fbpx

Posts

“Jason Furman and Joshua Wright Debate: Do Digital Platforms Require a New Regulatory Regime?” (Two Think Minimum)

by , and

Tom Lenard:

Good afternoon! I’m Tom Lenard, a Senior Fellow and President Emeritus at TPI, and welcome to TPI’s debate: “Be it resolved: We need a new regulatory regime for digital platforms.” The notion of a new regulatory regime for large digital platforms, perhaps administered by a new regulatory agency, is gaining increasing traction and has been recommended by at least four major reports from leading government and academic institutions over the last two years. The basic same running through all these reports is that even aggressive antitrust enforcement is not sufficient to constrain the market power of large digital platforms such as Amazon, Facebook, and Google, and that we therefore need a new regulatory regime to supplement antitrust enforcement. Perhaps the most prominent of the reports recommending a new digital regulatory regime was produced last year, by the UK’s Digital Competition Expert Panel, chaired by one of our debaters today, Jason Furman.

Jason is a professor of the practice of economics at Harvard Kennedy School and the Department of Economics and has held a number of prominent government positions, including Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors from 2013 to 2017. Jason will be arguing for the resolution. Arguing against the resolution will be Josh Wright, who was a university professor at the Scalia Law school at George Mason University and Executive Director of the Global Antitrust Institute there. Josh was a member of the Federal Trade Commission from 2013 to 2015. 

Tom Lenard:

The debate will take half an hour, and we’re going to start with three-minute opening statements with Jason going first. So Jason, if you could lead off, please.

Jason Furman:

Great. I’m so honored and thrilled to be here. I think Josh is consistently thoughtful, smart, and just to raise expectations in him and lower them for me, a highly trained professional in the antitrust topic. It’s just one of many topics I work on. I think there’s no debate that the big tech companies create enormous benefits that people in the United States and around the world benefit from their products, from their innovation, from the convenience and ease of all of it. I think there also should be no debate that there are a set of costs associated with these platforms, that free should always be in quotation marks, when you’re paying in terms of privacy, when you’re paying in terms of data, when maybe the equilibrium price would have been negative, you would have been paid to use it. And some of the dominance can get in the way of choice and innovation.

Jason Furman:

This comes about because these markets have a lot of characteristics of a natural monopoly of a low marginal cost and a high fixed cost add to that network externalities and more. And you have a very potent winner take most tipping in these markets. And the question is not whether to regulate, but how we want to regulate them. One possibility is to make your solution entirely structural, break the companies up, and then you don’t need to regulate anything because you have a bunch of smaller companies competing with each other. I don’t know that that’s going to be the version of “not regulation” that Josh is going to defend. Certainly not the one I’d defend, I’m nervous that you would disrupt the market. The next way is just to use antitrust and use the court file suits. Like the one, the Department of Justice did. And you saw the European Commission do. I think those have a role, but it’s too unpredictable. What you’re allowed to do, what you’re not allowed to do, and the remedies come too late and don’t fully solve the behavior. That’s why I think, and I support the motion to have a pro-competition, light-touch regulator that focuses on an enforceable code of conduct, that focuses on greater data, mobility and systems with open standards and more data openness that would both curb some of the abuses of the companies and also make it possible for users to use multiple services, switch services, new entrance to come in, more real competition, more potential competition, and that just takes a lot of what you’d already have an antitrust anyway, but make it transparent, ex-Ante, clear, more predictable than what you get through our legal system. So, I hope you join me in supporting the motion that regulation is needed in the digital sector.

Josh Wright:

Well, let me first say, I would like to join Jason and his attempt to lower expectations upon myself and impose them on the debate opponent, but it’s a pleasure to be here and always fun to discuss these things with Jason and Tom. Thanks for having me. So, there’s a bunch in there we agree on, and I think the debate is going to take the form of who owns the reasonable middle here. And so, the move is slow anti-trust on the left and bright lines, structural prohibitions on the right. What’s not to love about the middle? So, let me take my opening couple of minutes with some things sort of not to like about the middle. And let’s start with the proposition that to understand the reasonable middle, you need to know what’s in it. And so I think with the rules, Jason argues in favor of bright line rules for regulation.

Josh Wright:

And I think where we agree here is we’ve got to have some set of rules that govern the exercise and acquisition of monopoly power. And so I think the contours of the debate are how well are the existing regulatory regime, that is largely made up with existing antitrust and consumer protection laws, is performing. My view of that as they’re performing quite well, and they’re quite capable of addressing anti-competitive conduct when it arises and they’re quite capable of being applied in a manner that distinguishes anti-competitive conduct and identifies market failure and provides remedies. On the one hand and on the other, and I think Jason and I agree here, he started off by saying, look, there are a lot of consumer surplus generated in these markets and we don’t want to throw out the baby with the bath water, right? So the criteria that I’m looking for in the regulatory regime that is applied is one that carefully distinguishes between and I competitive conduct and is capable of identifying it without deterring pro-competitive conduct.

Josh Wright:

And I do believe that the existing antitrust framework, the one applied and we got a complaint with Google yesterday. If I read my Twitter properly, I guess that’s one of the six or seven natural monopolies in this space. But if I read my Twitter correctly, overwhelmingly the commentary is, Hey, Microsoft is there as precedent, and what a slam dunk case. Now, I obviously disagree, but we’ll see what happens. But I think that’s the shape of the debate. I believe that the existing antitrust laws under the consumer welfare standard are more than adequate and in many ways superior to a new regulatory regime that I think would do less well at achieving its goals. And I think goals, we agree on identify the anti-competitive conduct, stop it and allow the benefits that accrue from competition in digital markets.

Tom Lenard:

Let’s now have to another round of two minutes each and call it rebuttals, but less. Maybe let’s start with Josh this time.

Josh Wright:

So, I think where I’d like to start on the rebuttal end is by expounding a little bit upon the features of the existing framework. I think, and some of these are criticisms that I think Jason has been careful to avoid, but I think will be instructive for our readers in some he’s made here about the existing regime. So let me talk a little bit about what I think the existing regime does. One of the common critiques of antitrust enforcement, as opposed to some regulatory regime made of bright line prohibitions. One critique has been that the existing antitrust laws don’t do a good job of getting at harms to competition that come in the form of innovation, quality, something that’s not price. And I don’t think that’s right. The DOJ certainly doesn’t think that’s right. They wrote a complaint based upon a theory of harm that says that’s not right.

Josh Wright:

The Microsoft precedent says that’s not right. And so I think the consumer welfare standard, what we do, the burden of proof, the thing we’ve got to show to identify that market failure, that Jason and I think both believe ought to be there before we regulate this, the plaintiff bears the burden of proof of showing harm to competition. I think that that is a feature, not a bug of the existing antitrust laws. And I said, you know, the devil’s in the details on what the bright line regulatory regime is. But if you read the House report, if you read the four or five reports that are out there that are proposing a variety of bright line rules, there’s a lot of stuff in there that I think is very problematic, doing away with any burden of proof whatsoever or agencies, whether they’re a new one or the existing agencies and merger cases when merger already presumptively unlawful, if they have a share above 30%. So basically, any merger for any of the firms we’re talking about here. Bright line rules that would condemn all transactions, all vertical integration, things that I think any reader of the economics literature knows are often pro- competitive. I think a case by case system works better and has better features in terms of balancing type one and type two error than any of the bright line proposals that I’ve seen among these many, many, many reports.

Jason Furman:

Great. So let me just really focus on two points. One is partly what I think is inadequate in the current system, the companies have grown in part by organic growth, which we generally think is a good thing and don’t want to do anything about, and in part by hundreds of mergers, now, many of those mergers are aqua-hires. They’re not a concern. And by the way, there’s almost no regulatory regime that would stop them. But some of them are the fundamental building blocks. Three of the largest social networks are together in one company now not because of organic growth, but because of merger, a lot of the major components of Google were acquired, not just the talent, but the product, whole hog like DoubleClick and YouTube. We can’t go back. It’s hard to go back and undo those mergers and put that toothpaste back in the tube.

Jason Furman:

That’s why we need to do something else going forward to rectify them. I think the, another issue that the rules bright line rules have is that absolutely, I agree. They can include innovation. They can include quality and the like all of those can be thought of in the consumer welfare, but those are inherently involve more judgment and are difficult, more difficult to prove more difficult to establish definitively than say, two gas station chains are merging. What happens to the gas price here? Should you divest from this one gas station? And so we have to, in the face of that uncertainty, make a choice about where we’re resolving that uncertainty. And I would resolve it in a little bit of a different place. The final on the third point I want to make is that some of the natural monopoly here reflects technological choices on the part of the companies. It’s not just a cost of running a pipe to your house. And so part of the goal here is to get them to make different technological choices, especially on things like interoperability and data mobility.

Tom Lenard:

Okay. Let’s have another round of two-minute statements. We’ll go to Josh Again and then back to Jason. 

Josh Wright:

So, I think I want to talk, this is going to sound a lot like a rebuttal, but why not? Because I think the heart of the issue really is sort of addressing the cost and benefits of two sets of rules to sort of identify the same sets of conduct. And so Jason points to we’ve sort of moved away from conduct bright line rules, but, you know, nobody should be fooled at the idea that any new regulatory regime is going to set bright line rules only for mergers and not conduct, but sort of holding that aside. I think the most unreasonable, bright line rules that have been offered by, by some who’ve been in the conduct space, outright bans on vertical integration. I’d be hard pressed to… I would bet money Jason would not support that. But let’s talk about the merger space, right? So, I think the right comparison is bright line mergers, bright line merger prohibitions, or brighter line merger prohibitions compared to Section VII of the Clayton Act. So, what does Section VII of the Clayton Act say and how well is it performing? I think is the right set of questions before we conclude that some other system does better. So, under Section VII of the Clayton Act, right now, mergers are presumptively unlawful with the share of posts of greater than 30%. Could we have institutional or form to get the agencies sort of more time to review? We want to tinker with HSR filings, excuse me, HSR thresholds, so that we’re making sure we’re not missing anti-competitive mergers. You’ll notice in Jason pointing out the hundreds of mergers in that space. I mean, not cite to evidence that they are, that there are systematic, type two error, running through those mergers. And that’s because there’s not any of that evidence. I think Jason and I would certainly agree. Look, you know, I could pick my favorite type one error and you could pick your favorite type two error and we can have an anecdotal discussion, but I don’t think that there’s any evidence there to suggest that the current pre-merger notification system and Section VII is systematically missing or incapable of addressing problematic mergers when they occur.

Josh Wright:

I don’t think that evidence exists. I think the government, when it brings challenges, I believe the number of successful defenses of merger challenges by the government is three in the last decade. They enjoy, under the current system, a presumption of illegality. I’m not sure how much more we need to give the agencies to challenge these mergers, much less the sort of uproot normal rule of law principles, like the plaintiff bears, the burden of proof. I’m just not sure that the evidence that the existing system has failed or that there is market failure all about in these transactions that requires creation of a new agency or a new regulatory regime compared to what we’ve got.

Tom Lenard:

I assume maybe you could talk to some of those things that Josh mentioned, like how the current system has failed and the extent to which there is market failure.

Jason Furman:

Yeah. So, I don’t want to make this all about mergers. And Josh, I think that we’ve seen no type one errors because we haven’t blocked any important mergers in the tech space. How many type two errors we’ve had? I don’t know the number. But I think it’s probably somewhat larger than zero. And so I think we’ve been getting the balance in the wrong place. The point of my merger discussion though, is to motivate that we can’t put that toothpaste back in the tube. I think we do want to change the dials on mergers going forward, and it gets the consumer welfare standard, but we have to get at the fact that it’s harder to apply here, but also that so much has already happened that now we do need some regulation of conduct going forward. You don’t need to make that a straw person of no vertical acquisitions and the like. I certainly, if Microsoft wants to buy a new maker of keyboards to make a better keyboard for itself, I don’t think anyone wants to challenge that acquisition.

Jason Furman:

I think the issue is what do you do when you preference your own search results? When you have tying to keep your product where it is, when you create standards that make it harder for consumers to multi-home, to move between platforms and the like, you know, what, if the world were more like email where you could use any platform to engage with any other platform, anyone can enter that space with a client, a service, and the like, and that’s one of our goals is to get at that. Finally, I’d say in the past, we’ve been saved by technological revolutions by to predict the next technological revolution. It’s going to depend on data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. The companies that are poised to be most successful in that are the ones that are dominant now. Something that opens up data that opens that up to more of others so that you have more companies wanting to be the next Google instead of be acquired by Google, I think would be a different and fundamentally better type of innovation. 

Tom Lenard

So, now I’d like to move to our 10-minute block of time, just a general discussion where the participants can ask questions of each other, elaborate on the points they made before. So, I’ll just open it up to you. Whoever wants to jump in.

Josh Wright:

I’m looking forward to being able to do this in person with a drink or a beer sometime Jason, but I figure we can manage 10 minutes of chatting now either way. So I will say the following on the sort of conduct box. I mean, I wish that banning vertical integration or a straw man, I’m not saying it’s your man, but it ain’t a straw man, either. I mean, that exists in the house report. It exists in Senator Warren’s proposals. It exists in banning particular forms of vertical integration and allowing, you know, Walmart to sell private label products or Apple to have apps in its app store, or Google to have, you know, a Google maps and that, that exists in a lot of places. And I wish I could move on to talking about other things and writing about things I find more interesting, because I think those are all bad ideas, but they’re bad ideas that are getting a lot of attention and are bad ideas that have been proposed inside of new regulatory regimes.

Josh Wright:

Now, you know, look, I’ll cross my fingers and hope that you get to run the regulatory regime, not some of the owners of those ideas, but I’d like to, you know, I would object to the idea that they are straw men. I think one of the reasons that folks like me get concerned about calls for a new regulatory regime is because this set of ideas around dealing both with conduct and mergers include everything from outright bans on vertical integration for platforms, to overturning sort of core antitrust precedent. So the idea that we’re just going to apply the consumer welfare standard, but do it different. Okay, we can talk about that. You want a third regulatory body to fight the FTC and DOJ over jurisdiction and stuff. Fine. Let’s talk about it. I may not think it’s a good idea, but the evidence about what ideas are going to be in the DNA of the new regulator. I think it’s quite fair to say, if you read the reports that are around about the reasons, why folks are unhappy with the existing antitrust law, for evidence of what a new regulator might do, and it’s not all stuff that even you would find reasonable. So overturning Trinko, you know, sort of imposing a broad set, mandatory duty to deal with monopolists, for firms established have monopoly power, or even just above a particular size threshold. Most of the proposals don’t even use a monopoly power as a screen in a way that you and I would agree on sort of what evidence constitutes, you know, ability to control market prices and output or something, right? It just says, Hey, if you’re above X dollars, you can’t sell your own product on your platform and you can’t merge with anybody. Those as much as I would like to, to be a straw man, just aren’t.

Josh Wright:

And I think one of the reasons why I object to the creation of a new regulatory regime is I think there’s plenty of evidence about what a new regulatory regime would do. We’ll sort of hold out the issue of whether it’s a brand-new agency or just sort of changing existing law. I don’t think we need to do that as much. And I think your report is very careful about saying there’ve been agnostic on that question and talking more about brightening the rules. I will say, the last thing then I’ll be quiet, is one thing I have noticed across the reports is that the demand for bright line rules sure doesn’t include any bright line safe harbors from what I’ve seen. And I can think of lots of places in the law where, look, the uncertainty goes both ways. And if I think these moves were really about solving uncertainty, you would see bright line rules the other direction too. Instead, what I see is less overturn Brooke group and get rid of the recruitment requirement for predatory pricing. Well, that’ll make a lot of things illegal that’s for certain, but I don’t think it does much to enhance consumer welfare.

Jason Furman:

So a few points to respond to there. Yes, there’s obviously bad ways to regulate and good ways, or what I would consider good ways to regulate. And I’m against the bad ones. And in favor of the good ones. I would argue that enough is going wrong. And there’s enough frustration out there that, you know, it might be incumbent on all of us to try to get ahead of the issue and define what we think the good way and the right way to deal with it is. And that’s the best way to ward it off, rather than just saying no to everything and pretending everything is working right now. Second is, you know, there are a lot of industries with networks that are regulated. There’s a lot of relatively mature industries that have been regulated in energy, telecom, transportation, the like. Some of those regulations have made very little sense.

Jason Furman:

I think some of them have made more sense. In almost none of them has it been some type of calamitous, end of the world, or the like. In terms of the safe harbor question? I just think that the current antitrust regime has a large degree of unpredictability. You don’t quite know what you can do, what you can’t do, when you’re going to get pulled over for that speeding ticket, and you know, how it applies to other issues going forward. I have certainly heard from a number of companies that we just want to know, you know, what we’re allowed to do, what we’re not allowed to do and have greater clarity about that upfront. Finally, I think the biggest safe harbor, certainly in my approach, and I think this is shared by a lot of others is that the rules that I’ve recommended for the UK would apply to what I call companies with strategic market status.

Jason Furman:

And that’s not exactly monopoly power. It’s more trying to get at a gateway or bottleneck concept, that you need to go through them to do something else, it’s going to apply to those companies. It wouldn’t apply to medium companies. It wouldn’t apply to small companies. So Josh, you want to start your own search engine and have it linked to your own products and prioritize your own things and keep other people off that search engine. You can do that. If you’re Google, you’re more constrained in all of that, but you’re more constrained in a way that is clear and well-defined ex-ante, and no, I wouldn’t keep Google from not using Google Maps, but maybe the case for that was better when Waze was its own company, though, now Waze is part of Google.

Josh Wright:

Tom, unless you tell me we have no time. I think the alternative to how we handle, let’s say Google self-referencing, it’s an example. That’s come up a couple of times. It’s one that came up at the FTC when they closed our investigation and 2015. I mean, and I think the way that economists sort of think about these theories is there perfectly viable theories about how Google’s conduct or Amazon or whoever might harm competition. I have no problem with a regulator or a court assessing and testing those theories. Somebody’s got to do it, right? And I’m certainly not calling for any of that conduct to be sort of per se, lawful and outside the scope of antitrust, it’s not. But the way that we normally assess those is those theories to see if they have testable implications, I mean the agencies have 50, the FTC has 50 something PhD economists, and they go and get data.

Josh Wright:

And the commissioner has looked at the analysis and said, you know what? We tested the theories. And we rely on the work that was done inside the agency. And we concluded there’s not a violation. And so they don’t bring a case. I think what I worry about in a regulatory regime where there’s not a chance to go to an Article III judge and say the plaintiff’s gotta show there was harm here. And if they didn’t, they lose. Because it doesn’t take much looking at the history of antitrust, or pick the favorite regulatory regime. You’re like, you know, STB, electricity, telecom. You don’t have to look very far. I’m looking at the list of participants. I see some FCC people, so you don’t have to look very far. I’ll poke at them for fun. Cause they can’t talk to me. You don’t have to look very far in FCC history to find regulatory abuse.

Josh Wright:

You certainly don’t have to. The history of railroad regulation or electricity was the other one. I think judicial review under a standard where the plaintiff bears the burden of proof of showing some kind of market failure. So, really important discipline on agencies, whether it’s a new one or whether you want to sort of give new powers to the existing one and a rule that says most of this stuff is illegal because the regulator says so. And unless, and until you can convince it otherwise, I think is a dangerous recipe for taking out a lot of conduct that ends up being pro-competitive. I think the role of having judicial review assess that under some standard, consumer welfare standard in antitrust, but some standard where we’re doing more than bright line rules, I think is an indispensable element of a regulatory regime for not just digital firms, but for competition policy generally.

Jason Furman:

And I just think Josh, it’s not like regulation exists in some zone outside of the legal system and outside of Article III courts, you know, there’s an awful lot of litigation.

Josh Wright:

You’re familiar with the European system?

Jason Furman:

In the United States, they administer, we have the administrative procedure act and we have courts. We have a lot of ways in order to make that regulation transparent, frankly often tilting it too much to the point of being captured, as opposed to getting too much in the way of companies. And you need to choose one of those arguments. Then they have the legal system as I make this argument to you with some trepidation. But as I recall it, there were hospital mergers that you voted against that ended up losing in court. And so were you think a merger is inappropriate, and you can’t convince the courts of it tells me there’s something that’s gone wrong in our legal system and in our courts I would amend the constitution. So Josh, any merger you didn’t want to happen, wouldn’t even need to be reviewed by a court. I would just trust your view in that direction.

Josh Wright:

As much as I would like to have my name etched in the constitution somewhere that does scare me a little bit. I’ll say this look courts are full of humans, and they get cases right and wrong. Commissioners do too. I wish I had a couple of my votes back, maybe a couple of academic papers too. I mean, we put these cases through court, those cases I voted against at the agency won. McWane for example, there’s cases I voted for that. We lost sometimes there’s litigation failure. Sometimes the judge just doesn’t get it. But the humans in those regulatory agencies too, and a structure that says the burden of proof is we’re going to have a fight under the consumer welfare standard. We agree on the metrics, and you go through judicial review, is very different from a system of bright line rules where the agency does rulemaking or the agency has a bright line rule that says all of these things are illegal in the reviewing court is assessing whether the rule makes sense, not whether it’s particular application. To me, most of the beneficial sort of growth of the US antitrust system that’s happened through that same process in courts. And it’s rife with errors here and there. But the “We’re doing a compared to what?” question is compared to errors in the regulatory system. And I’ll take the courts every time. 

Tom Lenard:

We have thus far stuck to the timelines pretty well. Let’s proceed to closing statements starting with Josh three minutes.

Josh Wright:

Sure, and I know we went a little over, so I’ll do the closing statement relatively quickly and make sure I cede my remaining time to Jason. I think the punchline here, and it’s been a fun conversation. It’s about a comparative institutional analysis of courts and agencies, and antitrust in particular. And I think the evolution of antitrust law through the courts under the consumer welfare standard has been one of the more successful, well, mergers for lack of better term, of economics into law, in any regulatory regime, anywhere and agencies aren’t perfect. The courts aren’t perfect, but I think the consumer welfare standard running through the institutional structure we have now is for all of its flaws, a far superior approach to a regime that switches out in favor of bright line rules. And that’s really, for two reasons, one, I don’t think that there is a sufficient evidentiary basis either in conduct cases or in merger cases to suggest that the existing system has failed.

Josh Wright:

There’s nothing that I think that persuades me, that there’s evidence that the existing system is failing or there’s market failure sort of everywhere that the existing system is failing to solve. And second, I think that the bright line rules put the agencies in a position to declare broad swaths of conduct unlawful without meaningful judicial review. We have history of that in this country and the regulatory system. And I think it’s largely a for consumers, a sad history. And I think one that as much as critics of the existing antitrust system would like to change it. I think it is one that would change it substantially for the worse.

Tom Lenard:

Alright, Josh, your closing statement. Jason, I’m sorry.

Jason Furman:

Oh, sorry. Okay. I thought about that closing statement. It’s also been a great discussion, really enjoyed it, learned from it. And I think fundamentally Josh is unapologetically in favor of the status quo, refreshingly so. Defends it, loves it, loves all the different parts of it. I think the errors that it makes have tended to go into in one direction, it’s gotten harder and harder to block a merger. That is one of the reasons why we see more and more concentration in some industries it’s because of efficiency and more competition, but in many others, it’s not associated with efficiency it’s associated with less competition. I completely agree with Josh that there are many, many things that are worse than the status quo. I think policymaking in this area done badly will make things worse. And there are a bunch of different ways that could happen. But I also think, and here is where I differ from Josh.

Jason Furman:

I think the status quo has a lot of problems associated with it and those problems, aren’t just the random human errors that we can never get beyond, but that those human errors have all gone in one direction and created a certain type of system. I have a friend that posted on Facebook that he was fed up with Facebook. Facebook was supporting genocide, destroying the news, profiting off of consumers, et cetera. You don’t have to agree or disagree with this friend, but this friend definitely should be able to exercise his own tastes and his own consumption preferences. And at the end of the post, he said, because of all this I’m leaving Facebook. From now on. If you want to stay in touch with me, I’ll be on Instagram. It was pointed out in the comments that Instagram was also part of Facebook. He said, I know, but right now I don’t have any other options.

Jason Furman:

I don’t have any other place to go. I don’t have any other place to connect with all of you. As soon as there is a viable one, I’m going to switch over to that. I think that’s what policy needs to take seriously. We failed in doing that through merger control, we are failing and doing that in antitrust. I think a regulatory approach could give us another social network that advertises itself as the wonderful place for privacy. Maybe it charges you money. Maybe it’s inferior in some dimension. Some people might use Facebook. Some people might choose to use this new one. Consumers would get to make those choices. They’d benefit from that greater innovation, that greater set of choices. And so I think while we should be worried about ways in which the system could be made worse and very mindful of them, people like Josh are smart enough that if you assign them the task of making it better and not just coming up with all the reasons why the system is so great already, I have no doubt that he could work together with me, with others to create that system that would give people more and better choices than they have today, because it is a problem.

Tom Lenard:

Well, this was a terrific discussion. Thank you both very much.

Jason Furman:

Well, I think we can see that 29% of the people agree with me, which I think is not a majority. If I’m doing my math correctly, I can’t see how many people agreed with me beforehand. Maybe it went from zero to 29. In which case I’m feeling good about myself.

Tom Lenard:

Oh, here I have the result that I know it’s finished. For the first poll. 60%. Yes. 40%. No                            Second poll 27%. Yes. 74%. No,                                                                                                                      That’s a big shift. 

Jason Furman:

Congratulations, Josh.

Tom Lenard;

I’m astounded that there’s that bigger shift on any question. Because it seems like that’s a big shift. Okay. Well, Jason, I think you did a great job anyway, and I really want to thank both of you for doing this. I think it was a very informative discussion. It was terrific. And thank you very much.

Josh Wright:

It was fun. Thanks, Tom. And Jason, sometime offline you’re going to have to tell me whether your Facebook friend is Senator Hawley.

All:

Laughs