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.
FTC Chair Khan’s Mentor Admits that AICOA and Other Radical Antitrust Laws Are Not Needed
In one of the most honest admissions from a progressive activist, Open Markets Institute Executive Director Barry Lynn acknowledged that the American Innovation and Choice Online Act is an unnecessary piece of legislation. Lynn has been a mentor in shaping the antitrust philosophy of Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan,…
Senate Panel To Consider Klobuchar Antitrust Bills That Imploded Last Congress
On March 7, the Senate Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights will hold a hearing that examining “reining in dominant digital platforms, focusing on restoring competition to our digital markets.” Some lawmakers will likely use the hearing as an opportunity to boost momentum for a package of antitrust…
CSIS Study Finds That EU Digital Regulations Add Great Costs for US Businesses and Consumers
By: Joseph Murgida The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) recently released a study examining the significant financial toll that EU digital regulations have inflicted on American businesses. Large regulatory costs for businesses forces them to pursue revenue to pursue other ways of offsetting these costs, such as…
Judge Embarrasses FTC Chair Khan by Quickly Denying Her Political Crusade Against Meta-Within Merger
In one of Lina Khan’s biggest embarrassments during her short tenure as Chair of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), US District Judge Edward Davila prevented her from blocking Meta’s merger with virtual reality startup, Within. This decision surprises few following this case. However, the early, decisive nature of…
NTIA Releases Misguided Report on App Stores With Biased, Politically Motivated Conclusions
As a part of the Biden Administration’s full-court press to shove misguided antitrust legislation through Congress, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released a highly flawed report slamming the practices of top American mobile app store ecosystems. The report fails to effectively provide a critical consideration regarding the effects of…
Voters Don’t Buy That OAMA Will Boost App Store Competition
As time goes on, it is becoming increasingly clear that ordinary Americans lack enthusiasm for greater regulation of American tech companies. According to recent polls conducted by Morning Consult/ Politico, only two provisions of the Open App Markets Act (OAMA) — “preventing app stores from self-preferencing their own…
FTC Abandons Consumer Welfare Standard With Latest Lina Khan Edict
According to media reports, Lina Khan’s FTC intends to make “make wider use of its 1914 founding statute to police anticompetitive behavior by companies in the internet age.” At first glance, increased antitrust enforcement against anticompetitive behavior does not seem objectionable. However, a deeper dive into the FTC’s latest policy…
News Flash to Lina Khan: Meta is No Monopoly
According to the FTC’s summary of their case against Meta, the principal justification for their legal action against the supposed ‘tech giant’ is that “the company is illegally maintaining its personal social networking monopoly through a years-long course of anticompetitive conduct.” While this claim may seem credible to laymen, those…
New Punchbowl News Poll: Klobuchar Antitrust Bill “Isn’t Terribly Popular”
The House passed the “Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act” (H.R. 3843) last week, legislation that would raise fees on larger companies engaging in M&A activity and prohibit companies from requesting a venue change when a state attorney general brings an antitrust suit. Lawmakers who’ve been pushing for another bill, the…
FTC’s Politically Motivated Pursuit of Meta-Within Acquisition Gets Stranger
Not even Netflix’s Stranger Things has managed to construe odder narrative developments than the ones unfolding from the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) pursuit of a meritless lawsuit against Meta. This week, a report came out that Meta found out about FTC’s lawsuit against them from Twitter. The lack of warning before filing…