Google is learning how to play the Washington D.C. game in a big way. This means it will likely find a way to manipulate regulatory schemes to the disadvantage of taxpayers and consumers.
Federal records show that Google employees donated just over $800,000 to President Obama's election campaign. Google has also boosted its lobbying efforts. The company spent over $5 million in lobbying fees last year, according the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP). 2011 donations include $90,000 to the Podesta Group, which is run by Tony Podesta, a prominent Democratic operative. Google has also been aligned with the far left group Moveon.org, blogger Michelle Malkin has noted. Executive Director Eric Schmidt campaigned with Obama in the final weeks of the 2008 campaign and continues to speak in favor of new government spending.
Given the company's overall political bent, it should not come as a surprise to find that it has reversed itself on potential policy changes that would allow for greater government control of the Internet. In a joint statement with Verizon, Google announced that it did not view open wireless rules has being necessary and that were now willing to accept "Net Neutrality" in some form. Seton Motley, editor-in-chief of StopNetRegulation.org, has called for bipartisan legislation that would prevent the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reclassifications that could silence political expression. He should not expect any help from Google in this area.
There is certainly an element of self-preservation at work here. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued subpoenas to Google, which could potentially open the way to anti-trust investigations. Therefore, it may feel inclined to do the bidding of Team Obama. During an appearance on ABC-TV's "This Week" in September, Schmidt called for additional stimulus money and government spending to revive the economy. Downsizing government and balancing the budget can wait, he told program hosts.
"The current strategy is ludicrious," he said. "You have a situation where the private sector sees essentially no growth in demand. The classic solution is to have the government step in and, with short-term initiatives, help stimulate that demand. If they do it right, they'll invest in income and growth producing things like highways and bridges and schools, new opportunities for the private sector to go then build businesses."
Google also appears to have a hand in promoting the federal health care bill. As Jeffrey Anderson reports over at the Weekly Standard, type Obamacare in the search engine and up pops the administration's health.gov site; not exactly a detached, disinterested source of information.
After earning its reputation as innovative, dynamic forward-looking company of the future, Google now seems determined to offer up retrograde economic ideas that have been discredited throughout history.
Google is cultivating the right friends in government, and burnishing its left wing credentials, in an effort to avoid having to operate within the parameters of the burdensome, over-regulated world the Obama administration has constructed for their competitors (and average Americans) over the past few years.