The news this week that lawmakers on Capitol Hill are launching a probe of the power of big tech just as federal regulators are reportedly set to begin investigating Amazon and Google over antitrust concerns is sending shockwaves through Silicon Valley, as the tech giants have long escaped such scrutiny due to their excessive lobbying budgets and public affairs programs.
Amazon in particular has become a menace for many on the far left, such as 2020 presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, and some in the traditional conservative wing such as Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.
While conservatives typically recoil at the idea of government regulation of private business (and it’s my belief that it should be our absolute last course of action), there is another path to holding these out-of-control tech companies in check. We should end the billions in corporate welfare that these companies receive from the federal government.
And when you start examining which of these companies has most successfully maneuvered the swamp to enrich themselves the most through cronyism off the backs of the taxpayers, one company stands above the rest: Amazon.
Amazon, like the big banks before the financial crisis, acts unaccountably because of access to billions in cheap taxpayer dollars secured through the revolving door.
While it would be wrong to treat Amazon worse than any other private-sector actor, it also would be wrong to treat it better. There is no reason for gratuitous favoritism toward Amazon, just as there was no reason for states and cities to race to compete with each other to lavish funds on Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world.
And for liberals concerned with the "low-wages" Amazon pays their employees and their artificially low prices and shipping costs that has put numerous small businesses out of business, they should remember that Amazon and Bezos only can undertake such actions because of the billions in public subsidies they receive that prop them up.
Charlie Kirk is the founder and president of Turning Point USA, a conservative nonprofit that aims to educate students on free-market values. You can follow him on Twitter @CharlieKirk11.