President Biden on Friday afternoon signed a far-reaching executive order designed to promote competition in the U.S. economy and urged federal agencies to take a wide range of actions, such as investigating Big Tech further, so hearing aids can be sold over the counter and lowering the price of prescription drugs. medicine.
“The heart of American capitalism is a simple idea: open and fair competition,”
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Consisting of 72 actions and recommendations, the order is intended to encourage competition and improve working methods in a number of industries, including technology, healthcare, agriculture, transportation and financial services, according to a White House fact sheet.
The White House said it “will lower the prices of families, increase workers’ wages and promote innovation and even faster economic growth” with a wide range of actions, including calling on the Federal Trade Commission to “challenge prior bad mergers”, ban restrict non-compete agreements and business licensing requirements, restore net neutrality laws and introduce rules on monitoring and collecting data from Big Tech.
The new directive also asked the FTC to prevent ISPs from entering into agreements with landlords that restrict tenants’ choices, which the White House said could prevent broadband infrastructure expansion from new providers.
On top of that, the order seeks to lower the prices of prescription drugs by supporting government and tribal efforts to import cheaper drugs from Canada and allow hearing aids to be sold over the counter in pharmacies.
“Let me be very clear: capitalism without competition is not capitalism. It is exploitation,” Biden said. “Without healthy competition, big players can change and charge what they want and treat you no matter what they want. And for many Americans, that means accepting a bad deal for things you can not do without. So we know we have a problem, a big problem. But we also have an incredible opportunity. “
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Higher prices and lower wages caused by lack of competition cost the median American household $ 5,000 a year, according to a study by the White House on American Economic Liberties Project.
Progressive lawmakers celebrated the ordinance, while business groups and Republicans slammed it.
Senator Elizabeth Warren, a staunch consumer advocate, praised the executive order as a “critical” step in protecting working-class Americans and called on Congress to pass legislation codifying the measure into law.
“President Biden’s ordinance takes critical steps to protect consumers and workers, strengthen cartel enforcement, and tackle cross-sectoral consolidation and anti-competitive practices,” the Massachusetts Democrat said in a statement. “Next, Congress must pass new legislation to strengthen the federal agencies responsible for enforcement and ban the anti-competitive practices that plague our markets today.”
But the powerful U.S. Chamber of Commerce said in a blistering statement that the directive “tastes of a ‘government at best’ approach to governing the economy” and vowed to “strongly oppose calls for the government’s set prices, burdensome and legally dubious rules, efforts to address innovative industries such as public utilities and the politicization of monopoly enforcement. “