AT&T is a prime example of how the conservative economic view of the world does not work out for anyone other than the top one percent. After being gifted tens of billions of dollars in the Republican tax giveaway, the telecom giant has proceeded to layoff thousands upon thousands of workers. In fact, since the 2017 tax “cuts,” every couple of months AT&T announces new rounds of layoffs and store closures. When AT&T was set to merge with Time Warner at the beginning of 2017, the Trump administration put up a big theatrical production about being tough on the clear monopoly, all the while never really having any seeming intention of blocking it. In fact, it came out later that many of Trump’s closest allies were wetting their beaks, getting some of that famed pay to play money behind the scenes, from AT&T.
There were all kinds of reasons to not allow AT&T and Time Warner to merge, not least of all the terrible track record that AT&T (and frankly every other telecom in the United States) has of failing to complete any of the promises they make. Promises they break when taking taxpayer money to do things like deliver low-income internet access. But AT&T made a lot of promises and they got their merger through. Now, Jared Newman over at Fast Company reports that AT&T promise to offer up a cheap streaming service, Watch TV, has been abandoned. In one respect, having offered the service for over a year, AT&T almost tripled the amount of time it pretended to keep one of its promises!
In order to get the merger through, AT&T argued that there would not be price hikes—there have been and continue to be relentless price hikes. They promised that their ownership of the new content they would acquire in the merger would not lead to leveraging that content to drive viewership away from other streaming services in competition with them—that was a lie.
AT&T’s merger has not helped the telecom company make the television splash they had hoped. The billions in debt that they acquired in the merger has been the main reason cited for the tens of thousands of layoffs they have made over the past two years. Maybe they just need another $42 billion tax break?