Congressional Price Hike? How the American Innovation and Choice Online Act Raises Prices on Consumers – uschamber.com

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The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) recent actions are alarming and pose a serious threat to our economy.

Inflation is already hurting families, workers, employers, and our economy, and the American Innovation and Choice Online Act would only lead to higher prices for consumers.

Neil Bradley Neil Bradley Executive Vice President, Chief Policy Officer, and Head of Strategic Advocacy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Published
June 21, 2022
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Inflation is hitting four-decade highs, hurting families, workers, employers, and our economy. Remarkably, Senator Klobuchar is still demanding a vote on her misnamed ‘‘American Innovation and Choice Online Act,’’ legislation that would lead to higher prices.   
The bill gives the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) unprecedented new powers to micromanage the economy and dictate whether, when, where, and how certain companies can compete. But across the 24 pages of text, nowhere does it mandate those powers be used to benefit consumers by lowering prices. In fact, the legislation breaks sharply from existing antitrust law, which focuses on the interests of consumers. Existing law recognizes that vigorous competition lowers price, drives innovation, and gives consumers the power to decide winners and losers in the market. References to price or economic efficiency, however, only stand in the way of the bill’s objective, which is to replace the consumer welfare standard with amorphous criteria that allow the government to decide what’s best. 
Here are three ways the bill would likely lead to higher prices: 

No doubt, government regulators would find plenty of other examples of pro-consumer competition that would become illegal under the law, but at a minimum, the bill would usher in an unprecedented level of government involvement in the economy — without concern for consumers or prices.  
Such an approach is never a good idea, but it is especially tone-deaf at a time of inflation. According to a recent poll, an overwhelming majority of Americans (88%) want the government to focus on policies that reduce inflation and the cost of living – not fan the flames. With these numbers in mind, the Senate would be wise to leave this bill on the shelf. 
Executive Vice President, Chief Policy Officer, and Head of Strategic Advocacy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Neil Bradley is executive vice president, chief policy officer, and head of strategic advocacy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He has spent two decades working directly with congressional committee chairpersons and other high-ranking policymakers to achieve solutions.
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