Reform or Regress? An Assessment of Proposed Antitrust Legislation

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The U.S. Congress is currently considering several legislative proposals that would dramatically transform U.S. antitrust law. These bills would replace the existing consumer welfare standard, which protects competition, with a standard that restricts a company’s ability to compete based on arbitrary criteria, such as market capitalization and the number of users. The problems with these bills are myriad. Many of the bills forbid certain procompetitive conduct, for example by largely banning particular mergers, prohibiting companies from competing in multiple markets, and barring platforms from preferencing their products and others. Some proposals would impose certain marketplace conduct, such as requiring companies to assist their rivals and to share sensitive data with them, likely further discouraging vigorous competition.