Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates; and There’s Nothing In the Middle Of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos. His newspaper column is distributed nationally by Creators Syndicate.

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