Navigate this Section
“Capitalism without competition isn’t capitalism; it’s exploitation. Without healthy competition, big players can change and charge whatever they want and treat you however they want.”President Biden
For decades, corporate consolidation has been accelerating. In over 75% of U.S. industries, a smaller number of large companies now control more of the business than they did twenty years ago.
That lack of competition drives up prices for consumers and drives down wages for workers.
Families are paying higher prices for necessities—things like prescription drugs, hearing aids, and internet service. And when there are only a few employers in town, workers have less opportunity to bargain for a higher wage and to demand dignity and respect in the workplace. In total, higher prices and lower wages caused by lack of competition are now estimated to cost the median American household $5,000 per year.
President Biden signed a historic Executive Order to establish a whole-of-government effort to promote competition in the American economy.
Here are the actions that the administration has already taken to-date to increase competition and deliver concrete benefits to America’s consumers, workers, farmers, and small businesses:
Competition in Agriculture
- The Biden-Harris Administration announced an Action Plan for a Fairer, More Competitive, and More Resilient Meat and Poultry Supply Chain.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture launched a $100 million loan guarantee program which will make available nearly $1 billion in funds to expand meat and poultry processing capacity and finance other food supply chain infrastructure.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced $500M to support new competitive entrants in meat and poultry processing.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced new cattle price transparency initiatives to shine a light on pricing dynamics.
- The Department of Justice indicted four executives in the chicken-processing industry for price-fixing, as part of an ongoing joint investigation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it will propose new rules under Packers and Stockyards Act to make it easier for farmers to bring claims and stop giant meatpackers’ abusive practices.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a new more robust enforcement policy under the Packers and Stockyards Act.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it will issue new rules on “Product of USA” labeling so that customers get what they’re paying for and American farmers get their fair share.
Competition in Healthcare
- The Department of Health and Human Services issued proposed rules to improve the affordability and accessibility of hearing aids by making them available over the counter at pharmacies and other regular retail stores.
- The Department of Health and Human Services published a report explaining the Administration’s plan to lower the price of prescription drugs for millions of Americans.
- The Department of Health and Human Services proposed a rule to crack down on hospitals that fail to disclose their prices, increasing the fine for failure to report prices nearly twentyfold.
- The Department of Health and Human Services is helping states develop plans to import lower-priced drugs from Canada.
- The Food and Drug Administration began collaborating with the Patent and Trademark Office on ways to improve the patent system to increase access to safe, affordable prescription drugs.
Competition in Labor Markets
Competition in Finance
Competition in Technology
- The United States Patent and Trademark Office is implementing the Trademark Modernization Act of 2020, which will promote innovation by making it easier to clear away unused registered trademarks and improving the registration process for individuals and businesses.
- FTC unanimously voted to ramp up enforcement against repair restrictions, so that consumers can fix their products cheaply and easily.
- FCC started the process for adopting rules to address sweetheart deals between landlords and internet providers that restrict tenants to only one broadband option.
- FTC filed an amended complaint against Facebook for alleging antitrust violations, including that Facebook resorted to an illegal “buy-or-bury” scheme to crush competition.
- The Department of Justice, the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology sought comment on a draft policy statement seeking to promote good-faith negotiations over patents to essential technologies.
- The Department of Commerce launched a revitalized effort to assist the United States Patent and Trademark Office in developing a comprehensive national strategy to build a more diverse and inclusive innovation ecosystem.
Competition in Transportation
- The Federal Maritime Commission issued guidance in an effort to remove barriers for shippers and others to file complaints and protect them from retaliation.
- President Biden called on the Federal Trade Commission to consider whether illegal conduct is driving up gas prices.
- The Department of Transportation proposed a rule requiring airlines to refund fees when baggage is delayed or when services that a consumer paid for, like WiFi, aren’t actually provided.
- The Department of Transportation published a report on its refund enforcement efforts, explaining how it secured airline ticket refunds for tens of thousands of travelers wrongfully denied refunds during the pandemic.
- The Federal Maritime Commission launched an inquiry into eight ocean carriers’ surcharges—fees that increase shipping costs.
- The Surface Transportation Board unanimously dealt a major setback to a $31B railroad mega-merger to protect the public interest.
- The Federal Trade Commission announced that it will crack down on anticompetitive practices and block illegal oil and gas mergers that could lead to higher fuel prices.
- The Department of Transportation appointed committed consumer advocates to the Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee.
- The Federal Maritime Commission launched a new audit program to assess whether top ocean carriers are charging unfair shipping fees.
- The Department of Transportation announced it will open up 16 slots to a low-cost or ultra-low cost carrier at Newark-Liberty International Airport, giving travelers more options at lower prices.
Stopping Anticompetitive Mergers
- The Department of Justice announced that it is seeking public comments on whether and how to revise the Bank Merger Guidelines to ensure they reflect current economic realities, ensure Americans have choice among financial institutions, and guard against the accumulation of market power.
- The Department of Justice sued to stop a merger between two multibillion-dollar sugar producers, arguing it would cause consumers and businesses to pay more for refined sugar.
- The Department of Justice sued to block the largest book publisher in the world from acquiring one of its biggest rivals, which would allegedly lead to lower advances for authors and fewer books and less variety for consumers.
- The Federal Trade Commission and The Department of Justice issued a joint statement announcing that they will revise the merger guidelines.
- The Department of Justice successfully blocked a mega-merger of two insurance brokerages that could have left just two dominant players and potentially raised fees for millions of consumers and businesses.
- The Surface Transportation Board unanimously dealt a major setback to a $31 billion railroad mega-merger to protect the public interest.
- The Department of Justice sued to block a domestic alliance between two carriers to protect air travelers nationwide.