There was a time (40s-70s) that govt. could indeed stop that shit on a dime. Even without tailoring new laws to the Internet. Anti-monopoly rulings were very stringent, back in the day. The conservatives squealed something fierce when Ma-Belle was broken up, but broken she was.
The laws haven’t changed, though. The difference is that AT&T was a true monopoly (nobody else could connect to their network, save a couple of smaller regional players), which allowed ATT to stifle technological development while jacking up prices) while the existence of Amazon keeps WalMart from being a monopoly, and vice versa.
There’s something new here that the antimonopoly laws didn’t count on: that sheer size alone can enable vast wealth to accumulate at the top while at the same driving down cost to consumers. Monopoly law reasoning is that monopolies must be avoided because a monopoly is then free to jack up their prices. This is not the case, and we don’t have the laws to address them at this point.
I am not sure how this gets solved.
I hazard to say that the 1968 lawmakers would have had trouble recognizing the derivatives of today as the bundled mortgages they envisioned back in the day. But the irony is not lost on me.
No question. Getting taxpayers to invest in mortgage derivatives was a way to get said taxpayers to use their own money to fund more mortgages, and for decades both parties believed that Prosperity = Rising Levels of Home Ownership. This is not necessarily true.