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Sherrod Brown Suggested He’d Consider Breaking Up Big Tech Companies

The federal government “hasn’t been nearly aggressive enough on antitrust issues,” the Democratic senator from Ohio told AM to DM.

Posted on November 28, 2018, at 12:19 p.m. ET

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Sherrod Brown, the Democratic senator from Ohio, suggested Wednesday that he would be open to considering support for the federal government breaking up big tech companies.

Asked on BuzzFeed News’ AM to DM if the government should break up Amazon and Facebook, Brown said, “I don’t know,” but that he’s “noticed that over the years, government hasn’t been nearly aggressive enough on antitrust issues.”

Brown pointed to issues airline mergers have caused for workers in Ohio. “It hurts workers, it hurts customers, it hurts communities,” Brown explained. “I think you use those same criteria to look at these big tech companies.”

He also pointed to his stance on net neutrality — which he has attempted to restore — as proof that he is willing to stand against wireless companies. “Progressives, as I did, stood strong with the users, not with these companies, and I think we follow that construct when we decide what to do with all of this.”

In recent months, progressive politicians like Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Ro Khanna, and representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have scrutinized companies like Amazon for their treatment of workers and for tax breaks like the one Amazon is receiving in New York City and Virginia for the split locations of its second headquarters.

In May, Sanders and Khanna introduced the Stop BEZOS Act to tax large companies for employees who receive public assistance like food stamps to pressure companies to increase their minimum wage (in October, Amazon increased its minimum wage to $15 an hour for US employees).

Later in the interview, Brown said that he’s still considering a run for president in 2020 after winning reelection in a state that has been trending further toward the Republican Party.

“My career and my message are about work and respecting work,” Brown said. “I’m hopeful that that becomes the narrative for every Democratic candidate, because the way to beat President Trump in the industrial Midwest, and the way to beat him in every community in this country, is to talk about the dignity of work and talk about honoring and respecting work.”

“If we do that and we do that in an authentic, compelling way that my career has been devoted to, whoever the candidate is will beat Trump in Ohio, and Michigan, and Pennsylvania.”

Brown also took a moment in the interview to express his admiration for Knickers, an unusually large Australian cow that has gone viral online.

“I never saw a cow like this,” Brown, who grew up around cows working on a family farm in Ohio, said. “I just wondered if this was some sort of, I don’t know, if it was some photoshop thing, but I guess it’s real, and I don’t really have much more to say about this huge cow that’s like half again as big as any cow I’ve ever tried to milk.”

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