PROTECTING SMALL BUSINESS, PROMOTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP

SBE Council Warns of Antitrust Blitz and Potential Impacts on Small Business

By at 25 February, 2021, 9:25 am

NEWS

For Immediate Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) released a briefing paper titled “The Treacherous Turn on Antitrust Regulation of U.S. Tech Companies.”

As the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law kicks off a series of hearings – the first on Thursday, February 25th – on antitrust, particularly as directed at leading U.S. technology firms, SBE Council has taken a close look at the reports on antitrust law and tech firms from the subcommittee’s Democratic majority and Republican minority, as well as the general state of antitrust regulation.

RELATED: Small Business Has Problems with Harassing America’s Big Tech, Washington Times Op-ed by Karen Kerrigan, February 24, 2021.

SBE Council chief economist Raymond J. Keating, author of the briefing paper, notes that antitrust has long been rooted in politics rather than economics, and little attention is given to antitrust regulation’s impact on entrepreneurship and small business. Keating said:

“Given the formidable shortcomings of antitrust law and regulation, one would hope that if Congress was going to consider reform or updating, the effort would be focused on at least trying to somehow better connect the law and enforcement with economic realities and how markets function.”

He notes that reports produced by the committee serve up recommendations that would create far greater distance between how markets work and antitrust regulation.

The analysis highlights how creativity, innovation and advancements in computer, telecommunications, digital and online technologies and services have transformed daily life, business and our economy in beneficial and previously unimaginable ways, as well as how those benefits have been magnified during the COVID-19 pandemic, with these technologies becoming lifelines for individuals, families, and small businesses.

Keating walks through assorted problems of antitrust law and regulation throughout its history and as it stands today, including politics prevailing over sound economics; little, if any, recognition of what a monopoly actually is; a discussion of the role that the consumer plays, or should play, when it comes to antitrust; and the insurmountable challenges that elected officials and their appointees face when it comes to aligning antitrust actions with economic realities.

Regarding the subcommittee’s Democratic majority and Republican minority reports, Keating points out, “Neither report offers anything that will improve antitrust law and enforcement. Instead, the various proposals labor under mistaken assumptions; and would actually inject more politics and uncertainty into the antitrust equation, while moving antitrust law, regulation and enforcement further away from sound economics.”

Keating concludes, “The last thing that U.S. entrepreneurship, business, innovation, investment and growth need is bipartisan support for expanding regulatory burdens, including in the arena of antitrust.”

Related Content:

The Tech Antitrust Sideshow vs. Small Business Realities, Small Business Insider, February 24, 2021.

Increased Antitrust Hype Overlooks Value of Tech for Small Businesses, Small Business Insider, February 24, 2021.

CONTACT: Karen Kerrigan, kkerrigan@sbecouncil.org

                        Ray Keating, rkeating@sbecouncil.org

SBE Council is nonpartisan advocacy, research and education organization dedicated to protecting small business and promoting entrepreneurship. For more than 25 years, SBE Council has worked on and advanced a range of private sector and public policy initiatives to strengthen the ecosystem for strong startup activity and small business growth. Visit www.sbecouncil.org for additional information. Twitter: @SBECouncil

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