A Tale Of Two Decisions: Trump Administration Got Antitrust Wrong, But Net Neutrality Right
Investor’s Business Daily quoted Frank Bednarz on emerging sentiments held by lawyers recently emerging from Law School which consider the centralization of industrialization to be negatively impactful disregarding the fact that centralized industry lowers consumer prices.
First, the AT&T-Time Warner merger. The bedrock of U.S. antitrust law is the idea that a merger or business combination will in some way stifle competition and, thereby, hurt consumers, too. In the case of the proposed AT&T-Time Warner deal, neither will happen.
Here in the U.S., antitrust is ordinarily concerned with what are called horizontal mergers — those that involve companies in substantially the same line of business, creating a monopolistic monolith that, it’s argued, limits choice and raises prices for consumers.
While even this is debatable, it’s not the case with AT&T and Time Warner deal. Their proposed merger is vertical, one in which the two players operate in different parts of the distribution chain, in this case entertainment and digital services.
Competitive Enterprise Institute attorney Frank Bednarz calls it “Hipster Antitrust.” That jokey phrase describes a lot.
Bednarz says the antitrust “hipsters” — really youngish members of a legal school of thought known as the New Brandeis School — believe that, regardless of the impact on consumer prices, “industrial concentration undermines income equality, workers’ wages, and even democracy itself,” wrote Bednarz.
Originally published on IBD.