Friday, November 15, 2019
The Case against Antitrust Law: Ten Areas Where Antitrust Policy Can Move on from the Smokestack Era
Ryan Young, Competitive Enterprise Institute and Wayne Crews, Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) suggest The Case against Antitrust Law: Ten Areas Where Antitrust Policy Can Move on from the Smokestack Era.
ABSTRACT: Antitrust regulation harms both consumers, competition, and innovation and therefore should be repealed. From a legislative standpoint, this would involve repealing the Sherman Act of 1890, the Clayton Act of 1914, and the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914, as amended, including the Celler-Kafauver Act of 1950 and the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act of 1976. In addition, the executive branch should decline to prosecute weak or spurious antitrust cases, and courts should reverse bad precedents. A market-based approach to competition would reduce the regulatory uncertainty and chilling of innovation that results from government antitrust regulation. It would also reduce opportunities for rent-seeking.
The issue has taken on greater urgency, as populist politicians from both left and right push for more aggressive antitrust enforcement. Regulators in the United States and the European Union have expressed an interest in pursuing antitrust actions against tech giants known as the FAANG companies—Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google. President Trump has specifically singled out Facebook, Google, and Amazon as antitrust targets. Entire business models, such as franchising, are at risk from potential antitrust regulation.