PPI Statement on New Antitrust Legislation

New legislative package would be a devastating blow to American technological leadership

Today, Members of the House of Representatives introduced a new package of bills aimed at stifling digital innovation through extreme antitrust legislation.

Alec Stapp, Director of Technology Policy at the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) released the following statement:

“The package of bills proposed by Members of the Judiciary Committee would be a devastating blow to American technological leadership at a time when that leadership is more necessary — and more at risk — than ever. While the current system isn’t perfect — the FTC and DOJ urgently need more resources, for example — our antitrust institutions are part of the overall pro-innovation ecosystem that has enabled the United States to produce technology companies that are the envy of the world. These companies create good jobs for American workers — both directly and indirectly — as well as provide innovative products for consumers around the world.

“It makes no sense to apply a drastically different set of rules to a small handful of companies without clear evidence of consumer harms, and a compelling story for how these new rules would remedy those harms. On the contrary, radical measures such as line of business restrictions and bans on self-preferencing would destroy many of the integrated products consumers currently enjoy.

“Apple would no longer be allowed to make its own apps (the iPhone would arrive out of the box with an empty home screen). Google would no longer be allowed to offer Google Maps on Android devices or use it to show map results in search. Amazon would no longer be allowed to offer generic goods at lower prices (just as Walmart, Costco, and every other large retailer do). It’s hard to see how these rules would benefit anyone other than the small handful of competitors that have been trying to use regulation to kneecap America’s most successful companies.

“Lastly, the bill related to mergers is written so broadly that it would effectively ban all future acquisitions by large tech companies. This might have the unintended consequence of decreasing investment in startups because acquisitions are by far the most common way that founders, investors, and employees earn a return on their equity. Reforms are certainly necessary, especially on issues related to privacy, misinformation, and election interference, but these bills would do nothing to address those concerns and would cause more harm in the process.”

The Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) is a catalyst for policy innovation and political reform based in Washington, D.C. Its mission is to create radically pragmatic ideas for moving America beyond ideological and partisan deadlock. Learn more about PPI by visiting progressivepolicy.org.

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Media Contact: Aaron White — awhite@ppionline.org

Radically Pragmatic. We seek to advance progressive, market-friendly ideas that promote American innovation, economic growth, and wider opportunity.