Some people aren’t appreciating the irony as much as we are.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
October 20th, 2008: The Wall Street Journal reported that Google CEO Eric Schmidt was campaigning on behalf of Barack Obama’s bid for the presidency. The article reported that “[…] Mr. Schmidt said in an interview that ‘I’m doing this personally,’ adding that ‘Google is officially neutral’ in the campaign.”
Fast forward to May 5th, 2009: The AP reports that Obama plans to raise taxes on corporate America’s overseas profits, stating that “If Obama’s proposal becomes law, the hard-hit companies would include tech bellwethers like Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM Corp., Cisco Systems Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Google Inc.”
But maybe Mr. Schmidt was being Obama’s advocate to fend off the anti-trust dogs of the Department of Justice. After all, under the Bush administration the DOJ was watching Google’s every move. Sure, back in October he said “My sense is, the Justice Department makes judgments on these issues independent of politics. It would be unfair to Justice to imply [that supporting Sen. Obama] would make a difference.” Well, hopefully he believed what he said and it wasn’t just a political smokescreen, because now the Department of Justice is revving their engine and setting their sights squarely on Google. As reported by tech-industry news source (and another Obama supporter) TechCrunch: “The Obama Administration’s new chief antitrust enforcer at the Department of Justice, Christine Varney, is making it very clear that she is going to be much more aggressive in bringing antitrust actions against large, American corporations. The Bush Administration took a hands-off approach to antitrust enforcement, and that is about to change. Varney needs a high-profile case to make her name, and all indications are that she is eying Google.”
Two reasons come to mind why the Obama administration would be targeting Google:
1) Google has deep pockets; the Federal Government is swamped with debt. Is any further explanation really necessary?
2) Google is getting involved in the digital medical records game, most recently teaming up with drugstore giant CVS. From a privacy perspective, we’re not in favor of digital medical records at all; the ease of unauthorized people gaining access to electronic records is frightening. We also don’t believe that digitizing these records should be mandatory, but should be left up to the individual. But if there are going to be digital medical records, and if the free market is offering something that is a better alternative than the government offering, then we need the government offering…. why? Answer: only to increase government control over yet another industry, and employ even more government employees.
Dollars to donuts, when the dust settles from the DOJ antitrust persecution of Google, not only will Google have to pay massive fines, but Google Health will be either axed completely as part of the agreement, or Google will cede control of it over to the Federal Government in lieu of paying a huge fine.
So is this why we’re basking in the rich glow of irony?
In part. It’s just one example of many. But they’re all neatly summed up by an article in Britain’s Telegraph which quotes a top Obama fundraiser and hedge fund manager as saying, “I’m appalled at the anti-Wall Street rhetoric. It was OK on the campaign but now it’s the real world. I’m surprised that Obama is turning out to be so left-wing.”
Welcome to the real world, comrade. And as you watch your hard work taxed into oblivion and your freedoms are ripped out of your hands just remember: you voted for him. You’re getting exactly what you deserve.