In case you missed the cringe memo, Senator Amy Klobuchar has declared it “hot antitrust summer.”
The Minnesota Democrat has made antitrust plans, which use the federal government to “break up” businesses, her pet project in recent months, in an effort many believe she’s using to pave the way for another presidential run.
Fixed this for you –
"A bill I was promised floor time on in exchange for getting out of Biden's way in 2020?
The American Innovation and Choice Online Act.
Because I need a phony accomplishment to run on in my 2024 presidential campaign." https://t.co/zRxbcyUkvO
— Tom Hebert (@TomHebertDC) June 15, 2022
But it seems even some of her fellow Democrats are turning down the heat on her hot air, speaking out this week against one of her proposals.
In a letter to Klobuchar’s office, Senators Ron Wyden, Brian Schatz, Ben Ray Lujan, and Tammy Baldwin state, “We are writing to request you address a significant issue with the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (S.2992) that several of us have raised with you and that has also been raised by a diverse group of prominent legal experts and think tanks.”
The group goes on to point out that the bill, “would make it unlawful for companies to ‘discriminate in the application or enforcement of the terms of service…in a manner that would materially harm competition.’ This provision would imperil current content moderation practices by putting competition policy in direct conflict with the ability of companies to take down hate speech, disinformation and misinformation, and other objectionable content under existing law.”
As the senators point out in their letter, they are not the only ones sounding the alarm with this particular problem in Klobuchar’s bill. The Center for Democracy and Technology and Free Press have also issued their own concerns.
Free Press Action Associate Legal Director and Senior Counsel Carmen Scurato said, “This provision could require platforms to host hate speech and other harmful content targeting Black and Brown people, the LGBTQIA+ community, women, immigrants, Indigenous people and other targeted populations. It opens the door to arguments that covered platforms are unlawfully discriminating against hate-and-disinformation purveyors by taking them down.”
It’s good to see that some Democrats are willing to speak out on principled grounds against this legislation. But while their concerns are valid, they are by no means the only issues with this bill.
Per usual, the bill’s title in this case, the American Choice and Innovation Act, would actually do the opposite of what it says. This bill would actively harm consumers by ruining popular services we currently enjoy and rely on like Amazon Basics and Amazon Prime.
Currently, when you search for an item on Amazon, the service will often show you options made by its own brands. These products can be cheaper or better than others offered on the website and that’s something that benefits shoppers. Yet Klobuchar’s bill would make this action illegal, banning companies from simply ranking their own products first in search results.
Not only that, but it greatly (and arbitrarily) expands the government’s power over private businesses and gives that authority to unelected bureaucrats in the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC). You know, the same DOJ that just spent the last fall siccing the FBI on parents who protested at school board meetings and labeled them as “domestic terrorists.” And the same FTC that is currently run by socialist Lina Khan.
It’s worth noting, some Republicans like Senator Josh Hawley and Lindsey Graham have signed onto Klobuchar’s terrible legislation. So much for limited government, huh?
There’s nothing capitalist about antitrust. It’s merely a mechanism meant to give the power more power over the market. In a free-market system competition arises naturally and no monopoly can stand for long.
Don’t be fooled by this blatant power grab.
Disclaimer: Hannah is a fellow for Netchoice, which is working against Amy Klobuchar’s antitrust legislation.