On Friday afternoon, President Biden signed a sprawling executive order designed to promote competition in the U.S. economy, urging federal agencies to take a wide range of measures such as a closer look at Big Tech, allowing the sale over-the-counter hearing aids and lowering the price of prescription drugs.
“The heart of American capitalism is a simple idea: open and fair competition,” Biden said in remarks to the White House, shortly before signing the order. “That means if your businesses are to win your business, they have to go out and they have to improve their game. Better prices and service, better ideas and better products. Competition drives the economy forward and makes it grow. the economy must mean that companies are doing all they can to compete for workers.
BIG TECH FACING A NEW ASSAULT ON CAPITOL HILL
Comprised of 72 actions and recommendations, the decree aims to stimulate competition and improve working practices in a wide range of sectors, including technology, healthcare, agriculture, transport and financial services, according to one White House. fact sheet.
The White House has said it will “lower prices for families, raise workers’ wages and foster innovation and even faster economic growth,” with a wide range of actions, including urging the Federal Trade Commission to “challenge past bad mergers”, to prohibit or limit non-compete agreements and professional licensing requirements; re-establish net neutrality laws; and establish rules for monitoring and data collection by Big Tech.
The new directive also asked the FTC to prevent Internet service providers from making deals with landlords that limit tenants’ choices, which the White House says may prevent infrastructure expansion at large. strip by new suppliers.
On top of that, the prescription aims to lower prescription drug prices by supporting state and tribal efforts to import cheaper drugs from Canada and by allowing over-the-counter hearing aids to be sold at drugstores.
“Let me be very clear: capitalism without competition is not capitalism. It’s exploitation, ”Biden said. “Without healthy competition, the big players can change and charge what they want and treat you the way they want. And for too many Americans, that means accepting a bad deal for things you can’t live without. So we know we have a problem, a major problem. But we also have an incredible opportunity. “
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Higher prices and lower wages caused by lack of competition cost the median US household $ 5,000 per year, according to a study by the American Economic Liberties Project cited by the White House.
Progressive lawmakers celebrated the executive order, while business groups and Republicans criticized it.
Senator Elizabeth Warren, a staunch consumer advocate, hailed the executive order as a “critical” step to protect working-class Americans and urged Congress to pass legislation codifying the measure into law.
“President Biden’s executive order takes essential steps to protect consumers and workers, strengthen antitrust enforcement and combat consolidation and anti-competitive practices in all industries,” the Massachusetts Democrat said in a statement. “Next, Congress must pass new legislation to strengthen federal enforcement agencies and ban the anti-competitive practices that plague our markets today. “
But the powerful United States Chamber of Commerce said in a dazzling statement that the directive “appears to be an approach” the government knows best “to manage the economy” and pledged to “vigorously oppose fixed-price calls. by government, onerous and legally questionable regulations, efforts to treat innovative industries as public services, and the politicization of antitrust enforcement. “