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.
Jonathan Kanter Would Abandon Consumer Welfare Standard As Antitrust Top Cop
By: Tom Hebert President Joe Biden has nominated antitrust attorney Jonathan Kanter to lead the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. Kanter, who has slammed the long-held consumer welfare standard as “judicial activism,” is the wrong choice to lead the Antitrust Division. Photo Credit: New America A chorus of leading Democrats…
Biden EO Kills Competition In The Name Of Saving It
By: Tom Hebert Last week, President Joe Biden issued an executive order containing 72 new government mandates designed to spur competition in the American economy. The Biden EO gives a blueprint for agencies to target leading American industries with crippling new regulations. Instead of encouraging competition, this EO will kill competition…
FTC vs. Facebook Dismissal Does Not Justify Weaponizing Antitrust Law
By: Tom Hebert On Monday, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg in Washington dismissed the Federal Trade Commission’s complaint against Facebook, alleging that the technology company abuses its monopoly power to squash its competitors. The FTC has until July 29 to file an amended complaint. Boasberg, appointed by former President Obama, dismissed…
ATR Submits Comments Urging FTC To Keep Bipartisan Limits On Antitrust Enforcement Authority
By: Tom Hebert Americans for Tax Reform, the Open Competition Center, and Digital Liberty today submitted comments to Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan urging the Commission to leave a 2015 bipartisan agreement in place that limits the FTC’s antitrust enforcement authority. Section 5 of the FTC Act outlaws “unfair…
Democrat Majority Leader Throws Cold Water On Sloppy Antitrust Package
By: Tom Hebert House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) has said that the rushed antitrust package is not ready for a full vote on the House floor, joining a growing bipartisan consensus that these bills are not ready for prime time. In remarks to the press, Hoyer said that Congress’s role…
29-Hour House Judiciary Markup Shows Democrat Antitrust Bills Are Not Ready for Prime Time
By: Tom Hebert The House Judiciary Committee just concluded a marathon markup of six bills that would weaponize antitrust law and give Biden bureaucrats sweeping new regulatory power. All six of the bills limped out of the Committee and were sent to the House floor. For the most part, conservatives…
House Democrats Call On Pelosi To Delay Cicilline Antitrust Package Markup
By: Tom Hebert Eight House Democrats called on Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other top Democrats to delay the markup of the antitrust package spearheaded by Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.). Reps. Suzan DelBene, Scott Peters, Sharice Davids, Ann McLane Kuster, Chrissy Houlahan, Kathy Manning, Bradley Schneider, and Stacey Plaskett signed…
25+ Conservative Groups and Activists Urge Congress to Reject Democrat Antitrust Power-Grab
By: Tom Hebert A coalition of 26 conservative groups and grassroots activists at both the state and federal level released a letter today urging Congress to reject the Democrat antitrust power-grab spearheaded by Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and organized by far-left Members like Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.). The coalition’s message is clear…
Republicans Should Reject Cicilline Mega-Regulation Antitrust Package
By: Tom Hebert Congressman David Cicilline (D-R.I.) is releasing a package of antitrust bills with several Democrat sponsors that would fundamentally rewrite antitrust law to the detriment of American shoppers. Cicilline is attempting to use conservative anger at Big Tech to persuade Republican lawmakers into giving the Biden Administration nearly…
Antitrust proposal would empower bureaucrats and greedy trial lawyers
Originally Published in The Hill on 5/31/21 01:01 PM EDT By: Tom Hebert The Democratic Party is attempting to weaponize antitrust law to reshape the economy and punish successful American companies for political gain. To that end, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) has introduced the “Competition and Antitrust Law Enforcement…