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John Oliver calls out politicians for letting corporate consolidation destroy small businesses

George Back
Producer, Yahoo Entertainment

On Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, the host discussed the recent trend of corporate consolidation that has created oligopolies, destroying smaller and/or rising competition.

Oliver pointed out that many companies, even ones you might think are small businesses, are actually owned by giant companies.

“Burt’s Bees? It’s not run by a backwoods bee-f**ker called Burt. It’s run by Clorox. Tom’s of Maine? The deodorant which did so little to deodorize your freshman year roommate? It’s now owned by Colgate-Palmolive.”

Oliver pointed out how even his own show, Last Week Tonight, is getting caught up in the action as its parent company, Time Warner, is trying to merge with AT&T.

But it’s more than mergers — it’s the oligopolies that Oliver said create the biggest problems. He mentioned how over 80 percent of air travel in the U.S. is controlled by 4 companies.

This makes it easier for companies to collude in order to set a status quo — like fees for baggage.

Oliver issued a challenge to politicians who champion the phrase “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy.” He said of the politicians, “If they really believe that, it may be time for them to stop talking about backbones, and actually f**king grow one.”

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver airs Sundays at 11 p.m. on HBO

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