President Joe Biden on Friday declared war on what he described as anti-competitive practices in a host of industry sectors by signing a sweeping executive order that includes a roster of 72 different initiatives, as The Hill reported.
“The heart of American capitalism is a simple idea: Open and fair competition,” Biden declared during an appearance at the White House. “That means if your companies want to win your business, they have to go out and they have got to up their game. Better prices and services, better ideas and better products,” he added.
In explaining the perceived need for the measures, a White House fact sheet indicated that anti-competitive activity across a range of industries have resulted in higher prices, hindered wage growth and hampered innovation.
“Let me be very clear. Capitalism without competition isn’t capitalism. Without healthy competition, big players can change and charge whatever they want and treat you however they want. And for too many Americans, that means accepting a bad deal for things you can’t go without. So we know we’ve got a problem, a major problem. But we also have an incredible opportunity,” the president declared.
Stated goals of the executive order include boosting the affordability of broadband service, lowering the costs of prescription drugs, facilitating easier refunds from airlines, and banning or greatly reducing the use of noncompete agreements for employees, according to The Hill.
Biden also indicated a desire to greatly restrict the ability of companies to gather the personal information of consumers, and to that end, ordered the creation of new rules related to surveillance and the acquisition of user data.
Responsibility for implementing the initiatives will be spread over 12 different federal agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
While the move garnered swift praise from far-left Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who called it a “critical” step in protecting working-class Americans, she urged Congress to go even further “to strengthen the federal agencies responsible for enforcement and outlaw the anti-competitive practices plaguing our markets today.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, however, was far less enthusiastic, saying that the executive order “smacks of a ‘government knows best’ approach to managing the economy” and pledged to “vigorously oppose calls for government-set prices, onerous and legally questionable rulemakings, efforts to treat innovative industries as public utilities, and the politicization of antitrust enforcement.”