Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers is a liberal no one should mistake for a Chicago-School economic conservative. When he was at Treasury, Summers presided over a golden economy, a remarkable period of growth, balanced budgets, and low inflation. So when Summers raises alarms about the likely bad outcomes of Biden Administration economic policy, attention must be paid.
In 2021, when the U.S. economy was clocking in at 6 percent annual growth, Summers warned that no stimulus was needed. In fact, he predicted that runaway government spending would result in inflation. The United States today is in greater debt to itself than in anytime in our history. And inflation is close to 9 percent.
Now Summers is warning about the dangers of progressive antitrust to economic growth and as a potential driver of inflation. While Summers speaks in favor for more antitrust enforcement under current laws, he warned that jettisoning the consumer welfare standard in favor of a “generalized feeling of hostility and outrage” against business is dangerous.
Summers says that hipster antitrust is “badly misguided and potentially dangerous to our economic future.” He told Bloomberg Television: “It’s very important that we have antitrust policy based on facts, based on economic science, based on consumers – not on a kind of generalized feeling of hostility and outrage towards business.”
Summers also recently tweeted: “Policies that attack bigness can easily be inflationary if they prevent the exploitation of economies of scale or limit superstar firms.” He also tweeted: “The emerging claim that antitrust can combat inflation reflects ‘science denial’ There are many areas like transitory inflation where serious economists differ. Antitrust as an anti-inflation strategy is not one of them.”
Summers shows that one can be impeccably liberal and still see that populist antitrust is an inflationary threat to consumers and the economic growth that supports jobs and working families.
Real Clear Politics (Commentary)
AEP President, Robert H. Bork, Jr., provides commentary on Real Clear Politics.
Since then, progressive antitrust appointees at the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice, and the White House Competition Council have moved with alacrity to expand the mission and scope of regulation to deal with this emergency. FTC Chair Lina Khan, who is spearheading the administration’s effort to make a wholesale revision in antitrust regulation, wrote that “studies reveal high concentration to now be a systemic, rather than isolated, feature of our economy.”
Some moderate and conservative legislators seem to be acting in the belief that their voters support the radical expansion of antitrust policy now popular in Washington.
Our recent Antitrust Education Project poll of 1,000 registered voters shows the opposite.
When asked whether antitrust law should protect a corporation’s customers or the businesses it competes with, 54 percent of respondents went with the Consumer Welfare Standard – including 58 percent of Democrats.
When asked if the current antitrust laws work, 53 percent said they work well, with many agreeing that these laws need better enforcement.
And for those politicians who are most concerned about “wokeism” in corporate leadership, take note that a commanding 83 percent of respondents said they oppose bringing partisan politics into antitrust.
Voters do not like politics in antitrust law. They want policies that benefit consumers, not the radical theories now popular in Washington.
Teens are shifting from Instagram to TikTok even as critics claim the company has few competitors.
AEP's President, Robert H. Bork, Jr., provides a history lesson in The Wall Street Journal on antitrust and how today’s focus is off track and thus will result in harming consumers. A must read.
AEP President, Robert H. Bork, Jr., writes in the Wall Street Journal on how Xi Jinping and Joe Biden are waging their version of Maoist rectification that is driving against successful firms.
“Republicans who buy into the dangerous antitrust theories of Sen. Amy Klobuchar will find themselves responsible for turning over terabytes of U.S. customer data to China. They will kill popular services that Americans love. They will subject all American businesses a potential death penalty fine of 15 percent of their total U.S. revenues. At this time of high inflation, we don’t need policies that will kill growth, job creation, and innovation.
“If conservatives think U.S. corporations today are too ‘woke,’ just wait until we put them under the heavy thumb of the Federal Trade Commission and Chair Lina Khan. We are on the threshold of turning all private business decisions over to government control.”
Real Clear Politics (Commentary)
COMMENTARY FROM AEP'S PRESIDENT, ROBERT H. BORK, JR., ON REAL CLEAR POLITICS
Congress can be like a frozen lake in the Midwest, solid on the surface but with schools of fish beneath the ice. While Democrats are locked into conflict over spending, and Republicans burrow into opposition, senators from both parties are cooperating to craft bipartisan legislation to subject a handful of Big Tech companies to stringent new antitrust regulations.
If they succeed, these senators are setting out to prove that with a little hard work and cooperation, leaders in Washington can still reach across the aisle to harm consumers and the economy.
The Antitrust Education Project (AEP) joins a coalition of 30 conservative and free market groups and activists to deliver a letter in opposition to the Senate Democrats who plan to pass a package of European-style antitrust regulations.
THE ANTITRUST EDUCATION PROJECT PRESENTS: THE FUTURE OF ANTITRUST WITH SENATOR CHUCK GRASSLEY
Robert H. Bork, Jr., President of the Antitrust Education Project, talks with Sen. Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, about the radically changing landscape of antitrust enforcement in the United States.
After this 30-minute “fireside chat,” Mr. Bork was joined by Ashley Baker, Director of Public Policy at the Committee for Justice and founder of the Alliance for Antitrust, and Jan Rybnicek, antitrust and competition counsel at Freshfields to discuss Senator Grassley’s insights and the outlook for antitrust enforcement.
Robert Bork, Jr.
On September 15, 2021, the Federalist Society presented this special day-long, in-person conference on Judge Robert Bork's The Antitrust Paradox. The influential work has been recently republished so that the new generation of general practitioners and antitrust thinkers alike can bring his work to bear on their own. This conference featured discussion of the book and its relevance to contemporary antitrust issues.
AEP's President, Robert H. Bork, Jr., joined the panel to discuss the republishing of the book and the Consumer Welfare Standard today.