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April 29, 2020

Andrea Beaty

Blog Post

Anti-MonopolyRevolving Door

Amazon Won’t Play Fair In Commerce Or Congress

Last week, the Wall Street Journal revealed that contrary to stated company policies, Amazon looks at proprietary information generated for third-party sellers on the platform when developing its house-brand offerings. Cases described to the Journal include Amazon engineers peeking at the total sales, profit margins, and shipping costs for a popular third-party car trunk organizer which sells on Amazon Marketplace. Amazon later used that data to help design its own, rival product. Third-party sellers have long believed that Amazon wasn’t looking at this information because…Amazon said it wasn’t looking at this information. Instead, the tech giant’s control of both the Marketplace and its own house brands grants it an anti-competitive advantage over smaller sellers who depend on Amazon’s marketplace to survive. They can’t check all of their competitors’ stats on a whim to figure out how to drive them out of business.

April 28, 2020

Miranda Litwak

Blog Post

Congressional Oversight

The SBA Was Never Prepared to Handle This

Many Americans might not have heard of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) before COVID-19. In fact, the small executive agency has been involved in the federal government’s response to some of the largest economic crises and natural disasters over the past two decades. This time around, the SBA has been thrust front and center as it attempts to administer one of the largest loan programs in our nation’s history. But if our Congressional leaders had spent time understanding the SBA’s limitations, perhaps they would have paused before giving the agency free rein to hand out billions of taxpayer dollars.

April 28, 2020

Eleanor Eagan Jeff Hauser

Blog Post

Congressional Oversight

In Interview, Donna Shalala Does Nothing to Alleviate Progressives' Concerns

Nancy Pelosi shocked onlookers earlier this month when she named freshman Representative Donna Shalala (D-FL) to the CARES Act oversight panel. Shalala had not expressed interest in the position publicly, nor does she possess specialized expertise in financial policy, congressional oversight, or law enforcement. Pelosi’s choice discouraged those holding out hope that a spirited set of appointees could somewhat overcome the panel’s structural disadvantages.

April 15, 2020

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Financial RegulationIndependent Agencies

Freshman Legislators Advance a Courageous Plan to Address Economic Fragility

This crisis has shattered any illusions that our post-financial crisis framework is resilient enough to withstand the challenges of the future. Coronavirus has, in particular, uncovered one of our most fundamental, persistent weaknesses: our continued inability to anticipate and prepare for new financial risks. For this ill-preparedness, we have powerful actors like BlackRock, the asset management giant and political titan, to thank. In an effort to avoid more stringent regulation, BlackRock and others not only evaded scrutiny for their own contributions to systemic risk, but virtually destroyed the mechanisms designed to examine such risk across the wider economy.

April 07, 2020

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Independent Agencies

March 2020 Update on the State of Independent Federal Agencies

The federal government’s independent federal agencies receive too little attention relative to their importance to our collective safety and prosperity. The Revolving Door Project has worked through multiple channels to shed light on these overlooked agencies and the threats that they face. We hope public education will generate pressure to safeguard the independence of these agencies and ensure that they are staffed with advocates for the public interest rather than corporate insiders.

March 24, 2020

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Ethics in GovernmentIndependent Agencies

SEC Must Build Public Trust in Government by Policing Federal Officials’ Crisis Profiteering

Amidst an economy-crashing pandemic, several Senators appear to be more concerned with their stock portfolios than with the well-being of their constituents or with their Senatorial responsibility to offer a solution. Sadly, this will almost certainly not be the only instance of crisis profiteering during the coronavirus outbreak.

March 20, 2020 | Center for Economic and Policy Research

Jeff Hauser Dean Baker Eileen Appelbaum Mark Weisbrot

Blog Post

Coronavirus

Trump Stimulus Plan: Still Getting Everything Wrong

Donald Trump has consistently been failing the country in dealing with the coronavirus. Due to Trump’s failed public health response, even his treasury secretary acknowledges that we are facing the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression. This is in addition to the prospect of tens of millions of people getting the coronavirus and hundreds of thousands, or even millions, dying.

March 16, 2020

Jeff Hauser Eileen Appelbaum Dean Baker Shawn Fremstad

Blog Post

Coronavirus

Concrete Solutions to Mitigate the Health and Economic Impacts of the Pandemic

The sheer weight of executive branch incompetence, that has led to an entirely uncontained pandemic in the United States, borders on the incomprehensible. Yet, here we are. The question is whether the federal government has meaningful tools available to turn a terrible situation into one that is meaningfully less terrible. The good news is that many useful ideas exist. Here is a partial list of ideas to help inform the policy conversation as we move forward.