Today, President Biden signed a ground-breaking executive order that directs federal agencies to take a wide range of actions to reverse corporate concentration, safeguard Americans from monopoly power, and ensure the rights of independent businesses, workers, and farmers to participate in fair and open markets.
The order includes more than 70 specific provisions, many of which reflect ILSR’s long-standing work and priorities in areas such as reversing concentration in food retailing, tackling broadband monopolies, putting a halt to bank consolidation, directing government procurement away from big business and toward smaller businesses, expanding local food systems, ensuring market access for craft brewers, eradicating anti-competitive abuses in the pharmacy sector, instituting right-to-repair measures, and reining in the power of Big Tech.
An overarching goal of the executive order is restoring opportunity for independent businesses. In an accompanying factsheet, the White House cites ILSR’s work on how monopoly power has devastated small businesses.
In response to President Biden’s actions, ILSR Co-Director Stacy Mitchell made the following statement:
“In today’s speech, President Biden forcefully rebuked the destructive antitrust framework that has allowed monopoly power to grow unchecked for more than 40 years. We hope this marks the beginning of the end of the so-called consumer welfare standard, which has distorted America’s antitrust laws and biased enforcement in favor of consolidation.
“We applaud today’s executive order, which seeks to engage a wide range of federal agencies and tools to tackle consolidation and create open and fair markets for independent businesses, producers, and working people. We are particularly heartened by measures that seek to address the rampant anti-competitive abuse by the Big Tech giants, call on the antitrust agencies to establish new merger guidelines, direct the USDA to examine how concentration in grocery retailing is harming farmers and eaters, and instruct federal agencies to use their procurement contracts to reduce concentration and shift market share to smaller businesses.
“This order marks a turning point, but it is only the beginning of a long road ahead. We urge the Biden Administration to move swiftly to fill the positions that will be necessary to carry out this order, including at the Federal Communications Commission and Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice. We look forward to continuing to work with the Biden Administration to develop and implement the policies needed to free Americans from outsized corporate power and control.
“Finally, we must note the limitations of the Administration’s powers to solve this problem on its own. We implore Congress to move quickly on legislation to reinvigorate our antitrust laws and break up the dangerous monopoly power of Big Tech.”