Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Netflix lobbies Washington, Google lobbies press

Jerry Stratton, April 10, 2012

Whirlpool Galaxy

An infinite mass of unread bills sucks all life out of the economy.

Two related items in the news yesterday, both on Techmeme: Netflix has created a political action committee, and Google is wooing the attendees to the White House Correspondents’ Association.

A new-technology company hiring lobbyists is no longer news. Google did it in 2005. Even a PAC is hardly a big deal—Google did that in 2006.

Dinosaur industries have long lobbied Washington to keep their competitors out, even when, as in media companies, their competitors are keeping them alive. Both Netflix and Google have had to face that over the last several years.

Unless we can reform Washington by taking away their power to make the sweeping changes that require companies to hire lobbyists, new companies must have lobbying arms to keep Washington from killing their business. Even if a company is lucky enough to create an entirely new industry with no dinosaur competition to lobby against them, as soon as that company starts to make money, Congress creates milker bills to force them into lobbying.

Once they hire lobbyists in order to stay alive, it’s a very small step to using those lobbyists against their own competitors. It’s a black hole for the economy.

Meanwhile, Google is taking another step: lobbying the national press in much the same way they used to lobby technologists: free food. The White House Correspondents’ Association is normally dominated by Hollywood, which shapes the media’s reporting on issues important to the movie industry. Google, I’m guessing, has decided to get in on that action. How the media presents a case can be as important as how much direct lobbying goes on in the halls of Congress.

With the movie industry calling Google “Enemy No. 1” it makes sense for Google to vie with the movie industry for the national press’s favors. But it moves us another step toward the bureaucracy event horizon.

I wonder how often the New York Times and CNN create milker articles?

In response to The Bureaucracy Event Horizon: Government bureaucracy is the ultimate broken window.

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