PROTECTING SMALL BUSINESS, PROMOTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP

New Senate Bill Would Lead to Less Online Choice, Innovation, and Access to the Digital Economy

By at 14 October, 2021, 12:07 pm

NEWS

For Immediate Release

Washington, D.C. – According to various press reports, a bill will soon be introduced in the U.S. Senate – “The American Innovation and Choice Online Act” – by Senator Klobuchar (D-MN) and Senator Grassley (R-IA), which proposes to dictate how large tech firms serve customers and small businesses. The legislation would also give the federal government significant new powers to micromanage the digital economy. According to the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council), this massive intrusion into the digital economy would actually lead to less innovation and less choice, and harm small businesses and U.S. tech leadership.

SBE Council president & CEO Karen Kerrigan said:

“At a time when our economy and small businesses are working to get through the uncertainties of inflation, labor shortages, weak or flat revenues, supply chain disruptions, and surviving the pandemic generally, along comes a damaging legislative effort such as this, which would only fuel more uncertainty and problems.”

Raymond J. Keating, SBE Council’s chief economist observed:

“When government steps in to dictate or limit business models, there will be inevitable costs and consequences, some foreseen and others unforeseen. So, government threatening technology companies with antitrust action due to how such firms offer and present their own products that are similar to those offered by other companies seems like an undertaking designed to have these technology companies limit product offerings from other businesses, including from entrepreneurs and small businesses. Competition from emerging, existing and future competitors is a wondrous spur to innovation, with consumers ultimately calling the shot. Government stepping in to interfere in that process will only lead to less innovation, reduced entrepreneurship, and leaving consumers worse off.”

Kerrigan added:

“Tech platforms have helped countless small businesses survive the pandemic and government messing around with big tech’s business models is not close to being a priority issue. There are far more pressing matters that need to be addressed like tax certainty and relief, regulatory stability, getting Americans back to work, fixing the supply chain, and helping entrepreneurs successfully launch new businesses. Dismantling and micromanaging the platforms small businesses use to reach new markets and sell to customers is a head-scratcher in terms of congressional priorities. It will undermine the recovery and harm the American economy. Obviously, our international competitors are loving these types of actions that aim to knee-cap U.S. tech leaders.”

Keating also noted:

“Companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google offer tremendous benefits to consumers, such as in terms of price, choice and quality. After all, that’s how these companies gained market share in the first place. Meanwhile, these tech firms also help to create opportunities for entrepreneurs and small businesses via, for example, expanded and more affordable marketing options, and greater ability to reach customers with their products. This bipartisan bill threatens much of that, including the online tools and experiences customers and entrepreneurs use to enhance their lives and businesses.”

For more on SBE Council’s work on competition and regulatory policy click here.

Contact:

Karen Kerrigan, kkerrigan@sbecouncil.org

Raymond J. Keating, rkeating@sbecouncil.org

SBE Council is nonpartisan advocacy, research and education organization dedicated to protecting small business and promoting entrepreneurship. For 27 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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