The tech industry’s new Chamber of Progress diverts attention away from thorny tech policy issues

Delta CEO Ed Bastian spoke out against the Georgia voting law, under threat of boycotts. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Two years ago Google fired its chief lobbyist of twelve years, mostly it seems for having been so darn good at his job. Adam Kovacevich was a longtime Joe Lieberman flack and an inveterate astroturf activist: the son of a central California grape grower, he led his first grassroots campaign from his Harvard dorm room, to break the dining hall’s United Farm Worker’s-inspired grape boycott. When he came aboard the Not Yet Evil empire in 2007, Google didn’t even have a dedicated lobbyist, though it was spending all of six figures a year retaining four outside lobbying firms.

Kovacevich centralized…

Source: SEIU 1199
Source: SEIU 1199

Understaffed elder care facilities lost 175,000 residents to Covid, then laid off 12% of workers. But their landlords are doing $well.

When Covid-19 began exterminating everyone around her a year ago, Gloria Duquette thought Genesis Healthcare did a pretty okay job. The biggest nursing home chain in America owns one of the three senior care facilities in which Duquette works as a nursing assistant, and Genesis was the first to give all the workers hazard pay and N95 masks. When she showed up to work wearing one at her morning job at the St. Mary Home in West Hartford, Connecticut, “they laughed at me,” she remembers. “They said, there’s no Covid in the building.” But the Covid was everywhere: and St…

When did Big Tech gatekeepers from Apple to DoorDash decide they were entitled to a third of the internet’s sales?

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks via video conference to the House Judiciary Subcommittee during an antitrust hearing in July. Photo: Graeme Jennings-Pool/Getty

An unlikely trend in local governance started taking hold last spring while most Americans were still sewing their own face masks. Starting in San Francisco, American cities and later whole states began enacting extremely simple regulations designed to soften the financial blow of a malign force choking America’s most vulnerable businesses with extreme commissions. The bills passed too quickly for lobbyists to festoon them in loopholes or deliberately ambiguous language, and they were such obvious no-brainers that copycat bills eventually passed in some 73 municipalities, in the end saving probably thousands of merchants from financial ruin.

The laws were the…

Abandoning the Fight for $15 just weeks after embracing it was an insult to American workers. But Joe Biden’s stealth appointment of Prop 22 creator Seth Harris may be even worse.

Fasil Teka speaks to a crowd of Uber and Lyft drivers at a protest in Seattle in 2018. (Photo by Genna Martin/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

Twenty years ago a law professor went out to eat at a New Jersey diner with his wife and 15-month-old son. The toddler threw a tantrum and all his food on the floor; the waitress expertly defused the tensions and mopped up the mess; and the official, Seth Harris, made some polite small talk with the woman who, as it turned out, was a single mother of three.

Having been on the tantrum-defusing, chucked food removing end of this transaction literally hundreds of times — I’ve also been the fool who took a small screaming barbarian to a nice restaurant…

If all goes as planned the invincible American stock market will today mint three new billionaires: the thirtysomething co-founders of the food delivery app DoorDash, a company that pays its workers $1.45 an hour and just spent around $51.5 million preserving its right to keep doing that in the nation’s most populous state.

To most who’ve had dealings with the company, the “success” of DoorDash is something of a mystery: it claims more than half of the nation’s delivery app market share, but it crashes completely no less than twice a month; it chronically sends drivers to restaurants that are…

Restaurant are dying at a record rate—but insurance companies won’t bail them out

Photo illustration source: Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images

In the early days of the pandemic, Rosa Thurnher did what every restaurant owner did and leaned into the impossibility of the circumstance: She learned basic code and pivoted to takeout, applied for grants and a Paycheck Protection Program loan for her Mexican restaurant, El Ponce in Atlanta. She signed up to turn out $10 meals for charity to give hours to her cooks, held fundraisers, and sourced personal protective equipment and takeout boxes. “It was a full-time job just attending all the webinars I did,” she remembers, almost fondly. “First-world problems, right?”

Most restaurant people have similar stories: Boston…

How pizza won the pandemic—and Sweetgreen got left behind

A pizza box, a bucket of drumsticks, and a salad bowl in free fall, as the pizza and drumsticks bucket high-five each other.
A pizza box, a bucket of drumsticks, and a salad bowl in free fall, as the pizza and drumsticks bucket high-five each other.
Illustration: Erik Blad

The best meal I had all pandemic cost $1.14 and took about 90 seconds to make. It was a Margherita pizza inhaled in the car on a desolate day in late April. I know the precise cost because my husband is the chef who made it: 61 cents for a few slices of fresh buffalo mozzarella, 24 cents for the San Marzano tomatoes and salt, a quarter for enough basil leaves to supply the rest of the menu’s needs for free, and just 11 cents for the dough, made from a mix of top-shelf imported Italian flours. …

Moe Tkacik

senior fellow at the American Economic Liberties Project, co-founder of Jezebel, former Wall Street Journal reporter, off-again waitress, mommy

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