CEI’s Consistent Opposition to Government Regulation Protects Consumers


Last night, television entertainer Tucker Carlson aired a segment attacking CEI and other free-market groups for opposition to using government power to intervene in markets and questioning the integrity of our positions.

CEI President Kent Lassman responded:

“Since its founding in 1984, the Competitive Enterprise Institute has opposed government regulations that interfere with property rights, free flowing prices, and consumer choices in the market. The characteristics of economic regulation include protection for incumbents against innovators and new entrants and misallocated resources. More often than not, economic regulation disproportionately hurts consumers. We have consistently opposed regulations both supported and opposed by industry, including large technology companies. On so-called Net Neutrality regulations, CEI opposed government interference into technology that was supported by big tech and social media companies because we believe those regulations would harm competitiveness, innovation and, ultimately, consumers. The regulations would obliterate property rights for millions of shareholders in the massive capital investments made to build communications networks and ultimately put power in the hands of government proctors to decide what we see, hear, read, and share on those networks.

“For more than 35 years, CEI has advocated against antitrust regulation and advocated free markets rooted in consumer sovereignty. ‘Truly competitive markets are inherently free markets, unrestrained by antitrust regulators second-guessing valid business decisions,’ CEI senior policy analyst Jule R. Herbert, Jr. wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed titled An Antitrust Route to Re-regulation, on July 26, 1985. CEI’s consistent opposition to antitrust predates many companies that may seem dominant today. A simple search for ‘antitrust’ on cei.org shows hundreds of publications, commentaries, and media citations criticizing antitrust. It is a legitimate and widely held position undeserving of drive-by smears. Two years before CEI was established in 1984, CEI’s founder, Fred L. Smith, Jr., wrote a lengthy analysis titled ‘Why Not Abolish Antitrust?’, building a persuasive case against antitrust law.

“CEI has always sought reform of our nation’s regulatory system to promote economic liberty, opportunity, and prosperity and is directed independently by our policy experts and managers, not by outside interests. We proudly seek out allies who share our values and policy priorities, and that includes individuals, businesses, and foundations. And we do not change our positions on public policy issues to suit the politics of the day or please the occupants of powerful offices whose whims can have profound negative effects on American families.”