By Rich Sill
With the Senate voting 51-50 to confirm Alvaro Bedoya as the fifth FTC Commissioner– and third Democrat– Chair Lina Khan now has free reign to implement her progressive agenda. This could include, but is not limited to, going after and/or attempting to break up large companies like Amazon because she feels they are too big. This could mean that services such as Amazon Prime and Google maps— services that millions of Americans use daily— would no longer exist.
Last fall, Khan wrote a memo to her fellow commissioners her plans for the agency going forward. The content of the memo resembled what she wrote that the United States must use a more expansive framework to consider antitrust challenges against tech companies as opposed to the decades-old consumer welfare standard. In the memo, Khan stated that the agency should take a “holistic approach to identifying harms” when examining large companies, believing that antitrust violations harm consumers. Similarly, Khan stated that the FTC needs to take swift preventative measures when a large company might be harming consumers. To Khan, this means “being especially attentive to next-generation technologies, innovations, and nascent industries across sectors.”
With a 3-2 Democratic majority in the FTC, Khan now has the votes needed to completely overhaul the agency and the way the US handles antitrust. By potentially going after successful American tech companies, services from large companies such as Google (Google Maps) and Amazon (Amazon Prime) could be shut down after Khan tries to break these companies up. In a letter the US Chamber of Commerce wrote to the FTC concerning Bedoya’s nomination, Khan’s progressive agenda will make it harder to combat inflation and recover from the COVID-19 economy.
With a majority of commissioners’ votes in the FTC, Chair Khan has the potential to completely change the way the United States handles antitrust, and not for the better. Over the coming months, all Americans should be concerned with how far Khan wants to change the system that has benefited millions of Americans for decades