Break It Up! Sen. Josh Hawley Introduces New ‘Trust-Busting’ Bill

Missouri GOP Sen. Josh Hawley has been the target of a ferocious campaign of personal and professional destruction from Democrats and the media.

And the Left is going to hate his next move even more.

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Hawley has introduced the “Trust-Busting for the Twenty-First Century Act,” which would reform the 131-year-old Sherman Antitrust Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act and protect the “sanctity of competition,” according to Axios.

“A small group of woke mega-corporations control the products Americans can buy, the information Americans can receive, and the speech Americans can engage in. These monopoly powers control our speech, our economy, our country, and their control has only grown because Washington has aided and abetted their quest for endless power,” Hawley said.

“While Big Tech, Big Banks, Big Telecom, and Big Pharma gobbled up more companies and more market share, they gobbled up our freedom and competition. American consumers and workers have paid the price. Woke corporations want to run this country and Washington is happy to let them. It’s time to bust up them up and restore competition,” he added.

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According to Hawley’s website, the bill would:

–Ban all mergers and acquisitions by companies with market capitalization exceeding $100 billion
Example: Google could not purchase Waze and incorporate it into the Maps app

–Empower the FTC to designate “dominant digital firms” exercising dominant market power in particular internet markets, which will be prohibited from buying out potential competitors

Example: Facebook’s dominance in social networking should prevent it from acquiring startups seeking to build new social media platforms

–Prohibit dominant digital firms from privileging their own search results over those of competitors without explicit disclosure

Example: Google could not promote its own reviews over Yelp reviews without disclosing the affiliation upfront

–Reform the Sherman and Clayton Acts to make clear that direct evidence of anticompetitive conduct is sufficient to support an antitrust claim, which will allow enforcers to effectively pursue the breakup of dominant firms and prevent antitrust cases from devolving into battles between economists

Example: Facebook’s complete acquisition of a major competitor, Instagram, should be sufficient to justify antitrust action without needing to bring in specialists to define the “social networking market”

–Replace the outdated numerically-focused standard for evaluating antitrust cases, which allows giant conglomerates to escape scrutiny by focusing on short-term considerations, with a standard emphasizing the protection of competition in the U.S.

–Clarify that “vertical” mergers are not exempt from antitrust scrutiny

Example: Amazon could not acquire additional companies in its supply chain

–Drastically increase antitrust penalties by requiring companies that lose federal antitrust suits to forfeit all their profits resulting from monopolistic conduct

The act also specifies that if a company is found to have acted in an anti-competitive manner, “the court shall order disgorgement of all profits earned by the defendant as a result of the conduct constituting that violation.”

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In short: Hawley’s bill would also make it harder for massive companies to buy up their smaller competitors.

Hawley has been railing against the “growing political power, not just of Tech, although that’s quite significant, but industries across the board.”

Notice: This article may contain commentary that reflects the author's opinion.