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Statement: Biden’s Antimonopoly Order Means Accountability Is Finally Coming to Big Business

WASHINGTON, D.C.  The White House announced today that President Joe Biden will sign an executive order that will increase competition in the U.S. economy. Alex Harman, the competition policy advocate for Public Citizen, released the following statement:

“Big companies have far too much power over our economy and politics. Corporate monopolists are ripping off consumers, unfairly stomping on competitors, cheating workers, undermining innovation and more.

“Biden’s order takes straight aim at this problem and directs federal agencies to crack down on corporate concentration. It’s the most significant executive action against corporate monopolies in generations.

“As far-reaching as the EO is, it cannot address some of the deficiencies in the law that have limited the ability of enforcers to stop harmful concentration. For that, we need Congress to act now to strengthen the antitrust laws.

“This EO sends a clear and unambiguous message that corporate concentration throughout our economy is a crisis-level problem. That clarion call has been absent for decades, as administrations of both parties have let antitrust and antimonopoly enforcement fall into disrepair and decay.

“The far-reaching EO commits the Biden administration to address this problem head-on. It will benefit:

  • Workers, by targeting insidious non-compete agreements that suppress wages and limit mobility, and by directing antitrust enforcement agencies to prioritize enforcement in labor markets.
  • Consumers, by targeting abusive practices in the internet/broadband services, transportation, healthcare, and banking sectors which will result in lower prices and more consumer choice.
  • Small businesses, by targeting unfair practices across industries, including online marketplaces like Amazon, that have squeezed small businesses and trapped them in dependent relationships with large corporations that exploit the power imbalance.

“Importantly, the order takes aim at large technology platforms by expressly focusing on harmful mergers that have avoided scrutiny until now, including the gobbling up of smaller and potential competitors.

“The order also targets concerns about data and privacy by scrutinizing mergers that are motivated by the acquisition of data and those that impact user privacy, and by calling for regulation on online data collection and surveillance.

“Huge, abusive corporations are now on notice: The party is over. Accountability is coming.”