"Joe Biden" by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. https://flic.kr/p/2igLZUm

A coalition of over thirty free-market groups recently criticized the Biden administration for its weaponization of antitrust agencies. In a letter addressed to Congress, these organizations allege that the White House has exploited the threat of “corporate greed” to camouflage the failures of “Bidenomics.” Rather than acknowledging the crippling effects of skyrocketing inflation and supply-chain mayhem, Biden has directed his cronies within the FTC and DOJ scapegoat thriving American businesses. 

To read the full letter, click here

In the letter, free-market advocates expressed their ardent opposition to Biden’s “weaponization of the antitrust agencies to back up his campaign trail rhetoric.” In an unpredictable election year, the recent actions of the FTC and the DOJ have drawn criticism for their underlying virtue signaling. Rather than following traditional standards of prosecutorial objectivity, the Biden administration’s antitrust agencies have “operated beyond their remit to provide political cover for Biden’s reelection.” 

For example, the letter highlights the DOJ’s recent lawsuit against Live Nation Entertainment Inc., which seeks to unwind its 2010 merger Ticketmaster. Following a series of website crashes during Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour last spring, the collective outrage of “Swifties” kicked the Biden administration into action. While the DOJ insists that market concentration is its sole concern, free-market watchdogs have interpreted this lawsuit as a cheap ploy to buy the admiration of impressionable young voters. 

Unfortunately, the letter reminds lawmakers that “Live Nation’s website did not crash because the company lacks competition…Swifties crashed the website because demand for Taylor Swift tickets far outweighed the supply.” Customers did not suffer from the crushing weight of an entertainment monopoly. They simply experienced the natural forces of the free market at work. 

However, free-market advocates warn that the Biden administration’s solution to this dilemma will only exacerbate the issue of ticket scarcity. As the letter explains, although it “may anger Swifties that were not able to purchase a ticket, there simply were not enough tickets to satisfy the demand.” Nevertheless, if the DOJ breaks up Live Nation and Ticketmaster, “it would be a massive boon to the scalpers that gobbled up Swift tickets and made a king’s ransom reselling them on the secondary market.”

Rather than adhering to sound antitrust policy, the Biden administration had moved to harvest the “Swiftie” vote by scapegoating a thriving American business. Unfortunately for concert-goers, a Live Nation-Ticketmaster breakup would only worsen the issue of ticket scarcity. While American families struggle under the weight of “Bidenomics”, the president is busy weaponizing his antitrust agencies to earn election year brownie points. As the letter concludes, “the FTC and the DOJ are supposed to protect consumers…we urge the Biden administration to stop playing politics and correct course.”