When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do? -- John Maynard Keynes

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Google Has Learned The Ways of Washington--Government Bureaucrats, Lawyers, Lobbyists, $$$

Washington DC produces nothing but deficits, legislation, regulations, and bureaucracy. But that vast ecosystem, which sucks money from the rest of the nation, is now the wealthiest metropolitan area in the USA--recession?--not in Washington where government continues to spend, and lobbyists and lawyers get fat and rich, while the rest of the nation has suffered through the worst recession since the Great Depression.  Also, Washington has taught everyone else a lesson--if you get too big and successful (like Google) then "we will bring you down"--if nothing else you will have to spend years explaining your business processes and industry practices to bureaucratic morons at agencies like the FTC which open investigations on meritless claims ("FTC never had compelling evidence against Google, and its lengthy and expensive investigation came up essentially dry"); the FTC even hired expensive, outside Washington counsel because (apparently) FTC staff counsel is too incompetent and inept. Nonetheless, Silicon Valley is wise to the ways of Washington, and hence Google knew it would have to pay the "tax" levied by the FTC and other inquiring agencies of the US government--the "tax" being the cost to hire lobbyists and lawyers (as well as the opportunity cost of diverting corporate resources to deal with and counter the FTC "investigation")--some might even call the FTC investigation a government-sponsored "shakedown"--after all, we all know the revolving door between government and law firms and lobbying firms in Washington D.C.--

How Google beat the feds - Tony Romm - POLITICO.com: "Google escaped from a nearly two-year federal antitrust probe with only a few scratches by proving that the best defense is a good offense. Instead of ignoring Washington — as rival Microsoft did before its costly monopolization trial in the 1990s — Google spent about $25 million in lobbying, made an effort to cozy up to the Obama administration and hired influential Republicans and former regulators. The company even consulted with the late Robert Bork and The Heritage Foundation and met with senators like John Kerry to make its case. In other words, these traditional outsiders worked the system from the inside."

The FTC Smartly Ends Its Imprudent Google Search Antitrust Investigation - Forbes: " . .  . Fortunately for Google, throwing money at the problem seemed to work really well . . . But is that really how the system’s supposed to work? Google wasn’t the only player spending like a drunken sailor. The FTC hired an expensive outside lawyer and invested countless staff hours. And Google’s enemies spent plenty of money themselves, both directly and through advocacy groups like Microsoft's "FairSearch."  For example, Microsoft has put on its own event (both in DC and in Europe), and see this San Jose Mercury News list of Microsoft-supported influencers (the article also tries to enumerate Google beneficiaries). With the FTC investigation over, we might project a recession in the legal industry when all of this money stops sloshing around. In the end, though the FTC reached the right result from its investigation, the money avalanche left me with a queasy stomach. As the cynical maxim goes, “he who has the gold makes the rules.” When titans clash over antitrust matters, it’s a fine line between justice being served and justice being bought."

Yes, unfortunately, that is how the dysfunctional Washington system works. And the sad thing is, the staff and Commission of the FTC probably think they are operating in the public interest--really! What a waste of resources. Another sign of America in decline.

There once were concepts of public service and stewardship of public resources (including taxpayer funds) in Washington. No more. Today, in Washington, it's just about feeding the Hogs at the Trough.

The Big Picture

Financial Crisis - The Telegraph

JohnTheCrowd.com | The Sailing Website

Craig Newmark - craigconnects