FTC’s Draft Mission Statement Signals a New Populist Era of Antitrust, Says ITIF

December 3, 2021

WASHINGTON—As the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) seeks public comments on its Draft Strategic Plan for 2022-2026, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), the leading think tank for science and technology policy, issued the following statement from Aurelien Portuese, ITIF’s director of the Schumpeter Project on Competition Policy:

The new FTC says it wants to protect “the public,” not specifically consumers or competition. But by abandoning the consumer welfare standard and protecting less efficient competitors—mainly small firms—the proposed strategy signals a new populist era at the FTC, with many unintended consequences.

In addition, the FTC has removed from its new mission statement the need to intervene without unreasonably burdening legitimate business activities. This means that, from now on, businesses can face unnecessarily and costly interventions from the FTC, which will ultimately disregard their activity and ignore their rights. This is yet another example of the new FTC embracing a precautionary approach to antitrust at the detriment of American consumers, innovation, and competition. 

Overall, the new objectives of the FTC no longer include promoting disruptive competition but rather a vague and controversial notion of “fair competition” that causes more harm than good. 

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FTC’s Draft Mission Statement Signals a New Populist Era of Antitrust, Says ITIF