The rise of the antitrust hipsters
The Biden administration is very publicly building one of the most aggressive teams of business regulators and would-be trustbusters in recent memory. Capping the move was the appointment of 32 year-old Lina Khan to run the Federal Trade Commission – the same Khan who said Amazon is a corporate evil that must be broken-up because it provides a multitude of goods and services quickly and cheaply to tens of millions of customers.
Charlie Gasparino writes Biden’s appointees could spell real trouble for the economy, and wonders whether we could have weathered the government-mandated shutdowns without the tech companies the Biden-ites want to dismantle:
…could society have functioned properly during the COVID lockdowns without Amazon deliveries? All businesses would have shuttered were it not for tech innovations like Zoom. While we are at it, if Big Tech is so powerful and evil, why are its platforms so popular with most Americans?
Then there’s the bureaucratic two-step Team Biden used to get Khan the top FTC job:
The sleight of hand the Biden administration used to appoint Khan as FTC chair is also worth noting. The Senate originally confirmed her as an FTC commissioner; she received some GOP support because Republicans are hating Big Tech these days — but they didn’t think she would be named FTC boss.
But right after her Tuesday confirmation as commissioner, the White House elevated her to FTC chair. Not only were GOP senators who had voted for her blindsided, but so was Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, whose close associate Rebecca Kelly Slaughter — a more seasoned antitrust lawyer — was serving as acting commissioner.
White House sources say the shotgun-wedding approach was out of concern that Big Tech would lobby against her to the GOP and possibly Schumer. Now Khan, the 30-something antitrust hipster, can join forces with Gensler and possibly Racine to put progressive theories to work in the business world.
Government goes through cycles of more and slightly less regulation (it never entirely deregulates, regardless of what critics say). The pendulum has swung toward aggressive regulation – to the point of punishment. That could spell real trouble for a sustained economic recovery.