The FTC and DOJ’s Attacks Against American Companies Would Hurt Consumers, Stifle Innovation, and Limit Competition

Washington, D.C. (October 5, 2023) – Since the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) launched lawsuits attacking Google and Amazon, a diverse group of consumer advocates and industry experts have fiercely criticized DOJ Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter and FTC Chair Lina Khan’s decisions to pursue lawsuits that would hurt consumers and seek to protect competitors, not competition. 

These lawsuits against Google and Amazon are just the latest attempts by DOJ Assistant Attorney General Kanter and FTC Chair Khan, the Biden administration’s top two antitrust enforcers, to push their radical agendas. According to the experts, these cases threaten to break products and services Americans love, stifle innovation, and discourage competition.

Here’s what they’re saying. 

Under Jonathan Kanter’s leadership, the DOJ has taken a “know it when you see it” approach to antitrust law, and the case against Google Search is just the latest example of the Justice Department putting politics over the facts of the law and American consumers. While the DOJ argues that its suit would increase competition, the fact is that the government’s case would break a product that Americans love and prefer to use and protect competitors from real competition. 

Phil Goldberg, Progressive Policy Institute:

“…Kanter has called the consumer welfare standard ‘a catchphrase, not a standard.’…[But] big is not always bad. A large company is allowed to beat its competition by continually offering innovative products that consumers prefer. Antitrust law should not protect businesses from their more successful competitors, regardless of size. Consumer welfare should be prioritized as a byproduct of healthy competition, not undermined for the mere sake of competition…”

Jessica Melugin, Competitive Enterprise Institute:

“…The aim of U.S. antitrust law should be to protect consumer welfare, but this case instead aims to protect Google’s competitors. If the DOJ is successful, it will be to the detriment of customers. Government putting its thumb on the competition scale might benefit search competitors like Bing and DuckDuckGo, but the DOJ is supposed to be looking out for consumers, not picking winners and losers in the marketplace…”

David McGarry, Taxpayers Protection Alliance:

“…The DOJ has embarked on an unholy crusade to reshape tech markets and eventually the entire economy. Such efforts end invariably in limited consumer choice, high prices, and stunted innovation. The American tech sector, conceived in liberty, has proven indispensable to the country’s continued economic dominance. Meanwhile, would-be technocrats stateside need only study Europe’s technological stagnation to understand the economically stifling effects of hyperregulation…”

The FTC’s filing against Amazon seeks to dismantle one of America’s most trusted and successful companies. From trying to break a quick and affordable shipping service that consumers love to threatening to raise prices for everyday items, the FTC is attempting to hurt Americans everywhere. 

Farhad Manjoo, The New York Times:

“…In order to characterize Amazon’s share of American retail as a monopoly, the plaintiffs define its market in a way that excludes just about every other retailer, online or offline…

“‘…I think most competition scholars would say that the F.T.C. needs to go to the competition optometrist to get a new prescription,’ David Balto, a former policy official in the F.T.C.’s bureau of competition, told me of the way the agency is defining Amazon’s market. ‘They’re suffering from significant myopia…’

“…Amazon’s place in the big picture of retail is nowhere as dominant. And shoehorning definitions isn’t going to make it so.”

The Editorial Board, Bloomberg:

“…A recent study by JPMorgan Chase & Co. estimated that the average consumer value of a $139 annual Prime subscription is as much as $1,000. Amazon routinely ranks among the most trusted brands in the country. It invests more in R&D — $73 billion last year — than any company in the world. More pertinently: It allows consumers to search for any product they desire, select among a bevy of competing alternatives, and expect a neatly wrapped package to arrive within days (or, indeed, hours). If consumer welfare is the FTC’s lodestar — as it should be — a worse target for government intervention is hard to imagine…

“…The good news is that this case is likely to fail in court. No consumer should wish otherwise.”

Geoffrey A. Manne and Dirk Auer, International Center for Law and Economics:

“…Even antitrust scholars from the political left widely recognize antitrust laws are designed to protect competition, not those rivals who fall by the wayside. Yet it is precisely those unfortunate competitors the FTC is seeking to aid… 

“The complaint focuses on how hard it is for rivals to reach Amazon’s scale or compete with its huge range of services. But Amazon has succeeded because consumers want those services, and Amazon can provide them better and cheaper than others. We should encourage — not discourage — such conduct. The complaint also relies on economic arguments that stretch the imagination…”

The Don’t Break What Works campaign is powered by the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA). Learn more here.