Money

Surprising the Mayor

In those days, the mayor of Indianapolis was a guy named Richard Lugar. Lugar was an unusual mayor, to say the least. He’d been first in his class in high school and college, had been a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and was an Eagle Scout. He was as straight-laced and honest as a country parson. …

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Joining the Force

One day I arrived at the MP station and saw a new announcement tacked up on the bulletin board. It was notifying everyone that, with the War in Vietnam winding down, nonessential personnel with only a few months left in the Army would be mustered out early. The Army needed to save money. Previously in …

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MPs on the Job!

Just one more exciting episode from the 226th Military Police Company, and then I can move on to the main part of my story. Previously in this series: “Policing Perils: Richard Lugar, Part I” Hot pursuit Legally speaking, the phrase “hot pursuit” stands as an exception to the usual rules that regulate police conduct, allowing …

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Policing Perils

Towards the end of my checkered career in the Army, I found myself stationed at Fort Benjamin Harrison, a large Army base located outside Indianapolis. I was the Traffic Sergeant for the 226th Military Police Company and we served more like a civilian police force than like a traditional MP company. The reason was that …

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The Last Word

“In the last few weeks, the [FTC] has repeatedly changed policy direction without giving the public any real notice or right to be heard.” —Noah Phillips, FTC Commissioner Previously in this series: “Academics and Europeans: Antitrust Is More Interesting Than You Think, Part XIV” I intended to end this series of posts with part 14, …

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Academics and Europeans…

I ended last week’s post by mentioning that Francis Fukuyama has proposed a novel way to control Big Tech, using so-called “middleware” companies to break the FAANGs’ control over Internet content. Previously in this series: “A Different Take on Big Tech: Antitrust Is More Interesting Than You Think, Part XIII” As I understand what Fukuyama …

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A Different Take on Big Tech

We are evaluating a variety of complaints about Big Tech to see whether our ramshackle antitrust laws represent an appropriate remedy. So far, we’ve learned that antitrust action is a clumsy approach at best. But let’s look at one more major complaint against Big Tech. Previously in this series: “The Ridiculous Instagram Case: Antitrust Is …

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The Ridiculous Instagram Case

As I noted last week, virtually everywhere we go and everything we do is subject to surveillance by government and private citizens. And the person they are looking at is actually us, not some random number linked to our computers. Previously in this series: “The Coming Missteps on Big Tech: Antitrust Is More Interesting Than …

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The Coming Missteps on Big Tech

If we thought that too many antitrust laws and enforcements were ineffectual at best and counterproductive at worst, matters are about to become even more dreadful: Most of the proposed enforcements will harm consumers without much denting the power of Big Tech. Previously in this series: “How to Handle the FAANGs: Antitrust Is More Interesting …

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How to Handle the FAANGs

“Consumers won’t thank antitrust enforcers for repeating the mistakes of the past.” —Jessica Melugin, Competitive Enterprise Institute Previously in this series: “Laissez-Faire vs. the Progressives: Antitrust Is More Interesting Than You Think, Part IX” The so-called Chicago School approach to antitrust enforcement has many fathers and they rarely agree on much. In addition, the school …

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Laissez-Faire vs. the Progressives

From the date of enactment of the first antitrust laws during the Roman Republic right up to the present moment, there have really been only three theories that have addressed the proper role of a government in controlling anticompetitive behavior. Previously in this series: “Government Missteps: Antitrust Is More Interesting Than You Think, Part VIII” …

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Government Missteps: Let Me Count the Ways

By the mid-twentieth century, antitrust enforcement in the United States had become far more sophisticated than it had been for the first six decades after the Sherman Act was passed in 1890. Unfortunately, the ratio of success-to-fiasco remained roughly constant. Previously in this series: “The Weird Inconsistencies of Trust Busting: Antitrust Is More Interesting Than …

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On Inflation

So many people have asked about my views on inflation that I’m pausing my antitrust series to address the topic. Back to antitrust next week. “If [Biden] succeeds, the President will cast 40 years of economic doctrine on history’s ash heap. But that’s a big if.” — Michael Hirsh, in Foreign Policy In my day …

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What a Year. What Now? Part III

Pittsburgh Quarterly asked the region’s top experts to respond to these questions: As the U.S. economy gradually recovers from the pandemic, which sectors of the market do you like now? How are you positioning client portfolios? We thank them for giving readers their responses, which follow. Read part one and part two. Linda Duessel, Federated …

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The Weird Inconsistencies of Trust Busting

Last week, I suggested that the enforcement of America’s antitrust laws has made little sense since the Sherman Act was adopted in 1890. In fact, the word that comes to mind is “fiasco.” Previously in this series: “Making Monopoly Illegal: Antitrust Is More Interesting Than You Think, Part VI” I mentioned earlier in this series …

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What a Year. What Now? Part II

Pittsburgh Quarterly asked the region’s top experts to respond to these questions: As the U.S. economy gradually recovers from the pandemic, which sectors of the market do you like now? How are you positioning client portfolios? We thank them for giving readers their responses, which follow. Read part one here. Jim Wilding, Confluence Financial Partners …

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Making Monopoly Illegal

When people who don’t like free markets (i.e., almost everybody in academia) talk about antitrust law, they almost always begin by saying something like this: “One of the core defects of market economies is the inevitability of monopolistic practices.” Previously in this series: “The Tricks of the Trade: Antitrust Is More Interesting Than You Think, …

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The Tricks of the Trade

The plaintiff’s law firm wanted to impress their client with how important the case was to them, and so there were never fewer than five lawyers at the plaintiff’s table. Plus, of course, the plaintiff himself. Previously in this series: “Fighting the ‘Big’ New York Law Firm: Antitrust Is More Interesting Than You Think, Part …

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What a Year. What Now? Part I

Pittsburgh Quarterly asked the region’s top experts to respond to these questions: As the U.S. economy gradually recovers from the pandemic, which sectors of the market do you like now? How are you positioning client portfolios? We thank them for giving readers their responses, which follow. Win Smathers, Shorebridge Wealth Management We manage diversified portfolios …

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Fighting the “Big” New York Law Firm

Here are more vignettes to show you what it was like to try a case — a big case — with Mr. W, the senior Reed Smith partner who looked terrific but whose elevator didn’t seem to go all the way to the top floor. After that I’ll return to my original topic: “Antitrust Is …

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How Was I Supposed to Know?

Mr. W was mostly trying other cases during the week, so we prepared for Big Steel v. Bigger Steel on weekends. Every Saturday and Sunday morning, I would stroll into the Reed Smith conference room at precisely 9 a.m., and every Saturday and Sunday morning, Mr. W would look up at me and say, “Dear …

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Me and Mr. W

After I posted last week’s blog, a large number of people wrote in to ask how the private antitrust case turned out: Did I actually get eaten by rats? Did the case go to trial or settle? Did we win or lose? Previously in this series: “Antitrust Is More Interesting Than You Think” Your Humble …

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