Europe’s Assault on Big Tech Continues

Over the past year, European lawmakers have taken such a confrontational approach to big tech that it makes their American trustbusting counterparts look like kittens. This trend continued when the European Commission, the European Unions executive branch, announced a Statement of Objections, the first step toward an antitrust suit, against Apple over its Apple Pay system used by billions of consumers across the globe each year.  While such moves against Apple dovetail with growing hostility toward big tech on both sides of the Atlantic, such outright amenity could deny consumers access to a secure and convenient payment processing system. Perhaps most egregious is that the EU Commission failed to consider this in their objections to Apple’s paying, revealing just how little regard they have for the economic welfare of the citizens they serve and their complete subservience to a big is bad mentality. In its Statement of Objections, the EU Commission has…

Lawmakers Put Consumer Data at Risk

…wide range of personal data even with actors that could present threats to privacy and security. This could potentially include not just the data of individuals who agree to share their data, but it could also include data such as shares, likes, or comments from individuals who have not consented. Consumers feel differently  thanAICOA’s proponents, who want big tech companies to share consumer data. Almost 90 percent of consumers reported their willingness to share data depended on how much they trust a company. But with this trust comes responsibility, as 64 percent of Americans say they would blame the company over the hacker in case of a data breach. While consumers may trust specific companies, it doesn’t mean they place the same trust in all companies. If enacted, the AICOA would require data sharing and jeopardize consumers’ privacy and security. Congress should listen to their constituents’ concerns and not put data at risk to target big tech….

Death of Congressional Spending Proposal Would Be a Win for Consumers

Earlier this month, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia helped deliver consumers a victory when he informed Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer that he was opposed to voting for any legislative bill that would include costly energy and climate provisions until after the August recess. Weary of exacerbating inflation, Senator Manchin requested that his Democrat colleague wait and see what the July inflation numbers look like first before considering a more expansive spending package. Manchin did, however, express an openness to voting in favor of a smaller bill that would extend Affordable Care Act subsidies and allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices. Even so, Manchin’s steadfast opposition to passing a larger spending bill, that would include environmental wish list items like money for renewable tax credits and increasing storage capacity, should come as a significant relief to consumers and their pocketbooks. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, inflation…

Inside Sources: CFPB Puts Fintech in Its Regulatory Crosshairs

While the CFPB intends to expand its regulatory authority in the name of protecting consumers, it must be careful not to overstep and create a regulatory environment that degrades the significant consumer welfare fintech companies provide. While doing so would inflict considerable and unnecessary harm on consumers at large, low-income and those outside of conventional banking would be hardest hit, leaving them without access to finance and credit. Unfortunately, the growing attention the bureau is paying to fintech companies suggests they are not considering these consumers. The full commentary is available in Inside Sources….

The Economic Standard: Biden’s Inflationary Goal

…have fewer financial resources. According to the Small Business Administration, when benefits and taxes are factored in, the cost of a traditional employee is typically 1.25 to 1.4 times the salary. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that labor compensation jumped 4.8 percent year over year in March 2022, meaning companies are having to spend more to produce goods and services.  With the substantial savings independent contractors can offer, it’s unsurprising that small businesses, especially those with under 10 employees, “are increasingly relying on the services of independent contractors as an integral part of their business.” For consumers, the increased labor costs inevitably mean increases in the price of goods and services, further exacerbating inflationary pressures in the economy given labor costs are factored into the price consumers pay.  For small businesses, rewriting the rules over who is and who is not an independent contractor means they will be denied access to this cost-effective form of…

Report on Tennessee Stadium Subsidies Reveals High Cost to Taxpayers

…half of the construction cost of the Chattanooga ballpark. Several other takeaways are noteworthy. First, governments continue to subsidize sports venues largely because they believe new sports stadiums will “attract or retain professional teams” and generate other community benefits such new jobs, and additional revenue streams. The problem with this way of thinking is that sports stadiums rarely generate enough economic activity to justify such large government subsidies. In other words, even when additional business is generated, through what economists refer to as the “multiplier effect,” it usually comes at a great cost to taxpayers. For example, a new sports complex may well create jobs and increase consumer spending, but it usually involves significant opportunity costs. Consumers may simply choose to spend their money at the sports arena rather than at the movies, or at a local restaurant. Similarly, had government officials not spent taxpayer dollars on a sports stadium,…

Antitrust Case Could Cause Turbulence for Consumers

…if successful in the courts. In bringing the antitrust case against American and JetBlue, the DoJ has failed to demonstrate any consumer harm as a result of the Northeast Alliance. Rather than showing that the agreement raised prices or saw a reduction in available flights, the DoJ based its case on the assumption that American Airlines sought to “dampen JetBlue’s incentive to continue to compete with its much larger partner.” As noted by both airlines, “the DOJ has presented no evidence the alliance has harmed consumers.” Arguably the main win for consumers in the Northeast Alliance is that it has spawned competition at the nation’s largest airports, lowering prices for consumers. Shortly after JetBlue and American announced their deal, Delta, Spirit, and United announced major expansions in New York and Boston, resulting in increased competition and lower fares for consumers.  Without such a catalyst, these expansions would likely not have…

The Economic Standard: Federal Bureaucracy Threatens 5G’s Future

US tech companies need spectrum to avoid being left behind by foreign nations and tap into the economic opportunity of 5G and similar technologies. Whether through streamlining the auction process or requiring federal agencies to provide definitive evidence before blocking auctions, the government should prioritize maximizing its availability of spectrum. Action now will let the US put consumers first, instead of letting them fall prey to interagency infighting. You can read the entire article in the Economic Standard….

Privacy Bill Should Reflect Prior Successes and Failures

On June 14, the House Energy and Commerce Committee convened a hearing on the proposed American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA), representing the first major bipartisan effort by Congress to provide nationwide data protections. Although the draft legislation delivers on the demand for greater privacy regulations, the financial burdens placed on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) could force firms to raise prices for consumers or leave the market entirely, leaving much to be desired for the American consumer. Moreover, despite learning from some of the shortcomings of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the bill simultaneously fails to include some of the GDPR’s best features which actively protect SMEs and consumers. The ADPPA includes several popular provisions that would force companies to give their customers greater ownership over the content, usage, and distribution of their private data. For America’s large corporations, many of these proposed changes in the ADPPA would…