House Report on Tech and Antitrust Ignores the Consumer Harm Standard

Today the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law released a report advocating changing antitrust laws and using them to break up large technology companies. 

Associate Director of CEI’s Center for Technology and Innovation Jessica Melugin:

Today’s House report seems to ignore the central tenet of U.S. antitrust law: consumer harm. While the report frets over the interests of competitors to Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google, it takes for granted and puts at risk the huge benefits these firms have given consumers, especially during the COVID quarantine.  

CEI Vice President for Strategy Iain Murray on a Glass-Steagall for tech:

Glass-Steagall crippled the US banking industry for decades. It’s the height of folly to cripple the industry that has kept us going during an unprecedented recession.

Iain Murray on the report’s accusations of “predatory pricing”:

This is a classic antitrust shibboleth that has been rightly replaced by more sophisticated thinking. Low prices are good for consumers and drive manufacturers towards improving their businesses.

Iain Murray on report’s recommendations for restrictions on mergers and acquisitions:

You might as well require any entrepreneur to have an MBA *and* a JD before starting a business. Many entrepreneurs want to create, reap the rewards, and create some more. Saying the only route to cashing in is to lead your company to IPO will destroy dreams and lead to a less innovative culture, especially when financial regulation makes IPOs so difficult.

CEI Vice President for Policy Wayne Crews asks:

If these firm’s services are so harmful, why not just ban them outright? Also, how can it be that if firms with power earned voluntarily are too big, the answer is the even larger, coercive power of the government that will be aimed not just at the current targets, but potentially at everyone starting or running a business? 

Read more about CEI’s position on antitrust: cei.org/antitrust