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Permission To Prosper, Sir?

One of the more infuriating aspects of government overreach surrounds anti-trust laws and regulations.

From Investopedia:

Antitrust laws also referred to as competition laws, are statutes developed by the U.S. government to protect consumers from predatory business practices. They ensure that fair competition exists in an open-market economy.

That doesn’t sound wrong, does it? Everyone wants fair competition. Putting aside the fact that we haven’t had a truly open-market economy since right after the Civil War, in our current business environment we at least act like there is capitalism in America.

Except for this.

T-Mobile US Inc. and Sprint Corp. jumped as Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said he’ll recommend his agency approve the companies’ $26.5 billion merger, turning attention to whether the deal also will win a needed clearance from antitrust regulators.

Approval from the Justice Department antitrust division “seems likely” since it never has diverged from the FCC on a merger, said Paul Gallant, a Washington-based analyst for Cowen & Co. It’s now “almost assured” the deal will win FCC approval, Gallant said in a note.

The deal announced last year to combine the third- and fourth-largest U.S. wireless service providers needs approval from both authorities to succeed. The companies told the FCC they would sell Sprint’s Boost prepaid brand, build an advanced 5G network over three years, and pledge not to raise prices while the network is being constructed.

Don’t get me wrong. Most signs point to Ajit Pai being a pro-business FCC Chairman, and it’s a good thing he’s “approving” the merger of the two telecom giants. But what drives me nuts is this need for these two companies to get permission in the first place.

Organizations merge and one company buys another for a number of reasons like swallowing up the competition, preparing for additional growth, taking advantage of a market or technology they don’t currently have, etc. Whatever the reason a merger or acquisition is, in the eyes of management, the best use of resources and the most efficient way to produce growth and profit. If it weren’t better for both companies to become one, they wouldn’t do it.

So why do we care what the government says about our own business? They get the revenue from taxing the sale of the business in its various forms and, in all likelihood, the government will make more money on tax revenue resulting from a larger and more efficiently-run organization.

I get it that certain technologies like ISPs (internet service providers) and telecoms are becoming utilities like power companies, but that doesn’t mean we operate “by government leave.” The government knows the least about successfully running a business except how much to tax and regulate it.

Leave us alone, government. Let us do our thing.

Michael Cummings

Michael A. Cummings has a Bachelors in Business Management from St. John's University in Collegeville, MN, and a Masters in Rhetoric & Composition from Northern Arizona University. He has worked as a department store Loss Prevention Officer, bank auditor, textbook store manager, Chinese food delivery man, and technology salesman. Cummings wrote position pieces for the 2010 Trevor Drown for US Senate (AR) and 2012 Joe Coors for Congress (CO) campaigns.

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