With the Senate nearing adjournment until after the November elections, majority leader Chuck Schumer is plotting an eleventh-hour floor vote on the Klobuchar antitrust bill. He would need 60 votes to pass it, but this nightmare could happen because, alas, a number of GOP senators, including Chuck Grassley support it.
A new CTUP study from Arthur Laffer and Stephen Moore finds the bill would nearly double the Federal Trade Commission budget, the number of regulators, and the legal authority of the FTC to harass American businesses seeking to expand their operations. Even more dangerous, the bill would scrap the historical “consumer welfare standard” – i.e., are consumers being hurt by industry concentration – for a new antitrust theory that outlaws corporate behavior if it hurts competitors in the industry. This would effectively outlaw Amazon Prime because it is too efficient.
The agency’s chairman, super-regulator Lina Kahn would now have the resources to enable the FTC to challenge nearly every major merger and acquisition that is proposed between American companies. No Republican in the Senate who believes in the power of deregulation should be in favor of such a massive power grab by the FTC – one of the most intrusive of all regulatory agencies.