Thursday, October 22, 2009

Who's Running America?

In an economy where “too big to fail” has become an epithet, the government nonetheless not only permits, but seems to encourage large firms to swallow smaller firms, creating more “too big to fail” entities in the process and facilitating the reduction of workforces while passing “stimulus” bills to create jobs.

My wife is bemused by my ongoing expectation of logic in government.

Oracle, the world’s largest database software maker, some months ago announced the purchase of Sun Microsystems, which owns MySQL database software. I won’t bore you with the details, but users of the latter database are less than ecstatic about that news, and consider the purchase to be anti-competitive. The US government has no such fears and promptly approved the merger. The European Union, being much less of a corporatist state than the US, said “not so fast” and has put the merger on hold while it studies the issue.

You may recall the EU has also been a bit noncompliant with marching orders issued by Microsoft. It seems the EU has a somewhat different definition of “monopoly” than the US does, and the difference might have to do with bribes campaign contributions. American firms cannot give bribes campaign contributions to European politicians, but they can, and do, to American politicians.

You may also recall that when a European airplane maker won a contract to provide tankers for the Air Force, Congress overturned the award. Seems European firms cannot give bribes campaign contributions to American politicians either, but American firms can and, of course, do.

Now that we have that all straightened out, Sun Microsystems is anticipating that the American government will prevail over the European Union, or they are assuming that Oracle is more powerful than the American government and the European Union combined, which may be the operative assumption. In any case, they have announced the layoff of 3000 workers, who will not be needed once Oracle takes them over.

Congress is considering a bill to extend unemployment benefits again.

Forbes, "September Leading Indicators Up 1.0% Vs 0.8% Expected"

Headline at CNNMoney, "Jobless claims dent recovery hopes"

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