Sen. Hawley and the Urge to Merge

March 16, 2021

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, chair of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust, is honing legislation to recast antitrust law for a more “competitive” economy. Her vision of antitrust would put all corporations in America on double-secret probation – with powers so sweeping that businesses of all sorts would have to clear virtually any plan with Washington before acting.

Sen. Klobuchar wants:

  • Another antitrust division in the FTC.
  • To prevent “anti competitive” actions by big companies, which presumably would cover crimes like delivering a superior product at a lower price.
  • Force companies to prove to a Philip K. Dick-like pre-crime unit that nothing done today will cause harm in the future.

Making her job all that easier are Republicans so angry at woke Big Tech that they have forgotten that someone in Washington needs to defend capitalism, the free market and the Consumer Welfare Standard.

“Why should any dominant corporation be able to merge with any other entity?” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) said during the Thursday hearing. “Why should Google, for instance, or Facebook be able to buy anything else given their dominant size?”

Why indeed? Those are 101 questions, which is surpassingly strange for a graduate of Stanford University and Yale Law School. Surely, Sen. Hawley could answer his own questions. He knows that these rules, while inflicting damage on social media platforms he hates, will also subject the rest of the economy to deep, sustained regulation at every turn.

We are on the verge of seeing the passage of broad social control of all American business under the guise of antitrust legislation. The result will be higher prices and fewer choices for American consumers and a less competitive America against China.

And if it happens, it will be because of the complicity of Republicans.