Senate Antitrust Bill Would Raise Consumer Prices, Reduce Our Competitiveness
Sense. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharBiden meets with group of senators on Ukraine-Russia tensions (D-Minn.) and Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonSinema scuttles filibuster reform hopes Republicans threaten to take power if Democrats weaken filibuster Will Putin sink Biden? FOLLOWING (R-Ark.) Are co-sponsors of an antitrust bill that would put new brakes on the growth of American companies — not just Big Tech but potentially financial services firms, and even online and in-store retailers like Amazon and Walmart. Markup of the bill by the Senate committee is expected in the coming days, followed by a potential vote later this year.
The coming together of Klobuchar from the left and Cotton from the right is the result of different motivations. Democrats are wary of companies that are too successful and too powerful, while Republicans hate the influence of big-tech media platforms, which they say have openly discriminated against conservatives.
It seems sad and ironic that the more big US tech companies have helped keep the US economy afloat during the coronavirus lockdown, the more voices are being heard to break them or tie them into regulatory knots.
The purpose of the antitrust bill, according to Klobuchar, is to strengthen antitrust enforcement so that “we can effectively promote competition and protect American consumers” from companies worth hundreds of billions of dollars using their market power. to thwart competition.
The bill would limit the size of mergers and acquisitions, prohibit companies from using their own platforms to benefit their own products, and give federal regulators more enforcement powers.
The bill effectively penalizes American companies for being too successful and plays into the hands of Asians and Europeans who make the same claims against American companies and want to penalize them financially because their own companies cannot compete.
Instead of protecting American businesses and jobs from these bogus foreign claims of monopoly behavior, the Klobuchar-Cotton bill would legitimize them.
The premise of the bill — that consumers and workers are somehow harmed — is false. The superiority and dominance of the global market of American high-tech companies benefits consumers (by lowering prices), shareholders (by increasing the value of shares by billions of dollars) and American workers (by creating well-paying jobs) .
The Googles, Apples and Amazons have become globally dominant players because they have pioneered extraordinary products with ruthless efficiency through visionary and unprecedented management. They didn’t gain market power by stealing, and they didn’t use nefarious mafia-like tactics to fend off competition. With few exceptions, they did not receive government aid or subsidies to gain the upper hand. They’ve simply created great products that people want at a price they’re willing to pay.
If ever there was a true victimless crime, this would be it.
Here is the proof of that statement: In nearly every product and industry that these senators say are illegal exercises of monopoly power, prices are falling — fast.
Let’s look at the inflation numbers. The overall consumer price index rose 7% in 2021, but prices for tech products continue to fall. Over the past three decades, in fact, tech companies have cut prices by 50, 60, and in some cases 90 percent, factoring in quality improvements. Google offers free internet searches. The first cell phones cost nearly $4,000; today an iPhone can be had for less than $400 with ten times the functionality.
And yet, the response from Congress is, “How dare they do that?
Or take financial services: those costs have dropped, and financial instruments like credit cards are now more available and affordable to the masses of consumers than ever before. If Visa is a monopoly, why do millions more Americans sign up for plastic every year?
Does anyone believe that Walmart and Amazon are monopolies? The bloody “everyday low price” war between these giants benefits consumers hundreds of billions of dollars every year. Amazon will deliver groceries, toothpaste, and toilet paper to your doorstep within 24-48 hours at great prices the local grocer can’t match. Consumers don’t seem to mind.
The antitrust bill will surely raise prices for consumers, not lower them – just as price controls and cumbersome antitrust regulations in the 1970s kept prices high and limited rather than enhanced competition. As Robert Crandall of the Brookings Institute – hardly a conservative think tank – proved many years ago, it was only after lifting regulations on airlines, energy, trucking, financial services and other economic regulations in the late 1970s and into the 1980s as prices fell. , and notably.
The alternative to big business is big government – if you think prices are high now, wait until Sens. Klobuchar and Cotton get what they want.
stephen mooreStephen MooreBob Dole: A Great ‘Greatest Generation’ Leader Why the Senate Should Kill the ‘Build Back Better’ Bill Christmas Could Come Early for Joe Biden MORE is a senior fellow at FreedomWorks and a former economic advisor to donald trumpDonald TrumpKinzinger Welcomes Baby Boy Tennessee Legislator Introduces Self-Defense Bill In ‘Honor’ Of Kyle Rittenhouse Five Things To Know About New York AG’s Lawsuit Against Trump MORE. His latest book is “Govzilla: How Relentless Government Growth Is Eating America’s Economy.”