Yesterday, the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) data for June released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed a 9.1 percent increase in U.S. inflation, a new 40-year high.
Americans are feeling this squeeze in their pocketbooks. In our new poll released this week conducted by Echelon Insights, 60 percent of respondents say the economy and inflation are their biggest concerns, and 59 percent of respondents blame Democrats and President Joe Biden for today’s inflation.
Folks are therefore reasonably skeptical of policies that may fuel inflation further, like antitrust. Sen. Amy Klobuchar is trying to push S. 2992—The American Innovation and Choice Online Act—to a vote, claiming that she has enough support to pass it before the November midterms. But it would only pour gasoline on the inflation fire. Americans see this: over three-fourths of respondents in the aforementioned poll expressed concern that proposals to regulate tech will increase prices, make it easier for politicians to influence tech companies and make tech more difficult to use.
Lawmakers seem to be feeling this heat. In The Washington Post’s Tech 202 newsletter on Tuesday, reporter Cristiano Lima asked all 100 Senate offices whether they’d publicly support the bill. Very few senators were willing to say they would vote for it, with many more saying they were on the fence or not supportive, and a majority of senators avoiding comment to the Post entirely.
Notably, Sens. John Ossoff and Chris Coons, who initially helped pass the bill in committee, hesitated to give an indication of support. And Sen. John Kennedy, one of the bill’s Republican co-sponsors, apparently, “may want to walk away entirely.”
This leaves Klobuchar far short of the 60 votes she’d need to get S. 2992 passed, with wavering co-sponsors, no less. It is therefore pretty clear that her—and other antitrust advocates’—confidence is overblown.
Overall, constituents just don’t seem to care about the issue over other looming crises. A mere 1 percent of respondents to the polling want lawmakers to focus on tech regulation, while 61 percent trust the free market over government to enhance competition.
Americans want their representatives to prioritize inflation and economic stability, not policies that could make products even more expensive. Politicians should take note.