We, the undersigned economic, legal, and public policy experts, write to express concern over legislative and executive branch proposals aimed at dramatically expanding government antitrust and competition regulation authority over the technology sector and ultimately the entire economy. Now is a particularly important time to remind policymakers that the principles embodied in the consumer welfare standard and light touch regulation remain relevant, applicable, and vital to our future prosperity.

Earlier this year, several antitrust bills were introduced in the U.S. Senate, supposedly to improve competition in the U.S technology sector. In reality these bills would punish American companies for offering integrated services, regardless of the benefits to consumers those services provide, and make a number of common business practices like selling private labels alongside name brands a violation of antitrust laws. Rather than advancing helpful competition standards based on sound economics, these proposals would require U.S. tech firms to obtain government pre-approval to promote and integrate new products. Such proposals are not based on any findings of market power or the ability to exclude rivals. Instead these are punitive measures that target a handful of tech firms that fall under a set of arbitrary criteria.

Many of us have warned about proposals that distort existing antitrust standards and fail to focus on harm to consumers. The Senate bills would almost certainly lead to such harm. They would disrupt the processes through which tech firms design new products and operate, thereby impairing competition in such markets. They would also erode the ability of American firms to compete with rivals in China and elsewhere in a wide range of emerging technologies, ranging from existing digital products to artificial intelligence, advanced robotics and quantum computing.

Government-required break-ups, restructuring, or restrictions on business models do not usually serve the interests of the consumers whom public officials seek to protect. If companies are utilizing business practices in demonstrably anticompetitive ways to harm consumers, existing antitrust law adequately equips the government with the tools to take reasonable action. These proposals seek to shift the focus of antitrust law away from helping consumers and toward bolstering competitors, thereby hindering economic growth and undermining decades of existing antitrust precedent. Moreover, they do not offer a solution to broader concerns about technology and privacy.

It is extremely rare to see proposals that would dramatically increase antitrust authority for only a small number of targeted companies. This could represent a very troubling turning point in competition policy that substantially shifts the focus away from the consumer welfare standard and endangers future innovation and competition. Accordingly, we urge public officials to avoid unnecessary, overzealous changes to antitrust laws that would weaken an already fragile economy and instead look for targeted reforms to improve the lives of consumers and promote pro-growth policies.

Pete Sepp, National Taxpayers Union

Asheesh Agarwal, Former Assistant Director, Federal Trade Commission

Charles W. Baird, California State University, East Bay

Ashley Baker, Committee for Justice

Don Bellante, University of South Florida

James T. Bennett, George Mason University

Bruce L. Benson, Florida State University

Michael T. Bond, University of Arizona

Samuel Bostaph, University of Dallas

Donald J. Boudreaux, George Mason University

Scott Bradford, Brigham Young University

Jason Brennan, Georgetown University

Wayne T. Brough, R Street Institute

Peter T. Calcagno, College of Charleston

James H. Cardon, Brigham Young University

Yong Chao, University of Louisville

Joe Cobb, Retired

Joab Corey, University of California, Riverside

Wayne Crews, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Joseph S. DeSalvo, University of South Florida, Tampa

Anthony Dukes, University of Southern California

Gerald P. Dwyer, Clemson University

James Edwards, Conservatives for Property Rights

Richard A. Epstein, NYU School of Law; the Hoover Institution; the University of Chicago Law School

John A. Flanders, Central Methodist University

Vivek Ghosal, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Tom Giovanetti, Institute for Policy Innovation

Casey Given, Young Voices

Stephan F. Gohmann, University of Louisville

Kenneth V. Greene, Binghamton University

Stephen K. Happel, Arizona State University

Jeff Haymond, Cedarville University

Tom Hebert, Open Competition Center

Patrick Hedger, Taxpayers Protection Alliance

David R. Henderson, Hoover Institution

Douglas J. Holtz-Eakin, American Action Forum

Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, San Jose State University

Mark A. Jamison, University of Florida and the American Enterprise Institute

Raymond J. Keating, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

Daniel B. Klein, George Mason University

Richard N. Langlois, University of Connecticut

Kent Lassman, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Thomas Lehman, Indiana Wesleyan University

Curt Levey, Committee For Justice

Stan J. Liebowitz, University of Texas, Dallas Tony

Lima Professor Emeritus of Economics, California State University, East Bay

Christopher Lingle, Universidad Francisco Marroquin

Carrie Lukas, Independent Women’s Forum

Abir Mandal, University of Mount Olive

Michael L. Marlow, California Polytechnic State University

Scott E. Masten, University of Michigan

Beverly McKittrick, FreedomWorks

W. Douglas McMillin, Louisiana State University (Emeritus)

Jessica Melugin, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Jim Miller. Former Chairman, Federal Trade Commission

Dan Mitchell, Center for Freedom and Prosperity

Michael C. Munger. Duke University

Iain Murray, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform

Patrice Onwuka, Independent Women’s Forum

Yael Ossowski, Consumer Choice Center

Sam Peltzman, University of Chicago, Booth School (Emeritus)

Eric Peterson, Pelican Center for Technology and Innovation

Steve Pociask, American Consumer Institute

Aurelien Portuese, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

Arturo C. Porzecanski, American University

Barry W. Poulson, University of Colorado Boulder

Andrew F. Quinlan, Center for Freedom and Prosperity

Nancy Roberts, Arizona State University

Paul Rubin, Emory University (Emeritus)

John Ruggiero, University of Dayton

Joseph T. Salerno, Mises Institute

Timothy Sandefur, Goldwater Institute

Charles Sauer, Market Institute

Dan Savickas, Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Tom Schatz, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

William Franklin, Shughart II Utah State University

Vernon L. Smith, Chapman University

Daniel J. Smith, Middle Tennessee State University

Daniel Sutter, Troy University

John Tamny, FreedomWorks

Edward Tower, Duke University

Liad Wagman, Illinois Institute of Technology

Jeffrey Westling, American Action Forum

Josh Withrow, R Street Institute

Bill Z. Yang, Georgia Southern University

Ryan Young, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Benjamin Zycher, American Enterprise Institute

*Institutional affiliations are provided for identification purposes only.

Featured Publications