Democrats Show Their Hand on Antitrust, GOP Should Walk Away

Democrats Show Their Hand on Antitrust, GOP Should Walk Away

Posted: Mar 29, 2022 12:01 AM

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The Prohibiting Anticompetitive Mergers Act, which would dramatically increase antitrust enforcement in the United States, was just introduced by a group of Democratic members of Congress. The legislation grants sweeping powers to the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to block mergers and acquisitions worth more than $5 billion without trial. The legislation also grants power to retroactively unwind approved mergers and basically block/undo anything else that the unelected bureaucrats at these agencies believe harms workers, consumers, or small businesses. It’s a blank check for regulating society through regulatory fiat. While undoubtedly a messaging bill that won’t go anywhere soon, the message is clear: this is the future of antitrust law that the Democrats want as a tool to regulate anything and everything. Sadly, many Republicans are helping them get there by supporting a host of antitrust bills targeting “big tech.”The underlying antitrust statutes of the US are incredibly vague considering the amount of power they hand to regulators. Even the most prominent defenders of expansive and aggressive antitrust enforcement admit this. Lacking objective and neutral criteria in antitrust for decades led to a body of case law that was “incoherent,” “contradictory and unpredictable.” In regard to antitrust enforcement, Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously wrote, “The sole consistency that I can find is […] the Government always wins.”Thus, within a precedented model of antitrust law lie …

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