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On this episode of The Federalist Radio Hour, Molly Kinder, a David M. Rubenstein Fellow in the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, joins Culture Editor Emily Jashinsky to discuss her research into how big corporations such as Amazon and Walmart used their skyrocketing profits in the midst of the pandemic and whether their workers benefitted from the financial growth.
A Yahoo! finance article brought to my attention a recent open letter sent to Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. The letter has been signed by “401 parliamentarians” from around the world including some of the usual suspects from the US, among them Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Talib.
In the article, Talib is quoted as saying “This pandemic has exposed just how broken and wrong it was to allow a man with this amount of wealth to get away with not paying his fair share.” Everybody knows what someone’s fair share is and it’s obvious when they’re not paying it. Right?
Howard Husock talks with Shelby and Eli Steele about their new documentary, What Killed Michael Brown?, and Amazon’s refusal to make the film available on its Prime Video streaming platform.
The documentary is written and narrated by Shelby Steele, a scholar at the Hoover Institution, and directed by his filmmaker son, Eli Steele. It is available through their website, whatkilledmichaelbrown.com.
James Rickards, Editor of Strategic Intelligence, a financial newsletter and New York Times bestselling author joins Carol Roth to discuss the various reasons why different companies pay no federal income taxes, what the New York Times got wrong with the “exposé” on President Trump’s taxes and how you can reduce your own tax burden. Plus, a discussion on the Fed, the money supply and inflation.
Plus, a “Now You Know” segment on gold.
Colin Quinn (stand-up comic, actor, writer, Saturday Night Live alum) stops in to talk about his book Overstated – A Coast-to-Coast Roast of All 50 States, and he and Bridget manage to cover, the election, why Bridget should be a criminal profiler and write a book about U-Haul rentals, Colin’s plans for modern-day Constitutional Conventions, the fact that everybody’s crazy now and nobody seems to notice, and they compare psychic experiences (Colin’s involves OJ Simpson). They discuss how odd it is that our society has reached a place where people on the extreme left and right give people in the middle sh*t rather than vice versa, Colin’s elaborate plan to become best friends with Jeff Bezos, how he almost starred in Crocodile Dundee 2, why giving your opinion can be very expensive, and learning the meaning of the word “consequences.”
On Monday night, my iPhone turned off and wouldn’t turn back on. That’s just a minor personal inconvenience with a straightforward, if not pricy, solution—right? So the next morning, I scheduled an appointment at a repair shop for that afternoon and tried to log in for work. And that’s where the “minor personal inconvenience” snowballed. […]
I ordered a whip from Amazon. No, not the kind of whip you see in those movies you know you shouldn’t be watching, but a 102 inch variety that screws on the end of an antenna mount. I am a ham radio operator. And, while there are only a few online stores that sell primarily […]
Amazon is creating a new series based on Tolkien’s Middle Earth. It will be set in the Second Age, the age dominated by the long-lived men of the island of Númenor. Here are the latest (but not so recent) rumors about the production. The Tolkien estate has announced the constraints it has placed on Amazon’s […]
This stems from a PIT thought. How much do you really need your smart phone? How much has it supplanted other devices, activities, or things in your life? Would you be willing to give it up, either mostly or entirely? Do you want to give it up? What is it that you use it for?
With China and its vicious police state, endless and inescapable facial recognition, and concentration camps, maybe it is time we re-examine our own willing feeding of “the cloud.” How much do we do that’s really even necessary on our phones, or is their convenience so very much of an improvement that they’re a necessity? Do we have too much connected online already?
In the latest episode, the Young Americans get super nerdy, with the help of real-life tech policy researcher Caleb Watney of the R Street Institute. He and Jack discuss the virtues of free markets vs. Millennial skepticism thereof, question the emerging conventional wisdom on tech addiction and Silicon Valley, rebut the Unabomber (!), and go full nerd with semi-related digressions about Blade Runner, The Matrix, and, of course, Dune.
Technically, I guess, it was Amazon who rejected the Big Apple last February — deciding not to build a massive corporate campus in Queens and locating some 25,000 jobs there — rather than the other way around. (The company is still coming to Virginia, the other winner of its nationwide “search.”)
But that cancelation of Amazon’s announced plans came after “an unexpectedly fierce backlash from lawmakers, progressive activists, and union leaders, who contended that the tech giant did not deserve nearly $3 billion in government incentives,” according to The New York Times. A comparatively small group of noisy activists may have seen it as a victory, but most New Yorkers didn’t. Same with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio who sought to “diversify the city’s economy from being so dependent on Wall Street.”
Just how much did that backlash cost NYC. Here is economist Enrico Moretti, author of The New Geography of Jobs, in a fantastic interview with the Richmond Fed (bold by me):
Seeing how Seattle values their company (or not), Amazon management announced this week that they will move their worldwide operations team from Seattle to Bellevue (across Lake Washington).
The move will take some months and will involve only a fraction of their total of 45,000 Seattle employees, but it sends a message to the socialist-progressive politicians who run the city, that they cannot count on Amazon’s taxes to fund their utopian agenda.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren argues that if Washington breaks up Big Tech — and more aggressively reviews acquisitions going forward — the result will be more competition and thus more innovation than would occur otherwise. Just look at history. As the Democratic presidential candidate explains in a blog post:
The government’s antitrust case against Microsoft helped clear a path for Internet companies like Google and Facebook to emerge. The story demonstrates why promoting competition is so important: it allows new, groundbreaking companies to grow and thrive — which pushes everyone in the marketplace to offer better products and services.
It’s a superficially compelling argument at times like this: Demographic challenges mean the American economy will need to become more innovative if it’s to grow anywhere near as fast in the future as it did in the past. From this perspective, Big Tech is now a big problem.
An encouraging result of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s mega-ambitious plan to break up Amazon, Alphabet-Google, and Facebook is her interview with The Washington Post tech reporter Cat Zakrzewski. At the end of the Q&A, Zakrzewski asked the Democratic 2020 contender, “How do you avoid unintended consequences on innovation if you break the companies up?” To which Warren replied, “I think what we have right now is the unintended consequence. The giants are destroying competition in one area after another.”
This is good. Warren allows for unintended consequences when implementing public policy. Little of the activist feverishness about a Big Tech breakup has acknowledged their existence or that of trade-offs. More should be expected of policymakers. Conceding the reality of both provides a starting point for debate. That said, Warren seems oblivious to the potential unintended consequences or trade-offs of her proposal.
For instance: Amazon — with a five percent market share of US retail overall — does exactly what many buyback-hating Democrats have been insisting the rest of Corporate America do more of: invest bigly. Amazon is a massive R&D spender. Would it spend nearly as much if it had to shutdown as much as half its business, as Warren’s plan seems to suggest? Aren’t the very companies she wants to break up also America’s innovation leaders, spending not just to better their current businesses but also on potential future businesses such as autonomous vehicles and space commerce? Might banning new Big Tech acquisitions reduce venture capital investment by denying an off-ramp to the early investors in promising, high-impact startups? By the way, a quick visit to Alphabet’s X research group might be a worthwhile campaign trip for Warren.
The Governor of New York is disappointed that Amazon was unwilling to play the game of New York politics like a proper corporate courtesan.
“I do believe Amazon should have stayed and fought the opposition,” Cuomo said in a Tuesday radio interview. “It was a vocal minority opposition. Seventy percent of the people support Amazon.”
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America criticize President Trump’s unusual press conference decision to declare a national emergency to work around Congress and free up $8 billion for a border wall – although they appreciate his desire to confront illegal immigration and smuggling. They also react to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez cheering Amazon’s decision to scrap plans for a new headquarters in New York, agreeing that crony capitalism is bad but marveling at how little she seems to understand about basic economics. And they yawn and laugh as former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld launches a GOP primary challenge to President Trump.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America hope the accuser is OK but cannot miss the irony of lawyer Michael Avenatti begging for the presumption of innocence after being charged with domestic violence and just a month after trying to destroy Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh with no evidence. They also welcome New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s explanation that his state offered $1.5 billion in tax incentives to Amazon because it’s tax rates are too high for New York to compete with places like Texas on a level playing field. And they roll their eyes as Democratic Senators Sherrod Brown and Corey Booker insist Stacey Abrams must win the Georgia governor’s race or else it was stolen by Republicans. They also cringe as President Trump claims people vote multiple times by changing clothes and getting back in line and that people get voter ID by buying cereal.