The consumer welfare standard, which maximizes consumer benefits instead of protecting individual competitors in the market, has been the north star of antitrust policy for over four decades. Antitrust law under the consumer welfare standard is primarily focused benefiting consumers and strengthening the competitive process, not to protect companies from being outperformed by other firms. This objective, rule-of-law approach has protected American innovation and brought consistency to antitrust enforcement.
The left – and unfortunately some on the right – want to nullify the consumer welfare standard in favor of a more activist, interventionist approach to antitrust enforcement. Their ultimate goal is to use antitrust law to address unrelated social goals and “break up” big companies. Overzealous regulators would target large companies no matter how much they improve American lives or compete fairly with other firms. This would have a chilling effect on free enterprise, crush American innovation, and give activist bureaucrats license to fundamentally reshape the American economy. OCC opposes any and all efforts to weaken or overturn the consumer welfare standard, and stands firm against attempts to use antitrust law to reshape the economy.
We will also oppose proposals such as aggressive merger prohibitions, inverting the burden of proof, allowing collusion and antitrust exemptions for politically favored firms, and politicizing antitrust enforcement decision-making more generally. Arbitrary or overly broad antitrust enforcement will impede economic recovery and risks job losses—something we should not exacerbate as the nation recovers from economic hardships and adapts to evolving market dynamics and changing consumer needs resulting from the global pandemic.
Antitrust Zeal Threatens Fintechs
With its recent antitrust case against Google, the Department of Justice is making headlines. The government’s penchant for meddling in the market won’t stop with tech companies. Even with Congress’ recent antitrust investigation proclaiming to focus on “Big Tech,” Washington’s true desire spans the entire economy. One of Congress’ targets…
If You Think Only E-Retailers Use Your Data, Think Again
As the U.S. and the European Union seem ready to move full steam ahead into antitrust proceedings, it is clear that they need a better understanding of how data is used and what actually constitutes the market they purport to have the expertise to regulate. Limiting Amazon’s ability to sell its…
ATR Statement on House Democrat’s Radical Antitrust Report
Photo credit: April Brady/Project on Middle East Democracy WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week the Democrats of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law released a partisan report discussing their findings and recommendations regarding an investigation into competition in digital markets. While they tout the number of hearing as…