WASHINGTON—Tonight during his second State of the Union address, President Joe Biden called for stifling American innovation through various proposals that would be harmful to the economy.
Biden said he wants to focus on “possibilities.” But his proposals do not reflect his pursuit of that goal.
“Fundamentally, Biden sees ‘whole-of-government’ control as the solution to every tech problem,” said NetChoice President & CEO Steve DelBianco. “His approach undermines American competitiveness, expands the power of government, and tramples on free expression. Instead, Biden should appreciate the unique power of American tech engines to empower families online.”
DelBianco continued: “Pay close attention to the President’s language. Note that he never mentions empowering parents to make decisions for their families or educating America’s youth about how to stay safe online. Biden’s solutions always involve giving the government more power, rather than empowering Americans to better solve their own problems.”
Here are NetChoice’s thoughts on some of the issues Biden brought up this evening, attributable to DelBianco:
- Biden’s passing mention of last year’s failed antitrust bill shows a similarly passing understanding of bad legislation that would raise prices for consumers.
- Biden says he wants to counter China. But his proposals to crush America’s tech leaders—the world’s most elite innovators—will only benefit China.
- American antitrust law is currently designed to protect consumers. If the government can demonstrate with facts that any business has caused harm to Americans, that business will face FTC and DOJ scrutiny.
- The President offered his support to progressive antitrust proposals that refuse to recognize the highly competitive retail marketplace in America. Because Americans nowadays have so many options to choose from, they are able to find the best products, prices, and services easily and swiftly – without government intervention.
“Junk Fees” on Car Rentals & Hotel Rooms
- One area where we agree with the president is that Big Hotel Chains and Big Rental Car companies must disclose all hidden costs and fees upfront. That will reveal the actual price consumers pay, allowing them to make informed comparisons with competing peer-to-peer home and car rental services, which often offer better value while enabling American entrepreneurs to earn extra income from their own homes and cars.
- The PRO Act is another progressive bid to revive the power of unions by taking away the worker’s right to choose how they work.
- When California enacted this approach in 2019, thousands of people lost their jobs, including freelance journalists, sign-language interpreters and au pairs. The PRO Act will only take choices away from the American worker and push them into forms of work that don’t suit their family’s interests.
Banning Kids from the Internet
- The President’s “one-size-fits-all” approach to digital parenting will take important resources for young people offline.
- Biden is trying to use the anxieties and real concerns of parents about keeping their kids safe on the internet as a way to convince Republicans to give his administration and the government more control over the internet.
- Biden says he wants to “protect kids online,” and blames American tech for harming kids’ mental health. But the recent actions of his administration suggest otherwise:
- Rather than pushing the Federal Trade Commission, a part of Biden’s executive branch, to update guidelines for parents to help keep their kids safe online, Biden is wasting FTC resources and American taxpayer dollars on expensive lawsuits to pursue businesses progressives don’t like.
- Biden’s solution to his concerns about social media collecting information on children is to (1) have those companies collect and store vast amounts of data on children and (2) to have those companies share your child’s private information with the federal government.
- Additionally, Biden is ignoring the abundance of tools available that give parents control over their online experience. Instead of tying up the American tech sector in red tape, he should prioritize education as the key remedy to help young people and families control their online experience.
- When it comes to keeping kids safe online, parents and guardians—not policymakers—are in the best position to decide what’s right for their families. Biden should encourage education and empowerment, rather than more government control.