Consumer doom: Both parties are pushing antitrust rules as a 2020 issue

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After a two-decade lull following the Microsoft case, big antitrust enforcement cases are back in vogue. Both political parties are making antitrust regulation a 2020 campaign issue. Regulators, politicians, and voters have reasonable concerns about concentrated corporate power. But few policies are easier for big companies to game than antitrust regulation. Reformers should favor having fewer regulations for special interests to capture, not more.

Antitrust regulation is also often used for political purposes, not to enhance competition. President Trump has threatened antitrust actions against Facebook, Google, and Amazon, reportedly due in part to unfavorable press coverage appearing in Facebook feeds and Google searches, as well as the fact that Amazon’s Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post. Trump’s Justice Department already tried, unsuccessfully, to block the AT&T-Time Warner merger, allegedly for political reasons. The company owns CNN, an even bigger nemesis of Trump’s.

Meanwhile, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., put forward a comprehensive antitrust policy as a signature part of her presidential campaign platform. She would break up the same tech companies President Trump is targeting. She would also undermine the sanctity of contracts by pledging to “appoint regulators who are committed to using existing tools to unwind anti-competitive mergers” that have already been completed. Other politicians are taking similar stances, from Bernie Sanders to Beto O’Rourke, who advocates “stronger antitrust regulations that break up monopolies.”

Read the full article at the Washington Examiner.