Democratic New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker said “the U.S. government absolutely should take a look at Google,” and other big tech companies, in a recent interview with the tech publication Recode.
Booker’s comments were in response to general questions about Silicon Valley’s growing power, including a specific inquiry by Recode reporter Tony Romm over whether the U.S. government should and can regulate the tech behemoths more.
“First of all: Yes. This consolidation that is happening all over our country I think is not a positive trend,” Booker asserted, according to the Monday story. “These mergers, we need to begin to look at because … the understandable forces in an economy work; if there’s less competition, then prices tend to go up; if there’s less competition, worker’s salaries … tend to go down.”
Booker not only thinks America’s regulatory agencies aren’t doing enough to ensure the largest companies don’t band together for more control. He also essentially implies that the largest firms in Silicon Valley — like Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Apple — are encroaching into monopoly status.
“So should the U.S. government take a look at Google?” asked Romm.
“I think the U.S. government absolutely should take a look at Google,” Booker replied in the Recode interview.
“On grounds for an antitrust case?”
“I think the U.S. government should be far more active in antitrust actions because when they have taken actions, it’s often created collateral benefits to society,” said Booker. “Microsoft, Bell Labs have all resulted in … these are major U.S. antitrust cases that now are looked at years later and saw many benefits to U.S. consumers and to innovation that comes from a lot of these actions.” (RELATED: FCC Chair: ‘Hysterical Prophecies’ Led Dems To Almost Break The Internet In Just Two Years)
After being pressed by Romm to comment on the specific amalgamation deal between Whole Foods and Amazon, Booker said that along with the Congressional Black Caucus, he signed onto a letter asking the attorney general to review the merger.
“We are having a hard enough time to get supermarkets to move into urban communities, to give people choice, to give people price competitiveness so that actually they are paying for affordable groceries,” Booker stated. “I worry about grocery consolidation, I worry about the jobs that many of these grocery stores create, and so I am skeptical of this particular merger, highly skeptical of it,” he continued, adding that the U.S. needs higher standards for all industries, including cable and electronics. (RELATED: Yahoo, AOL To Cut 2,100 Jobs Due To Verizon Acquisition)
Booker insists that a “perversion of the free market” has created pervasive “corporate villainy” and that it is imperative to have conversations on how to best measure the tech sector’s success. The lawmaker suggests that rather than looking into a firm’s “ability to create a small handful of billionaires,” the superior metric would be how well it improves individuals’ quality of life and expands opportunity.
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