Quote of the Day: Amazon Has Destroyed Retail Sales

Our Treasury secretary is all in favor of the Justice Department’s antitrust review of online platforms:

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday that he supported the Justice Department’s efforts to look into Amazon, because the tech giant has “destroyed the retail industry.”

“I think if you look at Amazon, although there are certain benefits to it, they’ve destroyed the retail industry across the United States, so there’s no question they’ve limited competition,” Mnuchin said during an interview on CNBC. “There’s areas where they’ve really hurt small businesses.”

Is this true? Here’s the raw data:

There’s no question that online shopping has hurt traditional retail sales, but “destroyed” seems a little apocalyptic, no?

If the Justice Department wants to investigate Amazon for, say, unfairly monopolizing the e-commerce space, that’s fine. Go get ’em. But if the “problem” is that consumers have a growing preference for shopping one way rather than another, then forget it. That’s not something the federal government needs to be involved in.

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