Opinion: FTC’s war on success

By EVAN NELSON

Published: 09-20-2023 6:00 AM

Evan Nelson of Bedford is the former fixed operations director for a major auto dealership, managing over a dozen dealerships across New England which included supervising 500+ employees.

Aside from inflation and the ever-impending doom of a government shutdown, Big Tech seems to be the boogeyman of choice these days for many in the halls of Congress. Democrats are increasingly wary of the size, power and reach of these companies in our economy, and the effects they have on competition in the free market. Meanwhile, many Republicans are more concerned about what they see as aggressive censorship of conservative thought and opinion and consider this a violation of the First Amendment. But the real issue here is something that is seemingly being ignored — this is a war on success.

The Biden Administration and Lina Khan at the FTC are revamping a legislative effort that failed to gain any traction in the last Congress due to many members expressing reservations about a bill that would raise prices and reduce choices for consumers. Not only that, but it would stifle innovation and the creation of new products and services. As a business owner with more than 500 employees, I can tell you that we are always striving to improve our business so that we can grow and offer more opportunities to our current and future employees. We try to grow out of necessity; any business owner will tell you that stagnation leads to a dying business.

The effort to break up big businesses is nothing more than a politically motivated attack on some of the nation’s most successful businesses. Politicians hate that they have become so big and wield so much influence. But is this a bad thing? I was under the impression that a free market economy like ours allowed businesses to succeed if they offered the best products and services to consumers. Why should they be punished? What will happen to hundreds, thousands of smaller businesses that partner with larger companies to increase their reach and access to capital to promote research and development? We need to protect these businesses from an over-zealous government that is seeking to choose winners and losers in our economy. After all, the consumer is the one who will end up taking the hit in the end.

Breaking up companies as antitrust legislation was created to protect consumers. But Lina Khan’s FTC does not hold that view. The leaders at the FTC, who have long histories of anti-business activism, argue that antitrust policy should now be focused on restricting the ability of companies to grow by forcing them to give competitive advantages to smaller companies. Sound bad? It is. This is authoritarian economic planning at its core, taking notes out of the pages from the European Union who are seeking to treat these companies like public utilities so that the government can essentially engage in private business model planning, shaping the business to meet the government’s ideals of what it should look like.

If they succeed in one industry, no one industry is safe from interference. They will decide who to target and will use vaguely written legislation to gain a foothold in the courts so that they can alter businesses at will. Businesses that have grown to their current size based solely on the fact that they have innovated and created products and services that consumers want and need.

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This truly is the next big government power grab. Protecting businesses from the overreach of government is a core Republican principle and candidates need to start making this an issue here in New Hampshire. The last few years have seen the government piling rules and regulations on us all, seemingly without limitation. Spending in the trillions has become commonplace and taxes are up. The result is the maelstrom of supercharged inflation, shortages, and a faltering economy that many say is already in recession.

It’s time to stop this trend of the government interfering in the private sector. Politicians need to come back down to earth and do their jobs instead of delegating to unelected bureaucrats with partisan agendas. Competition is a cornerstone of a free market economy. We shouldn’t be punishing companies because they have succeeded. We should learn from them so that others can grow as well, providing well-paying jobs to thousands, and products and services that benefit consumers everywhere.

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