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"Amazon Policy Punishes Consumers, D.C. Suit Claims," by Ryan Tracy
Robert Kaminski quoted in Ryan Tracy's WSJ article, "Biden's Infrastructure Plan: Which Sectors Would Benefit?"
The article reads:
The lawsuit cites violations of Washington, D.C., law rather than federal law, which could limit the case’s ultimate impact. In other recent antitrust lawsuits against Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Mr. Racine joined multiple states to bring their complaints before a federal court.
“If there was an obvious antitrust problem for Amazon, that lawsuit would have been filed a long time ago,” said Robert Kaminski, an analyst with research firm Capital Alpha Partners. “The fundamental problem for antitrust hawks is that Amazon’s third-party seller platform benefits consumers.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) issued a statement supporting the suit and adding that he regretted “federal regulators failed to act sooner.”
Alex Petros, policy counsel at advocacy group Public Knowledge, which favors more regulation of large tech platforms, said the lawsuit has merit.
“Consumers are paying more than they should for what they buy online as a direct result of Amazon’s conduct,” he said.
Mr. Racine said states could join Tuesday’s action, but so far Washington, D.C., has conducted its own investigation. “We saw this…issue as an important issue that was sufficiently discrete that we, our office, could conduct the investigation and bring the suit on our own,” he said.
"Biden's Infrastructure Plan: Which Sectors Would Benefit?" by Jacob Schlesinger
Robert Kaminski quoted in Jacob Schlesinger's WSJ article, "Biden's Infrastructure Plan: Which Sectors Would Benefit?"
The article reads:
The plan aims to provide universal high-speed broadband, extending coverage to the 30 million Americans the White House says are lacking. The administration wants to throw $100 billion at the problem.
That is a boon for the industry, especially makers of the fiber lines used to create broadband systems. But beneath the top-line number, the fine print of the Biden plan suggests some losers as well.
“The fiber supply chain is a clear winner and wireless is a clear loser,” wrote analyst Robert Kaminski in a note to clients. “Despite a stated goal of technology neutrality, it would effectively force the deployment of fiber instead of more cost-effective modes,” added Mr. Kaminski, managing director of Capital Alpha Partners LLC, an investor-focused policy-research firm. “There’s also a concern that the new spending will devalue the billions already being spent on slower speeds.”
“Semiconductors are a clear winner,” Mr. Kaminski wrote, with the industry being offered “$50 billion to subsidize domestic research and manufacturing.”
Mr. Biden is invoking China’s competitive threat as a justification for his package. That argument has widespread bipartisan appeal, and members of both parties already joined hands this year on legislation providing federal incentives to boost domestic chip production and design.
"What’s on Biden’s Business and Economic To-Do List?" by Theo Francis
Robert Kaminski quoted in Theo Francis's Wall Street Journal article, "What’s on Biden’s Business and Economic To-Do List?"
The article reads:
Moreover, time is short—campaigning for the 2022 midterm elections is likely to begin in earnest early that year, narrowing the window for bipartisan action, analysts say.
“At the beginning of any administration, you have a very, very long wish list,” says Robert Kaminski, a policy analyst for Capital Alpha Partners in Washington. “Then the reality sets in: They really only have less than two years to execute.”
Similarly, major data-privacy initiatives likely require new legislation, which seems unlikely after four years of stalemate and only a very narrow Democratic majority. That could change if the filibuster is eliminated.
As for antitrust litigation, plenty is already under way. That gives the Biden administration the option to focus on continuing those cases rather than starting new ones.
“One of the tech antitrust themes we’ve been talking about was the potential for Biden having nobody left to sue,” says Capital Alpha’s Mr. Kaminski. “Can they expand the complaints? Sure. But once you add a whole country of attorneys general, there are not many stones left to be turned.”
The result will likely be pressure on the Federal Trade Commission to step up enforcement of existing privacy rules, Mr. Kaminski says.
Democrats face a dilemma in taking action against the big tech platforms, given the support the party draws from industry executives and employees alike, Mr. Kaminski said. “They find themselves in the very tenuous position of biting the hand that feeds them.”
Democrats could also seek to reinstate net-neutrality rules through the Federal Communications Commission. Any such move will likely have to wait until the administration can get Senate approval to fill a vacant FCC seat and break the commission’s 2-2 partisan tie.
On expanding broadband access, another Democratic priority, indications suggest the administration is leaning away from price controls and more toward subsidies for rural or low-income households, Mr. Kaminski says.