New York’s recent antitrust bill, the latest in a flurry of antitrust bills working their way through state legislatures across the nation, is yet another surprising example that Europe is now dictating the way the United States is regulating competition. Soon, American consumers and the American economy will feel the negative effects.
As Aurelien Portuese writes in The Albany Times Union, New York’s antitrust bill, which passed the Senate this past session but stalled in the Assembly, would make it “unlawful for any person or persons with a dominant position in the conduct of any business … to abuse that dominant position.” Despite being a product of the modern world, the bill is more similar to specific parts of the 1957 founding treaties of the European Communities that say, “Any abuse by one or more undertakings of a dominant position within the internal market or in a substantial part of it shall be prohibited as incompatible with the internal market in so far as it may affect trade between Member States.”
The Europeanization of antitrust policy is overall a terrible idea, but it is nonetheless gaining traction, not just in New York and other states, but in Congress too. The House Judiciary Committee took a closer look at digital market competition and issued a sweeping report calling for the very same prohibition of “abuse of dominant position.” That report, cheered on by a populist chorus, now serves as the legislative blueprint for techlash.The Europeanization of U.S. antitrust policy would come at the expense of the very process of competition and innovation that drives the American economy. Restraining or even breaking up big companies and reorganizing society to protect small businesses might sound good to some progressives, but it won’t do much to help America maintain its status as the world’s leading economy.