The Market Institute joined a letter opposing the weaponizing of antitrust laws by Congress.
While left-wing proponents may sell these bills as the answer to conservative censorship online, empowering unaccountable bureaucrats would only increase the potential for government abuse of Americans’ free speech rights, including those of conservatives. The coalition urges Senators to reject antitrust legislation that would give the Biden Administration, and any future administration, new power to reshape the economy.
You can view the letter here or below:
Despite full control of Congress and President Joe Biden in the Oval Office, the
Democratic Party finds many of its top legislative priorities stalled.
Polls indicate that Democrats will likely lose control of both the House and
Senate in the midterm election. As the clock ticks between now and November,
savvy progressives will likely try to rush through any legislation that has a chance
of “bipartisan” support.
The “antitrust” over-regulation bills pushed by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)
and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) may come up for a floor vote before the end of this
Congress. While proponents sell these bills as the answer to conservative
censorship online, empowering unaccountable bureaucrats would only increase
the potential for government abuse of Americans’ free speech rights, including
those of conservatives.
We urge you to reject antitrust legislation that would give the Biden
Administration, and any future administration, new power to reshape the
economy. Republicans should reject calls to help the left pass antitrust
bills that would give unelected bureaucrats sweeping new regulatory
The “American Innovation and Choice Online Act” (S. 2992) would apply to
publicly-traded companies with a $550 billion market capitalization and over 50
million monthly users. The bill also captures privately-held companies with
revenue over $30 billion, hitting companies in sectors beyond Big Tech.
S. 2992 would ban targeted companies from selling or providing private-label
products or services on their own platforms, a practice beneficial to consumers
but negatively branded as “self-preferencing.” Grocery stores do this all the time
when they sell generic goods that are cheaper than the name brands. The last
thing Congress needs to do amid generation-high inflation is reduce access to
generic goods families are reaching for just to make ends meet.
If an unelected bureaucrat determines that a company is guilty, the government
can levy a whopping 15 percent fine of the company’s revenue. For companies
that operate with razor-thin profit margins, like retailers, this fine could easily be
more than a company’s total profits. Another bill marked up by the House
Judiciary Committee would give bureaucrats the power to break companies up
Another bill sponsored by Sen. Klobuchar, the “Platform Competition and
Opportunity Act” (S. 3197), would ban companies with a market cap of over
$600 billion from merging with or acquiring other businesses. Here’s the catch –
only companies who have reached this government-determined size at the time
of enactment will get whacked with new mandates. This means that if Target,
Minnesota’s largest company with a $97 billion market cap hits the threshold
somewhere down the line, it will be exempt from these new regulations.
In a recent markup, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) perfectly summarized the intentions
of the Klobuchar antitrust bills: “What do we gain by giving deep-state
bureaucrats control over Big Tech? They don’t want to break up Big Tech to
protect us, but to control it and use it against us.”
Sen. Lee is right – conservatives know that if you give the government an inch of
new power, it will take a mile. Giving the Biden Administration more power to
regulate companies will not fix the problem of conservative censorship. Instead,
companies would likely ramp up censorship of conservatives, as well as other
types of censorship, to avoid government prosecution.
Sen. Klobuchar and other proponents are attempting to jam this antitrust power
grab through Congress to score a last-minute win and claim that they have “done
something” about “Big Tech.” But the approach outlined in these bills, which
Republicans should reject, will harm consumers and cede American tech
leadership to other nations, including China.
Lawmakers should reject efforts to give the executive branch sweeping
new powers over American businesses, let alone the type of new regulatory
authority these bills would enable.