Open Markets: Buttigieg, Beto Must Take a Stand on Monopoly Power
April 25, 2019
Washington, DC — Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN) came out during a CNN town hall event last night and in response to a question on how he’ll approach large corporations and stated:
“Antitrust law, as we know it, has begun to hit its limits with regulating tech companies. It’s not designed to handle some of these tech companies… We’re going to need to empower the FTC to be able to intervene, including blocking or reversing mergers in cases where there’s anticompetitive behavior by tech companies.”
Last week, former Congressman Beto O’Rourke also told Business Insider that he didn’t think “breaking up Amazon” is the way to “renew dynamism” in the American economy and “address concentrated power.” O’Rourke also made earlier statements rejecting Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) proposal to break-up big tech claiming that big tech companies needed to be “treated like a utility” and that he “was not sure about breaking up the big tech companies” although he favored regulating them.
Open Markets is pleased to see Mayor Buttigieg and Rep. O’Rourke consider the question of corporate power, but Buttigieg appears confused and O’Rourke appears to be sitting on the fence.
Antitrust law has not “hit it limits,” it hasn’t been enforced. The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have more than enough institutional power at their disposal to block mega-mergers, prevent anti-competitive activity and even retroactively break-up previously approved mergers. The FTC can also use other competition policy tools, such as its 2011 consent decree against Facebook or its authority to bar unfair methods of competition, to restructure markets. The Sherman and Clayton Acts are powerful laws which have not been meaningfully applied in more than four decades by enforcers, leading to the concentration of power across various industries.
Momentum is building against the power of these corporate giants, as Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) have all taken strong positions calling to the break-up of big business, from tech to agriculture. Rep. O’Rourke and Mayor Buttigieg by contrast have refused to take a stand. There are two paths to address monopoly power. Either we the people break up corporate monopolies and regulate our society, or our monopolists will break our democracy and regulate us.
Press Contact: Stella Roque at Open Markets Institute, [email protected]