Last week, a Gallup poll surveying 2,000 Americans was released with 52% of Americans naming inflation as their most important issue. It was also the most important issue for Americans across all political affiliations surveyed, including Republicans, Independents and Democrats.
Despite the rare bipartisan consensus regarding the importance of easing inflation, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) seeks to dedicate valuable Senate time to pushing a vote on a radical antitrust regulation bill, the American Innovation and Choice Act (S. 2992). Schumer has stated his intention to have a vote onto the Senate floor by early summer. Congress has already devoted significant time to drafting and preparing the suite of antitrust bills, including an unusually-long 29 hour markup session. However, antitrust does not even rank within the survey among the most important issues facing America today.
Instead of easing inflation, legislation that moves antitrust law away from the consumer welfare standard would exacerbate inflation. Former Obama Administration National Economic Council Director Larry Summers recently said that a neo-Brandeisian antitrust approach “will make the US economy more inflationary.” The fact that Summers, who has advised multiple Democratic presidents on economic policy, is sounding the alarm on these antitrust bills should show Democrats that S. 2992 would be a massive mistake.
The American Innovation and Choice Act would give the Biden Administration new authority to regulate the business activities of a select few American companies. It is never appropriate to intentionally implement government policies that will slow economic growth. But it is especially problematic to do so during a period of high inflation where only 12% of Americans believe that their economic status has gotten better over the past year, whereas over 80% believe their status is either worse or the same.
Senator Schumer seems set on advancing a bill that Americans are not interested in despite the fact that it worsens the issue that most Americans want Congress to fix. This choice displays a craven desire for Democratic Senate leadership to advance a radical progressive agenda, even if their constituents suffer as a result.