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New FTC & DOJ Guidelines May Close America for Business

WASHINGTON—Early this morning, the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice announced their proposed updates to their merger guidelines.

The new guidelines shun economics and enshrine the discredited Neo-Brandeisian view that mergers and acquisitions are inherently bad and must be blocked whenever possible. 

This wasn’t always the case. Before Chair Lina Khan’s reign at the FTC and Jonathan Kanter’s at the DOJ Antitrust Division, the agencies’ joint guidelines were broadly supported, bipartisan and cemented an objective, empirically based approach to antitrust enforcement. Instead, Kanter and Khan are focused on using their tenure to entrench their personal, subjective view of how the American economy should operate, and they are targeting standard business practices to do so.

“Antitrust is meant to protect competition, not the Biden administration’s preferred competitors,” said NetChoice Vice President & General Counsel Carl Szabo. “The new ‘guidelines’ throw cold water on innovation and American consumers by tossing out decades of sound, bipartisan policy and tried-and-trusted enforcement techniques, leaving businesses and consumers at the mercy of FTC and DOJ bureaucrats.” 

Szabo continued: “Politically motivated moves like this further deteriorate the credibility, independence and expertise of the FTC and DOJ. By playing partisan politics, Khan, Kanter and the Biden administration ignore what American consumers want and need – enforcement focused on promoting consumer benefits and innovation.”

“These new ‘guidelines’ will also surely invite judicial backlash, adding to the FTC and DOJ’s losing track record in recent years.” 

Read NetChoice’s comments for the record from 2022 on the merger enforcement guidelines here

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