, 14 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
Sen. Lee: I don't share the enthusiasm to use #antitrust to address inequality/discrimination issues presented by the tech platforms. Antitrust shouldn't be used as a swiss-army knife. Congress has other policy tools.


Sen. Klobuchar: Competition problem bigger than tech. GOP author of Sherman Act. Adam Smith talked about fear of monopoly. Teddy Roosevelt was a GOPer. This isn't partisan issue. Courts have made enforcing antitrust laws more difficult. Kavanaugh, Gorsuch will further this trend.
Reich: Pharma, agricultural, and tech present biggest problems. Less innovation, less productivity. Reduced level of business formation. Wages suppressed by monopsony power of dominant local buyers. Portion of economy going to wages dropping.

Reich quotes back Sen. Lee noting that more competition could obviate the needed for privacy regulation. However, we have to do one or the other. Antitrust is a deregulatory philosophy. It is a substitute for regulation.
Kwoka: Monopolies in e-commerce, search, social media. There is no study that shows concentration has been decreasing. Startup rate for new firms fallen by 50% in last 15 years. Less choice, less innovation. Profits as % of GDP now at all-time high. Profits persist over time.
Wright: Mkt concentration doesn't mean less competition. But superior performance can lead to concentrated markets. Shouldn't use antitrust to address inequality and favor one industry over another. Can't rely on industry concentration because industry not equal to relevant mkt.
Melamed: Consumer welfare standard avoids arbitrary objectives. AT law is not about dispersing econ power, but instead promotes efficiency. AT law shouldn't be used to hamstring efficient firms. Courts are placing too much weight on false positives. Time to recalibrate.
Melamed: Confident that econs will develop new tools to assess price-free markets. CW standard can accommodate innovation harms. Cites Microsoft.

Me: A little sanguine. There has been zero enforcement of a pure innovation-based theory of harm under section 2 since Microsoft.
Reich: In tech markets, consumers are harmed if the effect is to reduce incentive to innovate or if the conduct makes it harder for startups to enter. May be invisible. But it harms consumer welfare.

Kwoka: Tech has been on binge-buying adventure. Top 5 cos bought 600 startups.
Melamed: Chicago School proposition that vertical restraints are presumptively good is misguided. Reflected in horrible Amex decision. Also, the notion that entry will dissipate market power has been proven wrong.
Sen. Hawley (channeling @matthewstoller) : Notes that the political cost of bigness. Large firms leveraging their economic power into political power. That results in cronyism and manipulation of our free market into something that is not free, but instead is rigged.
Now Reich is describing Google's assault on New America scholars because Google didn't like some of its research. Google paying upwards of $400k for white paper, using resulting research in courtrooms and congressional hearings.
Sen. Blumenthal: Asked heads of AT agencies if they could cite *any* merger challenges motivated by a labor market concern.

FTC head couldn't cite a single case.

DOJ head could cite only two cases.

Sen. Klobuchar asks Reich to compare Bork to Kavanaugh.

Reich: Was a Bork student. Then worked briefly for Bork at the DOJ! Says Bork was not an extremist. Thinks Antitrust Paradox has become more of a fetish than Bork ever intended.

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