Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Edwards Endorses Stronger Antitrust Enforcement

This posting was written by John W. Arden.

In a statement released by the American Antitrust Institute on October 2, Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards declared that “we desperately need strong antitrust enforcement in America” to protect small businesses, farmers, and families and to encourage innovation “in every sector of the economy.”

“Rigged” System

“The system in Washington is rigged and our government is broken,” according to Edwards’ submission. “It’s rigged by greedy corporate powers to protect corporate profits. It’s rigged by the very wealthy to ensure they become even wealthier. At the end of the day, it’s rigged by all those who benefit from the established order of things.”

Antitrust and fair competition laws “enable the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission to stop companies from abusing their power,” Edwards observed. “But those laws are a paper tiger without a president who is willing to stand up for regular Americans, and a government willing to enforce them. We have neither today—and the result is an economy out of line with our values.”

Specific Initiatives

If elected president, the former senator pledged to launch specific initiatives to (1) protect livestock farmers who are “at the mercy of big agribusiness”; (2) help small physician groups who are “being squeezed by insurance companies”; and (3) relieve consumers from having to pay artificially high prices for gasoline from vertically-integrated oil companies.

Steps to Vigorous Enforcement

“Vigorous implementation of antitrust laws starts with appointing officials committed to protecting fair competition, competitive pricing and innovation,” the candidate noted. “The next step is providing sufficient resources for effective enforcement. Finally, it requires nominating judges who are committed to protecting the economic rights of regular Americans.”

Edwards submitted this statement after the AAI invited all presidential candidates to submit their views on antitrust. Senator Barack Obama was the only candidate to respond within the requested time period.

In his statement, Senator Obama (D-Ill.) pledged “to reinvigorate antitrust enforcement” by stepping up review of merger activity, taking aggressive action to curb the growth of international cartels, monitoring key industries to ensure that consumers realize the benefits of competition, and strengthening competition advocacy domestically and in the international community

Edward’s statement ("Submission to the American Antitrust Institute") appears at the AAI website.

The American Antitrust Institute—an independent, non-profit education, research, and advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.—said it would publish any additional statements submitted by candidates.

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