Op-ed: Changing Antitrust rules will cause confusion

By Will Rinehart

Mar 23, 2020

Last week Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) introduced a new bill alongside Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) to change a critical section of antitrust law. According to Klobuchar, the Anticompetitive Exclusionary Conduct Prevention Act of 2020 would deter anticompetitive abuses and keep markets competitive by clarifying a part of the statute known as exclusionary conduct. While this section of antitrust law is rife with confusion, the proposed legislation is unlikely to add clarity. Policymakers should trust the process and consider changes once the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have wrapped up their investigations into the largest tech companies.

The bill targets exclusionary conduct, a central and ill-defined concept in antitrust that was established in Section 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, which makes it illegal to monopolize trade or commerce, or to attempt or conspire to do so. But as scholars, judges, and attorneys have noted time and again, separating competitive behavior from anticompetitive behavior remains difficult since both harm competitors.

Read the op-ed at The Hill.

CGO scholars and fellows frequently comment on a variety of topics for the popular press. The views expressed therein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Center for Growth and Opportunity or the views of Utah State University.