The blood-boiling excesses of woke corporations can and should be curbed. But there’s no need to destroy the American free-market system in the bargain.
AEP President, Robert H. Bork, Jr., shares in the National Review how conservatives are being trapped into antitrust although their focus should be on Section 230. This puts the Consumer Welfare in jeopardy and lawmakers cannot let that happen.
Our President, Robert H. Bork, Jr., discussed on Fox Business' Larry Kudlow on how Joe Biden is neglecting the consumer welfare and how Biden's new competition policy is a power grab that will hurt our economic growth and investment.
Where's the Consumer Welfare? Our President, Robert H. Bork, Jr., writes how Joe Biden's new competition policy is a power grab that will hurt our economic growth and investment.
AEP's President, Robert H. Bork, Jr.:
What’s been needed all along is a way to protect conservative speech on social media without resorting to a punitive antitrust regime that would put all business under the thumb of Lina Khan and her ilk.
Jim Jordan and House Republicans responded this week with legislation that consolidates antitrust enforcement in the Department of Justice, where professional lawyers follow the law.
House Republicans would fix the content cancellation crisis by updating Section 230, which would require more of the social media companies in exchange for their liability protections. Facebook, Twitter, Google and other companies would have to be more transparent and precise about their content policies. They would have to adhere to objective standards and announce their reasoning in public for a given cancellation. And conservatives and other silenced groups would have a cause of action in court.
I haven’t read the details of this legislation yet, so I can’t speak to any possible long-term unintended consequences. But this general approach is the right one. I hope Republicans in the Senate are listening.
Our President, Robert H. Bork, Jr., provides a warning on why the Senate needs to block the confirmation of Lina Khan as the head of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in Real Clear Markets.
Our President, Robert H. Bork, Jr., writes in the National Review on how republicans should be wary of the massive expansion of government that increasingly popular anti-monopoly sentiments would entail.
It shouldn’t be news that The National Review came out in favor of the Consumer Welfare Standard in antitrust law, but it is. Many on the right, as well as the left, are ready to walk away from one of the greatest legacies of the philosophy of judicial restraint.
Alden Abbott and Tracy C. Miller wrote a strong piece that looks at what is at stake in current antitrust proposals from Democrats, often with support from Republicans. One set of proposals from Sen. Amy Klobuchar would evaluate mergers by the size of an acquiring company, while lowering the bar for convicting a firm of illegal monopolization. I would add that many on Capitol Hill are also getting behind a “precrime” proposal to shift the burden of proof to force businesses to prove that no harm could ever come from a proposed merger or acquisition.
Legal threats of such magnitude would prompt business to freeze. The result would undoubtedly be less innovation, less growth, fewer jobs.
Abbott and Miller also detail the 2020 studies by the House antitrust subcommittee endorsing sweeping regulation of digital platforms, more powers for the Federal Trade Commission to make rules, and tighter laws with a stronger emphasis on condemning dominant firm behavior out of hand, without regard the welfare of consumers. They would also use antitrust law to promote “fairness,” labor rights, as others have called to use antitrust law to instill better “values” in the American heart.
Abbott and McCall remind us that in Reiter v. Sonotone (1979), justice found that “Congress designed the Sherman Act as a ‘consumer welfare prescription.”
The money quote from this piece:
The antitrust consumer-welfare standard has served consumers well. Competitive forces have yielded a bounty of highly affordable and greatly enhanced digital products and services. The pace of innovation has been breathtaking. The last thing we should do is quickly impose new and amorphous antitrust restrictions that threaten this success story.
Antitrust law may not be able to repair the “values” of the American heart, but by anchoring the law to the Consumer Welfare Standard, the courts have allowed for four decades of economic growth and innovation. Why mess with that?
Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren make it clear their proposals for aggressive antitrust laws – liberated from the reigning Consumer Welfare Standard – will be used to reshape and manage not just Big Tech, but businesses in all sectors.
Sen. Warren, in her failed presidential bid, set the stage when she vowed to “appoint trustbusters” against purported monopolies in agriculture.
Now Mother Jones has a glowing piece about antitrust-progressives, like Lina Khan and Tim Wu, tapped by President Biden to serve on the Federal Trade Commission and National Economic Council, and how they will lead the charge not just against Big Tech, but against “Big Ag,” “Big Meat,” and “Big Poultry.” (Sounds better than “Big Chicken.”) While our eyes were on Facebook, Google and Twitter, the antitrust revolutionaries were licking their chops for Monsanto, Tysons and Smithfield.
It won’t stop there, of course. Also in their crosshairs are the airlines, energy companies, and financial service companies. It is almost as if the antitrust revolutionaries want to use the law to control all American business.
Hat tip to Matt Taibbi for pointing out that Columbia law professor Timothy Wu, now appointed to the National Economic Council by President Biden to revise antitrust law, wrote an article in 2017, “Is the First Amendment Obsolete?”
Taibbi notes the discrepancy between Wu calling himself a “devotee” of the great Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis (a proponent of “counter speech” against bad speech), while creeping up to the idea that the First Amendment “should be adapted to contemporary speech conditions.”
Such as … “to try to return the country to the kind of media environment that prevailed in the 1950s.”
Taibbi asks just what was it about the journalism of the 1950s we should celebrate – “a historically repressive atmosphere of conformity … all sorts of glaring social problems covered up or de-emphasized with relative ease,” including the impact of Jim Crow laws?
Money quote: “Every time a Democratic Party-aligned politician or activist says he or she wants the tech companies to take action to prevent, say, the dissemination of fake news, one has to realize that it makes little sense for those same actors to then turn around and advocate for breakup of those same firms.”
Does if it makes sense for the White House to rely on someone to revise antitrust law to break up Big Tech social media companies – ostensibly because of dysfunctional speech – who also believes the First Amendment is a relic of a bygone era, like wigs and stockings?