Sunday, April 1, 2018

Trump And Bezos Face Off - Clash Of The Titans!

In this "Clash Of The Titans," a feisty President with low approval ratings has come out swinging on a company that has rapidly grown and expanded into every part of the economy and our lives. Bezos Inc. which is comprised of more parts than most people imagine usually sports the face of Amazon, Amazon Web Services or AWS, Whole foods, and the Washington Post. To really understand this clash it is important to understand not only the nature of the beast but who or what they represent. Trump, in this case, has taken the stand that making America great again includes keeping the Bezos empire in check, and many Americans agree that he has a point.
I have stated my concerns with Amazon long before the Election. Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!

I expect that if the subject of this tweet makes the Sunday morning talk show circuit it will be spun as the President bashing an iconic American business or attacking Jeff Bezos a "well respected" CEO and owner of the Washington Post for articles critical of the Trump administration. According to USA Today, Trump claims that not only does Jeff Bezos, use the Washington Post as a tool to get what he wants out of Washington politics but that  Amazon skirts its responsibilities as a taxpayer exploiting the system. While the part of this charge that Amazon is a "tax dodger" may seem hypocritical coming from a man who said paying the least amount of taxes owed made him smart it must be noted he does have a valid point about Amazon's history of exploiting tax loopholes.

Even This Image Was Linked To Amazon Shopping
Fans of Jeff Bezos claim the man is a genius and forward-looking entrepreneur and like many CEO's it is often difficult to separate how we view the man from his company. Amazon and Bezos have many supporters but to me their arguments that what he has created is a force for good often rings hollow forcing me to question their motivation or whether they truly understand business or just how much government policy shapes our society. One thing is certain and that is Jeff Bezos has developed an army of media soldiers ready to not only defend but promote his agenda. Not only does he shape public opinion through the Washington Post, our nations most influential news outlet, he also controls a broad swath of the Internet which allows Amazon to constantly weasel its way into where it is not invited by using a wide array of cross-company promotions.

Jeff Bezos did not purchase the Washington Post in 2013 because he expected newspapers to make a lucrative resurgence. He purchased the long-trusted U.S. newspaper for the power it would ensure him in Washington and because it could be wielded as a propaganda mouthpiece to extend his ability to both shape and control public opinion. 

This is why so many news articles over the last several years concerning Amazon read like an advertisement. The following two excerpts are examples of the kinds of articles Bezos' army of media soldiers constantly crank out. These people are not only ready to defend his agenda but promote it as well, whether the writers pouring out the following articles are soldiers, pawns, or true believers, I don't know. Clearly, what is apparent though is an agenda or bias, I have underlined some of what I thought was over the top.

Trump picked a fight with Jeff Bezos today with a highly erroneous tweet apparently intended to strike back at the Bezos-owned Washington Post's coverage of his administration. The digital nastygram suggested Bezos' company Amazon owns the Post (it does not) and that Amazon does not pay internet taxes (which do not exist).

Is Amazon really hurting small business? That's a good question to ask after President Trump condemned the retail giant in a tweet, claiming the company doesn't pay enough in taxes and has a stranglehold on the small business economy. The criticism seems strange, though, because from most angles, Amazon is helping small business.
One report suggested that Amazon has actually fueled small business growth, mostly in terms of creating new ancillary businesses that support the tech giant. Smaller smart home companies have partnered with Amazon to sync with the Amazon Echo speaker. You can buy products from third-party resellers that might be hard to find otherwise. I've purchased everything from beef jerky to USB-C cables after searching Amazon and seeing a third-party selling exactly what I need, then paying little-to-nothing for the shipping. There's no way I would have found these small companies any other way.
And, in my area, small business retailers are thriving, mostly because the big box retailers like Walmart and Target can't seem to keep up with Amazon. If you're looking for an SD card for your new camera, you will probably buy one on Amazon. If you want to buy a new office chair, it's much more likely you'll drive over to a small furniture or office supply store.....  IT CONTINUES

The Bezos Empire  (click here to enlarge)
Bezos has been fortunate in being able to leverage the massive amount of money investors have poured into Amazon during the recent easy-money low-interest-rate environment. This has translated into a self-feed loop of rapid growth. The fact is that many of the options Bezos employs to expand Amazon are available to him only because of the many areas his various companies engage in and this is the crux of growing antitrust talk. Antitrust is the part of our economic laws that deal with and relate to legislation against or opposition to trusts or combinations of businesses that create or give an unfair advantage to one competitor over another. This specific area of laws is designed to protect trade and commerce from monopolies that lead to unfair business practices and competition. Few businesses can stand up to the power of a bemouth the size of Amazon when it sets its sights on taking over and dominating their market. 

All this has been particularly hard on local merchants. Over the years the retail playing field has become very uneven when it comes to brick and mortar versus online vendors. Online retailers pay little and often nothing towards the upkeep and maintenance of local roads and infrastructure over which their goods are delivered. Laws and local enforcement policies do little to alleviate the toll shoplifting has on the profits of stores where customers are free to circulate around the goods being sold. Also, another elephant in the room is that online retailing has caused to develop a strong shadow "return market" where lazy and dishonest consumers bend the rules and buy the identical product at a local store and then return the defective Amazon product as an easy way to short-circuit having to ship an item back. This constitutes a form of theft where wealth is taken from the local merchant and transferred directly to Amazon.   

It is not by accident that even non-Amazon users and those of us who despise the company find they are constantly seeing the name appear on their computer screen and always being steered in the direction of their shopping site or dragged in the back door. It is rather proof of the company's power to control traffic over the internet. We should wonder how with all the attacks directed towards Facebook and companies like Google the Amazon name seldom is mentioned. With the Post being the most virulently pro-establishment among all large mainstream publications, not just defending establishment narratives but actively attacking anyone who challenges them we should not be surprised the current system protects the hand that feeds it. 

Current tax laws at the local, state and federal level have changed little over the years and lag far behind how business is conducted in our modern age and this feeds directly into creating an unfair advantage for Amazon which it has used as a foundation to fuel its growth. Still, even more troubling is how the company has created an environment that draws in other sellers of goods then in a predatory manner undercut their ability to compete. When you add these actions with Amazons growing influence in Washington due to its strong relationship and contracts with the CIA and deep state and its ability to drive public opinion through the Washington Post we have every reason for grave concern. Remember the proverbial saying 'power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely'.

Footnote; Below is the link to another post that explores Bezos and the Washinton Post and an article I wrote that delves into how Amazon invades every part of our lives.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the article and the link. Both excellent!