The claims of Senator Klobuchar [D-Minn.] and other sponsors of the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICOA) have consistently claimed that the American people want Congress to put new sweeping regulations on Big Tech companies. However, a recent poll conducted by AXIS Research and published by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found that Americans fiercely oppose new antitrust legislation.
The poll uncovered broad bipartisan opposition to the AICOA with 79% of Republicans, 72% of Independents and 59% of Democrats saying they either strongly oppose or somewhat oppose a bill that would “impact services they rely on.” The American Innovation and Online Choice Act will have a disastrous impact on many of these online services. Amazon, in particular, released a warning indicating that the AICOA would prohibit practices that allow for Amazon Prime to perform crucial functions such as its free two-day shipping guarantee. The poll also found that 82% of respondents find this service to be valuable with 59% to specify that they find this service to be “very valuable.”
The passage of this problematic piece of legislation also poses a threat to national security. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), for example, cited national security experts, including Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Former Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon Panetta, who previously expressed concern that “unintended cybersecurity consequences” would result from requiring non-discriminatory access for all businesses on domestic digital platforms. The AXIOS poll indicated that Americans find great value in “knowing apps have been vetted for inappropriate content [and] for security and viruses,” with over 75% finding each service valuable to their daily lives. By passing this legislation, Americans will be thrown for a loop by suddenly losing their ability to trust the security features of services that they have grown to rely on.
These midterm elections will be crucial for determining the direction of our country. New antitrust legislation, however, may end up playing a decisive role in shaping Congress. Republicans, Independents and Democrats are all more likely to oppose candidates who support the AICOA than support them. Additionally, these poll results provide further evidence that Americans are most focused on congressional action regarding the economy and inflation, with over 50% of voters stating citing both of those issues as the ones that they believe Congress should prioritize most. Regulating technology companies only registered as the most important issue amongst 1% of voters. These results parallel data from a Gallup poll conducted two months ago that found that 52% of Americans named inflation as their most important issue, whereas regulating technology companies did not even rank.
The evidence is overwhelming. Americans do not want more government regulations that will deprive them of the services that they have grown to rely on. Additionally, they do not want regulations that will impede on the security features that have allowed them to feel comfortable in that their use of these services will be safe. Republicans ought not give into the desires of Democratic politicians that want to empower the government and weaken businesses at the expense of the American people. Instead, they need to listen to concerns of Americans and prioritize them.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons