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As I See It

Finally, some concern about monopolies



So, suddenly we are concerned about monopolies again? Throughout U.S. history, some companies have become so big and powerful they have been labeled monopolies, and in some cases they were shut down or the laws were changed. That came to mind yesterday with news that the federal government announced it is suing to prevent a possible merger in the airline industry between Spirit and JetBlue. The fear is that fewer airlines mean fewer choices and higher prices for consumers. Although it has hardly been consistent, the government has stepped in to prevent monopolies before. The breakup of Ma Bell comes to mind, as does the dissolving of Standard Oil, which at one point controlled 90% of the oil in the U.S. and became the most profitable company in the world. But sometimes the government turns a blind eye to monopolies. How many beer companies are left? Not many. Anheuser Busch controls about 45% of the U.S. market. Amazon, Meta and Google all seem to have monopolies in their respective fields. And of course ask any Taylor Swift fan about the monopoly that is Ticketmaster. It is good that our government is protecting consumers by working to break up monopolies, but their efforts seem inconsistent at best.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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  1. Darin

    March 8, 2023 at 7:27 am

    Can’t believe you didn’t even casually mention the G. Heileman Brewery’s attempt to buy Schlitz. The attempt was blocked out of fears there would be a midwest beer monopoly. As a result, Schlitz went under and Heilemens became so weak they became a target for a corporate raider from Australia… and La Crosse lost a big chunk of the city’s own identity in the process.

  2. nick

    March 8, 2023 at 8:22 am

    Your comments regarding the airline merger are absurd.
    The Biden administration every time it has gone to court to block a merger has been laughed out of court as having no case.

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