The American economy is in free-fall and the Democrats leading our Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have neither the experience nor skills to help stop it.
While most of us have never heard of the FTC, it’s authorized to regulate the entire U.S. economy – every single business from small corner shops to multinational corporations. The agency could make it easier for the U.S. economy to bounce back, but the FTC’s Democrat leadership lacks the experience, education, and intent to help us.
None of its Democrat leaders – neither Democrat Chair Lina Khan, nor Commissioners Bedoya nor Slaughter – have worked outside of academia, law firms, or coastal cities. Most of their experiences are inside the Beltway. None of these intellectuals holds a degree or background in economics. And Chair Khan made her career by complaining about prices being too low for Americans shopping on Amazon.
Suffice to say, they are out of their depth and dissociated from the problems Americans are facing every day. Given this lack of experience, one might expect them to rely on the non-partisan economists who’ve successfully supported FTC commissioners of both parties for decades. But that’s not the case for these self-anointed experts: they are both poisoning a once-trusted agency and deeply harming the American economy.
Within the first few months of her Chair, Khan has dismantled decades of bipartisan antitrust consensus and launched a war on American businesses, while appearing tone-def to the economic struggles of the American people.
For example, despite a nationwide computer-chip shortage, Khan led a lawsuit to prevent a merger by American software company Nvidia to increase chip production. This has kept the vital supply of semiconductor chips low making it impossible to manufacture everything from cars to microwaves. And, Khan’s "success" resulted in increasing inflation and raising costs by an additional six percent while cutting car manufacturing in half.
As Americans aim to get cheaper goods and stretch their dollars further, Chair Khan is trying to prevent American businesses from growing. Khan opposed the Amazon-MGM merger which enables us to watch the new James Bond movie free on Prime Video. Khan led efforts to prevent Apple from offering us streaming music on our phones and Google from showing us maps in a search result. This is because Khan believes the role of the government is to protect competitors like Spotify and Target, rather than making sure consumers are most benefited by accessing the best services at the lowest prices.
Khan proudly decries "efficiency" which is the type of statement we expect from someone who never ran a business. This unapologetic antagonism is causing our country to lose out on important services and technologies; and is decreasing our quality of life.
Fortunately, forty years ago, a Democrat Congress stripped away much of the FTC’s power. Before that rebuke, the FTC enjoyed nearly unlimited control over the U.S. economy – it could create rules on a whim and enforce them against any business the leaders didn’t like. We saw the FTC abuse this power to regulate almost everything in our lives, from oil to airlines, from coffee to cereal, and even trying to outlaw ads during Saturday morning cartoons.
When even Congressional Democrats saw this was too much abuse, they eviscerated the FTC’s authority. They restored it as a Commission, rather than the Fourth Branch of Government it had become.
Despite the available history lesson, Chair Khan is determined to take back power and reshape the economy in the interests of her policies, not in the best interest of Americans. And, while she and her agency lack the necessary authority, no one appears to be able to stop her. At a time of historic inflation, expenses, and poverty we can’t have an FTC that doesn’t put consumers first. Khan’s actions already exacerbated problems like our computer chip shortage.
Chair Khan’s progressive policies are kneecapping our economy when we’re just trying to walk. The best step she could take to alleviate the economic hardships of Americans is by getting out of the way and allowing our businesses to do what they do best – serve, innovate and thrive. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be Chair Kahn's goal.
Carl Szabo is Vice President and General Counsel for NetChoice, and Professor of Internet Law at the George Mason Antonin Scalia Law School.