28 Comments
Dec 7, 2023Liked by Matt Stoller

You don’t appoint Lina Khan, a person who was well known to be pro aggressive antitrust enforcement by accident. The ant-Biden nonsense that people put out is really over the top.

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TIP from a subscriber. Matt, thanks for your hard work and dedication. My wife and I have been Marriott timeshare owners since 1999. When we bought, we had a two-bedroom week at a resort that we could trade through Interval International where there were 2000 resorts to choose from. We could break our unit into a studio apartment and a one-bedroom apartment and get 2 weeks for the one week.

About a decade ago, Marriott stopped selling the timeshare weeks and came up with a points system ("Destination Points," "Trust Points"). For the same amount in maintenance fees, I could not stay one week in my home resort if I choose to convert my week to the new points, but I do have more flexibility in that I can choose any length of stay -- not just a week.

Now Marriott has bought the Interval International exchange and may be manipulating what happens to my week if I deposit it to benefit themselves. Also, they bought 3 of the 4 biggest competitor timeshare companies. They now own Hyatt, Sheraton, and Weston. They've also been buying hotel chains like crazy. Only Hilton (which bought the much smaller Diamond Resorts) is now offering any kind of competition to Marriott.

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I'm a passionate advocate for rent control/rent stabilization, opponent of private-equity intrusion into the housing market, and believer that the homeless crisis is 90% caused by the uncontrolled increase in rents, especially since Covid. Yesterday I was read online that "On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) and U.S. Representative Adam Smith (D-WA-09) introduced the "End Hedge Fund Control of American Homes Act" in both chambers of Congress, seeking to push institutional investors out of the U.S. housing market.

The bill aims not only to ban "hedge funds" from amassing large portfolios of single-family homes but also to force them to sell off their portfolio. The bill would require “hedge funds” to “sell at least 10% of the total number of single-family homes they currently own to families per year over a 10-year period. After a 10-year full phase-out, all hedge funds will be completely banned from owning any single-family homes.” Did I read this on a news site? No. On the 'Housing is a Human Right' advocacy group email in my inbox? No. I read it on ResiClub <lance@resiclubanalytics.com> , an industry email that I somehow got signed up for because I own rental property. This seems like groundbreaking news to me, I haven't the slightest hope that this legislation will pass, but it's a start. There's also a ballot initiative on the November 2024 ballot in California to permit CA cities and municipalities to pass rent control/rent stabilization laws, which is currently illegal in 30 states (thanks to ALEC-drafted and promoted legislation, I suspect). Why isn't this bigger news?

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TIP from a subscriber. Matt, thanks for your hard work and dedication. My wife and I have been Marriott timeshare owners since 1999. When we bought, we had two-bedroom week at a resort that we could trade through Interval International where there were 2000 resorts to choose from. We could break our unit into a studio apartment and a one-bedroom apartment and get 2 weeks for the one week.

About a decade ago, the stopped selling the timeshare weeks and cme up with a points system ("Destination Points," "Trust Points"). For the same amount in maintenance fees, I could not stay one week in my home resort if I choose to convert my week to the new points, but I do have more flexibility in that I can choose any length of stay -- not just a week.

Now Marriott has bought the Interval International exchange and may be manipulating what happens to my week if I deposit it to benefit themselves. Also, they bought 3 of the 4 biggest competitor timeshare companies. They now own Hyatt, Sheraton, and Weston. They've also been buying hotel chains like crazy. Only Hilton (which bought the much smaller Diamond Resorts) is now offering any kind of competition to Marriott.

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I have said this before: the Democratic Establishment doesn't exist to govern - it exists to prevent anyone who is serious about reducing wealth inequality from ever holding office.

So it doesn't matter if they win - if they block anyone who might even consider bringing back some of the protections of the New Deal, they will be showered with donations when they are in office, and o̶u̶t̶r̶i̶g̶h̶t̶ ̶b̶r̶i̶b̶e̶s̶ generous speaking fees, book deals, and low stress/high pay sinecures when they get out of office.

Biden is almost certainly going to lose. It doesn't matter. If they switch to someone who isn't a complete corporate shill throwing crumbs at an increasingly angry and desperate electorate, they will lose their backing.

Once you start looking at them this way, their ineffectual and self-defeating actions are no longer confusing.

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There is no doubt that the GOPe are anti-antitrust, but their influence is waining as Trump/MAGA gains ground. Over at the Conservative Treehouse (CTH) who follows such things, the GOP house is now 50/50 MAGA/GOPe, and it’s the GOPe reps who are retiring. Needless to point out, but the MAGA crowd despises Big Tech, Big Pharma, Big Media and Wall St. Change is coming whether Trump wins or not.

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founding

"...that agenda should include overdue tax and regulatory reform, but it should go further and include antitrust enforcement against corporate monopolies.” A confusing agenda, indeed: "regulatory reform" is certain to cripple the administrative state, including the FTC, so from where will come the will and the power to take on the monopolists?

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Jetblue-Spirit judge "has come to see himself as a central planner responsible for the airline industry instead of a judge upholding a fairly clear law." Such an important point. Antitrust exceptionalism run amok.

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Lack of housing stock is a myth ginned up by - who? Developers. Tucson is a forest of for-rent signs like I haven't seen in six years. I have two apartments on the market in the mid-price range, I haven't had any calls in a month. The low end of the rental market was $400 - $450 for a one-bedroom when I arrived here in 2017, now the lowest available rental is $756 for a studio (one room), rentals are done 90% online, and you have to upload proof of income of 2.5 times the annual rent (around $32k annually) before the application form will let you proceed to the application. The minimum social security payment is $970-ish per month. The alternative is for taxpayers to subsidize the lowest end of the rental market (with purpose-built low-income housing currently priced at $400/sq ft in Tucson), so that institutional landlords and private equity companies can have a free hand with rent increases. I'm aware that the 'rational market' is supposed to work, and maybe absent money in politics it would work better than it does - but maybe not.

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add, not totally a monopoly issue, or is it? by or from past consolidations?

Chase bank, OK, I read report-article, I say week ago. this IS NOT Same report tho.

THIS is, Just what I pulled up googling it now.

BUT, what got me on first reading this, WHY the hell is JP Morgan - chase bank getting over $260 Million from just ONE State. Over and suing for Lose "Subsidies" which is by defining Gov. funds.

Why is to me, one of the ones that made or help in the making of the Housing bust- issue, getting Gov. funds now in first place. but it was explained here as to WHY?

short to me, why the Hell in first place. is to me still in question, making of jobs,, lol

https://www.politico.com/news/2023/11/23/new-jersey-jp-morgan-russia-00128528

From article here:

"The state Treasury Department had begun the process to blacklist JP Morgan Chase, the largest bank in the world, as well as Xerox and the American subsidiary of Tarkett, a major turf field supplier and flooring company, according to public records obtained by POLITICO through the Open Public Records Act. (Xerox has since divested from Russia and federal officials have encouraged JP Morgan to maintain a limited Russian presence as of November 2022, according to Bloomberg.)"

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