An open letter to Senator Mike Lee: Is grappling with Google good for the US or Utah?

senator lee takes on google
Photo courtesy of Google Images

Senator Mike Lee wants to punish a company for doing well – a private company that employs thousands of people inside the United States (something the federal government has been either directly or indirectly taking away from Americans for years as the cost to a home-based business endeavor confronts increasingly impossible hurdles).

(See story here: Lee takes on Google)

The company’s critics argued Wednesday that with Google giving less space to competitors in its search results, and with the company being the Internet’s de facto gatekeeper, smaller companies have trouble winning users — and consumers suffer by having fewer choices.” – Washington Post article.

So, Google has learned how to become relevant during a time that other private companies haven’t figured out how to be so. Google is doing well; and I’d wager that because Google doesn’t give in to the government (like the auto dealers and banks have), the federal government feels like it needs to (or wants to) step in and take control. If you ask me, the government is looking to get a piece of the pie.

Private business owners everywhere are feeling the heat of federal and local regulation, as well as changes that consumers are being groomed to demand. Companies, like media organizations, are realizing that if they don’t offer more than one product and find ways to adapt online (such as now using digital media rather than relying solely on newsprint), they will go under.

Radio stations realize they must offer news not just on-air, but online and on video forums, as well. Journalists are becoming masters at writing for both print and broadcast. No longer do we have to learn the difference between a monthly, weekly and daily publication; now we need to know how to write for online, television and radio media at the same time. These are all different ways of delivering the same news, and it is what the consumers want. Online and print advertising isn’t enough to sustain a news staff, so many of us offer “daily deals” and other services that give our consumers more, and theoretically keep the news side afloat.

We are adapting. At the same time, the over-regulation by local, state and federal governments has hurt many small business owners more than has the decline of sales to consumers. In one case, a local business owner in St. George, Utah, had to let his employees go when his unemployment insurance was raised this year from approximately $800 a quarter to nearly $3,000 a quarter. That was a cost his business could not sustain.

A couple college students in Washington County have learned the hard way that they could go through the process of opening a business in town, but even after they paid to make changes to their building to meet city codes as well as fire regulations, and pay for their business license, they can still be denied by the city council which doesn’t want their business in the area. They aren’t sure if they want to spend more money, while risking being denied regardless.

But Google has figured it out. And a few people don’t like it. Its adversaries want to see Google knocked down, to give the little guy a chance (remember when Google’s founders were the little guy?).  And Senator Lee has decided he wants to fight this battle.  He really is fighting it, he has taken his assault to the nation’s Congress in a provocative effort to gain its support for the attack.

Senator Lee, may I ask you, do we truly have nothing more worthy going on that might actually affect Utah that you could be focusing on – you know, the people who elected you? Why is it that when the banks and auto dealers needed bailing out, there was no investigation. But you feel you have the time (and taxpayer money) to be throwing away investigating a company you yourself aren’t sure has done anything wrong, let alone illegal, a company that employs thousands of Americans? Google is a company that actually does generate revenue from servicing people beyond our own borders, how often do we see that in this current consumer-oriented environment that outsources more than it produces? Maybe you’d rather see companies continue to leave our country and take our jobs elsewhere because of the over-regulation of our federal government.

In a free market, we would have allowed businesses to fail that should have failed in the natural course of their own business and fiscal management, e.g. auto dealers and banks. Instead, they were given taxpayer money to falsely inflate business profiles that should have fallen flat on their faces. Nevermind the arguments for economy stimulus and that one of those auto companies bought itself back to some extent, they all enjoyed the benefits of the US Bankruptcy Code, filing and continuing forward simultaneously with the benefit of the federal bailout.

Had the taxpayers been able to keep that money, they would have used it more wisely. This is what happens when government injects itself into the free market: Our economy is failing, our dollar has lost its value, the price of used cars is extremely high because there are fewer of them and now a limited supply of used car parts to maintain them; and to top it off, Americans are watching their jobs go overseas because people like the nation’s Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, would rather harness the power of his position to, for example, stop the mining on the Arizona Strip, mining that has generated jobs and resources both locally and to this country for decades, and deliver an edict that says, why continue that? Let’s send it to another country! Are we to send the erstwhile employees of all these companies oversees to earn a living and support their most basic needs?

Rather than focusing on real issues, Senator Lee, you are going after a company that started from nothing with the ingenuity of young up-and-coming entrepreneurs, and found itself driven to success by consumer demand. Let the free market work and stop involving the federal government where it has no place being involved.

jwatkins@stgnews.com
@CallMeJen27

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