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President Joe Biden takes aim at anti-competitive business practices and Big Tech

The White House said Biden’s executive order will encourage more economic competition between business and will help American families

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President Joe Biden speaks at the State Dining Room of the White House.

President Joe Biden speaks before signing an executive order aimed at promoting competition in the economy, in the State Dining Room of the White House on Friday, July 9, 2021, in Washington.

Evan Vucci, Associated Press

President Joe Biden will sign an expansive executive order Friday that, the White House says, encourages economic competition and will help American families.

The president’s directive, titled “Promoting Competition in the American Economy,” will include 72 initiatives aimed at tackling anti-competition practices by large businesses — to include the tech and health care industries, among others — and will either direct or encourage upward of a dozen agencies to develop policies supporting Biden’s new guidance.

  • “That lack of competition drives up prices for consumers. As fewer large players have controlled more of the market, mark-ups (charges over cost) have tripled,” the White House said in a fact sheet it published ahead of Biden’s actual signing of the order.  
  • “Families are paying higher prices for necessities — things like prescription drugs, hearing aids, and internet service,” the statement adds.

What’s in Biden’s economic competition order?

The sweeping order directs agencies to “vigorously” focus their antitrust enforcement on labor, agriculture and health care markets and also tech companies and includes analyzing mergers that happened during the Trump administration, according to the White House’s fact sheet.

Can Biden foster economic competition with an executive order?

The directive comes as the Biden administration embraces “warnings by some economists that declining competition is hobbling the economy’s vitality, raising prices and reducing choices for consumers in key areas, while dampening pay and restricting freedom to change jobs for workers,” The New York Times reported.

  • The executive order alone will not be enough combat the decline of economic competition and the Biden administration will need to work with a narrowly divided Congress if it hopes to have more success than the former President Donald Trump White House did with their own, similar orders, experts told The New York Times.
  • White House officials acknowledged to the Times the limitations of the directive, but added that the administration had chosen to take some actions to jumpstart competition.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, the chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Right, said on Twitter Friday that Biden’s directive was “groundbreaking” and would “help restore competition & build an economy that works for all Americans.”

  • “We must address America’s monopoly problem by reimagining what the government can do to promote competition,” the Democratic senator from Minnesota said in the tweet.