BEWARE OF DEMOCRATS BEARING GIFTS
Congressional Democrats, with the help of some Republicans, are championing several pieces of legislation to rein in the power of major Big Tech companies such as Apple, Facebook, Google, and Amazon. The goal is to stop antitrust and monopolistic behavior by these tech giants who have enjoyed tremendous growth in recent years.
These bills have been introduced in the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, chaired by U.S. Representative David Cicilline (D-RI). One example is H.R. 3816, named the “American Innovation and Choice Online Act.” The bill’s authors contend the legislation “restores competition online and ensures that digital markets are fair and open.” Unfortunately, the bill “restores competition” by using the tool of big government, instead of promoting a market-based economy.
The problem is that liberal Democrats cannot be trusted to promote enhanced access, security, or fairness online. In the view of Russel Dye, Communications Director for House Judiciary Committee Republicans, “Anyone trusting the Democrats to protect conservative speech on the internet is not living in reality.”
These bills are not designed to stop online censorship as Democrats have no interest in conservatives having a robust voice on the internet. In fact, these bills are being championed by politicians such as U.S. Representative Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) who led the charge to impeach former President Donald Trump. These are also the type of politicians who supported efforts to remove Trump from online platforms and ban many other conservatives from social media.
U.S. Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) has a more sensible approach. His bill, the “One Agency Act,” would consolidate enforcement of antitrust violations against Big Tech companies from multiple agencies into the Department of Justice. According to bill co-sponsor, U.S. Representative Mike Johnson (R-LA), the “One Agency Act” would “improve the federal government’s ability to police anticompetitive behavior by Big Tech and other major corporations by consolidating antitrust jurisdiction into one agency.”
In contrast to Jordan’s goals, Democrats are advocating legislation that authorizes government agencies to increase regulation and oversight of private companies. This could lead to abusive overregulation. According to Rachel Bovard, Senior Director of Policy for the Conservative Partnership Institute, many conservatives in Congress are “concerned with any proposal that might give the Biden government more authority to harass business along ideological lines.”
This legislation, which has curiously attracted some GOP support, would give broad new powers to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). In the Biden administration, both the DOJ and the FTC will likely pursue anti-competitive and anti-business regulations that will be harmful not only to these large corporations, but also to the overall economy. One anonymous Republican congressional aide confided to Axios that this legislation will give the Biden administration “broad powers to rework corporate America in their vision.”
The last thing our country needs is for more of corporate America to imitate the far-left agenda of the Biden administration. Clearly, this legislation is a congressional attempt to garner more power for a progressive administration at the expense of “Big Tech.”
There are plenty of legitimate conservative complaints about Big Tech. There are not enough conservatives employed in these Silicon Valley giants. There is too much of a left-wing agenda at these companies and there is clear bias against conservatives, who are regularly censored. However, these bills are not about content moderation. Instead, the goal will be to foster more oversight by a very liberal administration with an anti-business agenda.
These bills will also hurt small businesses across America by creating new restrictions on how products can be sold on Facebook and Amazon marketplaces. Likewise, millions of consumers who access these small business marketplaces will be harmed as well.
If this legislation becomes law, it will become more difficult to purchase products Americans desire or need for their families or businesses. It will also become arduous for consumers to use online searches and mapping to find small businesses throughout the country.
All these changes would be happening at exactly the wrong time. As COVID-19 remains a major concern around the country, small businesses need the easiest and most efficient ways to reach their customers. Limiting access to their clientele during this crisis will be particularly harmful.
Conservatives do not want more government regulation. They want a fair opportunity to express their views, debate the issues and give contrary opinions to the “lies of the mainstream media.” They want protection of their privacy and security in online transactions, shielded from hacking and other criminal activities.
Republicans in Congress, especially conservative leaders like GOP Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), should not be supporting any legislation that expands the power of government at the expense of a market-oriented economy. These bills add layers of bureaucratic regulation, while limiting personal freedom.
If passed, this legislation will lead to online experiences that will be more time consuming, more expensive, more confusing, and less satisfying. As consumers, Americans want choice, convenience and value and have grown accustomed to the easy access to information provided by these Big Tech companies.
While the legislation will harm American Big Tech companies, it will do nothing to rein in the activities of major Chinese conglomerates that will benefit. It is no surprise that some of the largest American business organizations, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, are opposed to the legislation.
Americans enjoy taking advantage of the conveniences provided by their laptops, their phones, and their watches. To prevent these products from becoming obsolete, let’s keep the government, which never met a problem it didn’t make worse, away from these devices.