A new proposal by Sen. Josh Hawley may make it almost impossible for Big Tech giants to acquire companies and the existing legacy antitrust laws will also be made more stringent.
“Trust-Busting for the Twenty-First Century Act” by Sen. Hawley (we obtained a copy for you here) would essentially:
- Ban any merger or acquisitions done by firms that have a market cap that exceeds $100 billion.
- Lower the threshold for prosecution by making changes to the existing antitrust laws. “The protection of competition” will take the front seat and will replace the “consumer harm” standard which long dictated the federal antitrust laws for the basis of prosecution.
- Make companies that lose federal antitrust lawsuits do away with all the profits that come from their “monopolistic conduct.”
- Allow FTC to regulate “dominant digital firms” in online markets.
Hawley, while discussing the proposal with Axios, said that the government and the country “shouldn’t be run by a few mega-corporations” and that the Republican Party “has got to become the party of trust-busting once again. You know, that’s a part of our history.”
The Republican senator also said that “globalization” and “both parties getting comfortable with corporate consolidation” was the reason behind market failure and the need for intervention. “We tried it the way that the big corporatists wanted, and it hasn’t been a success for the American consumer, for the American producer, or for the American economy,” Hawley said.
What Hawley proposes is not just going to affect Big Tech, but will also impact several other corporate giants, be it in retail, banking, or media. Acquisitions and mergers, at large, will be the points of focus. Although the proposal may find some support from Republicans, it may not garner enough support from Democrats who have benefited more from the Big Tech monopolies of late.