Today, the US Chamber of Commerce published a coalition letter alongside 175 state and local chambers of commerce from 46 different states opposing the “American Innovation and Choice Online Act” (S. 2992). The Chamber is only the latest of a wide range of individuals and groups on both sides of the aisle that have rejected these radical antitrust bills.
Their letter warns that the bills “would lead to higher prices and fewer choices for consumers, discourage vigorous competition, and create different rules for American companies based on arbitrary criteria like market capitalization, while imposing no restraints on most foreign companies.” The Chamber cautions that the bill, “would punish some companies for competing vigorously while leaving other companies free to engage in the exact same conduct.” If the voice of business leaders nationwide asserts that this bill will bring harm to businesses, Congress should act in good faith and listen to their concerns. Lawmakers have no reason to ignore the judgment of the Chamber of Commerce over the judgment of their colleagues, some of whom admitted to not understanding antitrust law themselves.
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), the primary advocate for this set of dangerous and problematic legislation, has consistently argued that AICOA, in particular, was to designed in an effort to, “put policies in place to ensure small businesses and entrepreneurs still have the opportunity to succeed in the digital marketplace.” Representative Ken Buck (R-Co.), a main sponsor of the AICOA, concurred when arguing that Congress should pass the bill because it, “protect(s) small business and ensure(s) that the free market is working for everyone, not just Big Tech monopolies. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) promoted the same myth when arguing that, “our legislation bolsters that free, open and competitive market, ensuring that American entrepreneurs and businesses can continue building and innovating.” However, the “world’s largest business organization,” the Chamber of Commerce, rebuked these hollow arguments.
The Chamber of Commerce joins various critics in their condemnation of such radical legislation. Two former Obama appointees, Council of Economic Advisors Director Jason Furman and National Economic Advisor Larry Summers, recently warned of the dire economic consequences that this shift in approaching antitrust law may have on the economy. Summers particularly asserted that the bills “will make the US economy more inflationary and less resilient.” The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board also published an opinion piece warning that the vague language in the AICOA would make it “hard to predict how regulators would apply the bill’s conduct prohibitions and mandates.” Additionally, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) recently came out against AICOA citing national security concerns as well as the negative jobs impact that the bill would have on his constituents.
The widespread condemnation of this radical approach to antitrust policy consists of Republicans, Democrats, economists, and businesses of all sizes. This broad umbrella of detractors is warning against the storm that would come if these radical antitrust bills came into law. Republicans must not cave to the myths and falsehoods that radical progressives are promulgating to push this economically disastrous legislation through Congress. Instead, all members of Congress ought to listen to the vast, broad, informed critics that are sounding the alarm bells over this dangerous legislation.