Do you work in a corrupt industry? The Daily Beast took a look at data gathered by Transparency International, a “global anti-corruption think tank,” and put together a list of America’s most corrupt professions. Everyone may be hating on Wall Street right now, but the worst offenders according to the criteria used are utilities. In second and third place were Wall Street and telecommunications, and media came in fifth, well before banking, insurance, or retail.
Have you been noticing more and more lately that no matter which online retailer you visit, you have to add the item to your shopping cart to see the price? Blame it on manufacturers, who are taking advantage of a 2007 Supreme Court ruling to be more aggressive about controlling pricing online, writes the New York Times.
Maybe you forgot about the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency in all the health care sound and fury, but it’s still out there, and financial companies are still very much against it. Now the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is launching an ad campaign that shifts the focus from credit card companies to smaller businesses that they insist will be affected, although the scope of the proposed agency is still kind of unclear.
Do you want to know if AT&T boosts your rates? Maybe you want to pay only for services you ordered or explicitly authorized. Tough! AT&T’s new 2,500 page “guidebook” is the latest spawn of California’s failing experiment with deregulation, one that is in “direct violation” of the law, according to the Public Utilities Commission.
“There is no indication of any change in the near future regarding the current state of competition. Market forces have not yet met the challenge of controlling price increases.”
Monsanto failed to get the FDA to ban “rBGH-free” labeling nationally, and it’s had mixed success at the state level. Now the company and its gang of ethics-free dairy farmers (those are the ones who use rBGH to increase profits, but want that truth kept out of the marketplace because it’s unpopular with consumers) have scored a significant win in Ohio this week. Yesterday the state passed a law that forces extra, rBGH-friendly fine print on every milk label that promotes itself as “rBGH-free.” The goal of the ruling: to require expensive label redesigns on competitors, and to crowd the label with unnecessary fine print in order to dilute the marketing power of the “rBGH-free” label.
Even our readers can’t agree on whether net neutrality is a good or a bad thing, so we thought we’d stoke the fire with a nice side-by-side comparison of sample broadband options for consumers in two “free markets,” the US and the UK. Art Brodsky of the Huffington Post (oops, we probably already lost half of you) writes that a British man he met while traveling showed him a spreadsheet he’d put together that compared 59 different broadband providers, so he’d know which one to do business with.
Oh jeez, we almost forgot, today is Milton Friedman day.
Mark your calendar for January 29, Milton Friedman Day, a day when the invisible hand of the marketplace takes a break and gives ol’ Miltie a reacharound.
He predicted the staglation of the 70’s and argued that the Great Depression was exacerbated by the government’s contraction of the money supply.