It's Google's Turn To Be Plundered
26 April 2015
By Jacob G. Hornberger
A couple of days ago, the New York Times profiled Margrethe Verstager, a
former ''minister of the economy'' in Denmark who is now serving as the
European Union's ''commissioner of competition.'' In her current position,
she is going after Google in the hopes of seizing a potential sum of $6
billion from the company.
Verstager is going after Google for supposedly violating the EU's antitrust
laws. She claims, according to the Times, that Google has been suppressing
competition by ''systematically favoring its own comparison shopping service
over those of its rivals.''
Oh, wow! Just think: favoring your own product over the product of
competitors! Oh, my gosh! What a heinous crime! I wonder why the EU isn't
criminally prosecuting Google executives.
Let's face it: raising taxes to fund Europe's ever-burgeoning welfare state
is not an easy process, politically speaking. It's much easier to plunder and
loot big, wealthy foreign companies. The process reminds me of how local
communities here in the United States impose exorbitant taxes on hotels and
motels under the idea that it's politically better to tax ''foreigners'' than
one's own residents. Or U.S. asset-forfeiture laws that enable cops to fund
their departments with cash seized from highway travelers rather than through
the normal taxing process.
Economic liberty entails the right to come up with your own product and do
your best to out-compete everyone else by providing a product that other
people are willing to pay for. Economic liberty does not require a company to
provide ''equal time'' to its competitors.
If a company succeeds in satisfying consumers, as Google obviously has, it
grows prosperous and big. But as everyone knows, consumers are a fickle
bunch. The minute they find what they consider to be a better product or
service, they're gone.
That's why you don't need government to go after big firms that achieve
success by satisfying consumers (as compared to the many firms that succeed
by satisfying public officials). If a big firm fails to continue pleasing
consumers, it loses market share and maybe even goes out of business.
If we were to examine a list of the top 30 U.S. companies in 1980, I'll bet
that very few of them are on the same list today. That's because they failed
to continue satisfying consumers. They lost market share.
This is not the first time that the EU has gone after a big American company.
In the late 1990s, the EU went after Microsoft, which was the economic
boogeyman at that time. The charge was similar to the one they are making
against Google — that it ''unfairly'' promoted its own products as part of
its operating system.
Microsoft ultimately was plundered to the tune of $2.3 billion, which
apparently satisfied the voracious EU parasites. But according to an article
in the Wall Street Journal,
Some lawyers question whether the remedies the EU applied had much effect on
Microsoft itself. Very few people purchased the special version of Windows.
Moreover, the marketplace has moved on, making requirements for Microsoft to
offer competing Internet browsers less important, given the rise of Google's
Maybe Margrethe Verstager will go after the U.S. Postal Service, a big,
abusive government monopoly that delivers mail to Europe. Don't hold your
breath. European statists love big government entities. It's the big,
successful private ones they wish to plunder and loot.