The upcoming merger between Comcast and Time Warner has many people demanding the government step in and prevent it. Such demands are amusing to me because anybody demanding the government stop the merger is really demanding that Comcast stop the merger. Comcast is the government. It bought its shares fairly through some amazing lobbying effort:
On the first night of the Olympics, Comcast (CMCSA) threw a big party at the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue, a short walk from the U.S. Capitol. About 700 guests, including congressional aides and administration officials, drank chilled vodka, made s’mores over indoor fire pits, and had their photos taken with former Olympic athletes.
As Comcast, the largest U.S. cable company, seeks the federal government’s approval for a $45.2 billion deal to buy No. 2 Time Warner Cable (TWC), the company, and Cohen, are everywhere in Washington—pressing their case with members of Congress and their staffs by day and entertaining them by night. In 2013, Comcast spent $18.8 million on lobbying, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, more than any company except defense contractor Northrop Grumman (NOC).
When a company throws around money like that they usually get whatever they want. Even if the government prevents a direct merger between Comcast and Time Warner (which they probably won’t) there will be some form of backdoor deal that allows the two companies to effectively act as one.
Many people mistakenly believe that the United States government is of the people and for the people. In reality it is more like a giant corporation. Members of Congress are the shares and anybody can buy in through the lobbyist firms that are political stock exchanges. When an organization wants political favor it merely buys enough shares to make it happen.