A recent survey found that 25 out of 100 Americans buy items on Amazon at least once per week. But the Biden administration’s Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) decision to sue Amazon in federal court for supposedly violating antitrust law last week could change that for consumers.
Specifically, the FTC claims that “Amazon’s ongoing pattern of illegal conduct blocks competition, allowing it to wield monopoly power to inflate prices, degrade quality, and stifle innovation for consumers and businesses.”
This federal case will waste a lot of time and taxpayer money as it has no basis.
In the Pelican Institute’s recent research, we highlighted the radicalism by those looking to make political points regarding antitrust enforcement instead of following the half-century, objective consumer welfare standard.
As history has proven, empowering people in the marketplace rather than bureaucrats in government results in more efficient and effective outcomes and better supports liberty and prosperity.
The FTC’s Chair, Lina Khan, and Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Department of Justice’s antitrust division, have been doubling down on the administration’s aggressive approach to antitrust enforcement. This is the latest example, and they haven’t had a good track record.
Antitrust laws were designed to protect consumers and promote fair competition but rarely achieve these goals. Inevitably, businesses become the antitrust enforcement targets, resulting in less economic growth, innovation, and job creation, leading to higher prices and hindered prosperity.
In short, consumers and employers are hurt by antitrust overreach, which will result from this sham case against Amazon by the FTC. And it will mean other companies must increase their legal team because they may be next.
Protecting consumer welfare, which refers to the value consumers receive above the price they pay for goods and services, should be the driving force behind antitrust enforcement. This acknowledges that consumers have the sovereignty to make decisions supporting the competitive market process.
If not, we will have much less consumer satisfaction, which would be unfortunate because of the administration’s radical approach in the Amazon case. Instead, common sense should lead the way so that Amazon can continue to provide the satisfaction demanded by consumers rather than be directed by government.
Originally posted at Pelican Institute.
Vance Ginn, Ph.D.