Isn’t Greed…I Mean Capitalism Great?

Remember when we had such things as antitrust and monopoly laws to promote fair competition for the benefit of the consumer? Because isn’t that the core of what capitalism is, namely each business acting as an independent unit on the market to earn its profits by providing better priced and quality products than its competitors?

Apparently in a country that claims to have one of the most effective and prosperous economic systems in the world  where opportunity is galore and you just need to pull yourself up by your bootstraps by virtue of your efforts, such antitrust laws that grossly exploit consumers while enriching a small elite do not really apply, because how else could one explain Comcast’s legal $45 billion buyout of rival provider Time Warner Cable?

o-COMCAST-BEFORE-570

As you can see from the two charts, a merger would mean Comcast would control more than half of all American cable subscribers.

Originally posted on Reddit, the data comes from the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, the trade association for the cable industry.According to some experts, this majority could mean slower speeds and fewer good choices on streaming services like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. Because Comcast considers Netflix a competitor, the company doesn’t have any reason to put effort into remedying congestion and the slow speeds it produces on these streaming services. A company as big as the one in the graph above might also pressure content providers not to offer their shows to its competitors, leaving us with fewer good choices when we fire up our streaming services.

o-COMCAST-AFTER-570

And of course, a company that doesn’t have to work for millions of new subscribers may not be that interested in lowering prices. Some predict prices will inevitably rise for consumers if the merger goes through.

For the record, these are the kind of systemic issues that individuals cannot overcome by sheer will-power or “by virtue of their efforts” as the President put it in his State of the Union Address, unless with hard work and effort he meant working hard to find ever more creative and brilliant ways to exploit the American people, such as blatantly violating monopoly laws.

And you can bet your  35% -tax -paying-tutu that this monstrous Comcast cartel will be paying pretty much nothing in taxes, as they, like most corporations in this country, are the beneficiaries of massive loopholes inherent in our skewed tax code as well as government subsidies paid for by tax dollars.

But I guess it is easier to focus on bumper-sticker length, feel-good slogans about bootstraps while romanticizing the dishwasher-to-millionaire metaphor, as opposed to actually examining what is truly behind the mess we’re in.

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