Today, the Committee to Unleash Prosperity released a new report from renowned conservative economists Art Laffer, Steven Moore, and John Barrington Burke on how Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s antitrust proposal, S. 2992, will cost Americans and the economy billions of dollars and vastly expand the power and workforce of the Federal Trade Commission.
Historically, the FTC has followed the consumer welfare standard for antitrust, which FTC commissioner Christine Wilson explained very simply: “If consumers are not harmed, the antitrust agencies do not act.”
However, progressives like Klobuchar seek to use the FTC’s power to punish companies they don’t like, even at the expense of American welfare. Their new standard would be the “essential facilities doctrine,” which Laffer and Moore explain would require businesses to, “open their platforms (and even proprietary information and data) to their smaller competitors, which can then use these platforms for their own commercial purposes.” This, essentially, would give regulators at the FTC power to act as “central planners” in our economy, as noted by late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
The new report from Laffer and Moore explains:
- The history of antitrust in the United States;
- Why the essential fallacies doctrine is dangerous for business freedom and the economy, and;
- How the consumer welfare standard has helped invigorate and empower Americans against businesses that are abusing their market power.
When consumers are truly harmed, agencies like the FTC already have the authority to act. Don’t be mistaken. This new, progressive antitrust proposal is just an expansion of power, and it will take away important market protections for Americans.