A little more than two years ago, on July 9, 2021, President Biden signed an executive order to promote competition in the U.S. economy. Echoing the language of his predecessors, he said, “competition keeps the economy moving and keeps it growing. Fair competition is why capitalism has been the world’s greatest force for prosperity and growth…. But what we’ve seen over the past few decades is less competition and more concentration that holds our economy back.”
Once again this president is quietly promoting a truly progressive agenda. The witless Marjorie Taylor Greene correctly compared him to FDR. She meant it as an insult. But FDR was elected 4 times for a reason.
All true and frequently inspiring. Less inspiring is that half of Americans think the economy is terrible and Biden is incompetent, or worse. We’re not going to fix the nauseating stench of the Republican propaganda machine as it pumps lies and more lies. That leaves us with the media, who reinforce Republican propaganda. Who can fix the media? If we don’t have an answer, we would be deluded if we don’t think Trump 2024 is a distinct possibility.
Now all we need to do is break up Silly Con Valley, break up the telcomms, and my favorite - break up the entertainment industry. And put a 90% tax on all income (including stock options and bonuses) over $400k/year. And write a law declaring that corporations are not persons in any way other than for liability protection of investors - the original reason for corporations. Back in the "good old days" of the Eisenhower Administration, the pay of the CEO was 40 times the minimum wage paid in the company. We should get back to that - right now the corporate pigs are getting 2,000 times the minimum wage paid in their company. If they don't like it they can always go look for actually-useful employment. And ABOLISH THE MBA!!!!
I have a feeling that small businesses in rural areas are owned and operated mostly by people with Republican politics. They are extremely vulnerable and responsive to the fear of government rules, regulations, fees and taxes all promoted by a political ideology that emanates from big business and the political power that they wield.
My brother in northern Maine owns a medium size forestry, logging, trucking and real estate holding business. He writes me with a long list of things he must do and learn about that he doesn’t like doing. It includes labor laws, environmental regulations, trucking laws, etc. He seems to wish he could just go about what he wants to do with no standards other than what his customers set for him.
In fact the demise of and withdrawal from Maine by International Paper and other national companies, has opened opportunities that he has take advantage of. At the same time, large investors can at anytime start buying up large tracts of land and resources that could threaten his businesses. The labor shortage in Maine is and can be exacerbated by larger businesses pulling labor to larger cities or out of state.
I recently tried to help a local health clinic that serves lower income people in Maine with finding a healthcare architect and contractor to design and build their small clinic. Their CEO was listing large in and out of state firms that work on large hospital projects across the northeast and nation. Healthcare projects are code and approval intensive for good reason. Hospitals in the early 1900s were often housed in former residential buildings with no effective building systems to support sterile, safe and adequately functioning patient care facilities My small New York State architectural firm developed the expertise equal to and sometimes better than large firms in the applicable healthcare codes and requirements. We offered services, efficiencies, lower fees and an ability to design less expensive construction than large national firms. This could benefit hospitals, but particularly smaller healthcare providers in both urban and rural areas. There had been firms like mine in other states and Maine. I cannot find any in Maine anymore. I would expect that the cost to a small clinic for working with large firms doubles the cost in fees and construction costs. This increases our healthcare costs and increases the potential for consolidation of healthcare providers. Over the last 20 years every hospital and most physician practices in Maine are now owned by major medical networks governed by administrations far from the smaller cities and towns that once provided and controlled their local healthcare services. This will never be reversed which makes our private centralized healthcare services that much more inefficient and ineffective. The “critical access” hospitals once championed by Republicans in rural states established small Federally funded hospitals across the US that gave the smaller cities and larger rural communities all of the critical and family healthcare that existed hundreds of miles away in large cities. Critical access hospitals are now merely oversized obsolete receivers for sending patients far from home for treatment, all at higher costs with less care for the local populations. Republicans are too caught up in their ideology to figure this out and to find ways to improve their local control and services. As with covid19, they are feeling healthcare is government overreach. An easy way to condition rural Americans to expect and be happy with less of what they really need, as long as they can log onto their conspiracy theory leaders.
Once again, why is all this not being shouted out by Democrats and other reasonable people? The Democrats have to create a propaganda machine equal to the GOP.
Thank you Heather.
This stance by President Biden is a big step in getting the US back in the hands of its people. I just heard a local news story about Small Business growth and what that will mean for the local economy.
Be safe. Be well.
"The official noted that small businesses, especially those in rural areas, are quite happy to see consolidation broken up, because it gives them an opportunity to get into fields that previously had been closed to them. In fact, small businesses have boomed under this administration; there were 10.5 million small business applications in its first two years and those numbers continue strong."
This aspect of small businesses booming seems to me to be a key factor in the pursuit of happiness, because it gives more people the choice of how they'd like to make a living, whether it's providing services, or building and marketing a unique or creative product, rather than just going to work for a big business or corporation or retailer. At the very least, it gives one hope for the future, a future in which more people find satisfaction in their work, and life balance, and improves the mental health and well-being of the general population. Sounds a bit wishful and naïve now that I've written this, but it's what came to mind after reading Dr. Heather's paragraph above.
The U.S. population surged at the end of the 19th century, nearly doubling between 1870 and 1900.
Immigration to the United States increased at rapid rates at the end of the 19th century, as did the movement of people to urban centers.
The urbanization of the time included a shift from small-scale manufacturing and business to large-scale factory production.
The growth of cities and industries introduced new problems, such as worsening economic inequality, dangerous working conditions, and poor, overcrowded living conditions.
A tiny elite held an extreme concentration of wealth and had enormous economic and political power, while most lacked opportunities to thrive.
At the time, the United States had a more decentralized form of government that was not equipped to address new economic and social problems on a national scale.
The Progressive Era started a reform tradition that has since been present in American society.
Monopolies were broken up due to violation of federal law.
Many labor unions, trade groups, and professional, civic, and religious associations were founded. They improved the lives of individuals and communities.
Regulations that progressive groups helped to enact still shape government and commerce today, including food safety requirements, child labor laws, and the normalization of the eight-hour workday.
The Nineteenth Amendment, which gave the vote to women citizens, was passed in 1920. (Written and fact-checked by The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica)
Yesterday my husband and I watched an NPR interview of Iowans who had voted for Trump. I was happy to hear them answer Judy Woodruff’s tough questions and they were candid and mostly united in their views. Some talked about how the polarization of the parties had divided them from some of their family members. Most discussed their limitations in being able to believe that liberal democrats could be real Christian’s if they were ok with taking the life of a baby. There was only one man who when he spoke up sounded vaguely moderate. I’m so glad I don’t live in Iowa.
It irks me that there is a 3rd party consideration. As I understand it, Manchin is involved. Shiver me timbers! This Joe needs to stay far far away from any podium as he is a disaster waiting to happen. I hear echoes of Ralph Nader and that is a big “ugh”.
Knowing there are so many indictments awaiting the bloated blowhard, makes my heart happy.
Fair and equitable competition cannot exist in a purely Capitalistic system
Pure Capitalism is cannibalistic; the weak get eaten
A Government that protects Small Business from T Rex Predators recognizes that Pure Competition is required to benefit the overall economy from the heartless greed of monopolies and CEO bonuses
Did Wallmart come to your community? What happened to your local grocery? Lowes? Your hardware store?
Gas prices? Billions upon billions in excess profit
Shipping prices? Yeah, out of control because competition is stifled
Health care? Consolidated
Your news outlets? Consolidation gives you right wing propaganda
Regulated Capitalism ALLOWS for Small Business to thrive
How many times must this be proven to the American voter?
For secondary school US History, there was a simple tool that taught data analysis and economics. It was a graph of income distribution from the Gilded Age into the 1970s. The widening of a middle class was dramatic; the lifting of an underclass significant. The effect of the New Deal was obvious. Sixteen-year olds got it.
An accompanying anecdote of the USSR’s Nikita Khrushchev visiting an American factory. He walked through a parking lot of gleaming cars and observed the cars must belong to the factory owners. No, he was told: this is the workers’ parking lot. The story may be apocryphal; Khrushchev visited a factory or two during his two-week visit in 1959, but did he actually say this? Nonetheless, it was a valid observation. US workers could buy new cars.
As trickle-down economics became the new theory in the 1980s, an income-distribution graph began telling a different story. And it has only gotten worse. I stopped teaching in 1999.
"NON-COMPETE clauses have no place in California" as the CA AG`s Press Office had to remind Employers as the Pandemic subsided.
Girca the 2000's when I was still practicing law, Silicon Valley Employees leaving their jobs that would face anticompetitive clauses in departure contracts that were null & void as a matter of California's law. Businesses & Profession Code 16,660 as I recall.
Do your thing & do it well. Do it under a union contract if you are facing AI & or a tsunami of new Macroeconomic forces. And, thank you HCR for digesting these issues for the Community. 👍
PS: There is no need for a leaving-your-job contract. Take that job & "Shove it " :)
PPS: LFAA "Admins" thank you for the very good job today. 👌
Thank you for your historically accurate perspective on why so many of us have been suffering from inflation affecting the cost of our basic necessities in addition to everything else that you mention. Joe Biden has been doing a remarkable job to help and protect those of us who aren’t billionaires and/or who are struggling to run a small business. The problems that haven’t been addressed much less fixed are incompetent and sometimes malignant “journalism,” the stench in the Republican-lead House of Representatives and the politically biased US Supreme Court. I predict that Biden’s efforts to rein in the huge corporations will result in lawsuits that end up in front of the Supreme Court and that this court will undermine and even overturn much of what he has done.
How do we encourage the media to stop echoing GOP falsehoods. Call out unacceptable behavior (Greene, Santos, McCarthy, McConnell, Manchin, corrupt SCOTUS, GOP misinformation) and insist on true reporting?
In 1990, a friend and I started a software consulting business focusing on the financial services industry. A year later a large software company that controlled about 80% of the life insurance software sent a letter to all of our clients telling them they could no longer use our services.
To litigate against the company would have taken years and bankrupted us. But our attorney was friends with the Nebraska AG and four of the companies that received the letter from the company were Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Nebraska. The AG sent a letter telling the software company that they were committing tortious interference and to immediately send a recision letter to all the companies they had contacted.
The lead council for this large software corporation was in Paris when the letter from the Nebraska AG arrived. He was buying another life insurance software company further reducing their competition. The next morning the attorney was in our attorney's office to negotiate a settlement.
Our consultants were allowed to work on any of their software anywhere in the world. Thanks to the Nebraska AG's office and our attorney we were able to continue growing our little company.
HCR is right. Competition is good for the consumer and good for business.