The Democrat Party believes that unelected bureaucrats are smarter than consumers and want to expand government control over the economy.
Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan is pursuing two misguided lawsuits against American companies in a rabid quest to expand her agency’s power. Conservatives should continue to stand strong against any attempts to give Khan even more power.
The FTC sued to block Meta from acquiring Within, a virtual reality fitness company, constructing an absurdly narrow market definition to accuse the company of monopolistic behavior. In a classic case of “government knows best,” the FTC’s case rests on the bureaucratic presumption that Meta should have built their own VR fitness app instead of buying one.
Doubling down on industrial engineering, the FTC recently launched a lawsuit to block Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision, an online gaming company.
Two different lawsuits have three things in common.
First, both cases increase legal uncertainty for mergers and acquisitions. Nearly 60 percent of startups say that their most realistic long-term goal is to get acquired by a larger firm. If the FTC is suing to block deals for ideological reasons instead of concrete evidence of consumer harm, it will massively chill investment in startup companies, crippling the innovation that is a key driver of economic growth.
Second, both cases are designed to carry out Khan’s warped mission to expand the FTC’s power at all costs. Neither case alleges consumer harm. Instead, if the FTC can’t win on the merits, Khan wants Congress to stack the deck in the agency’s favor with radical new antitrust legislation.
Khan admitted as much in a recent interview, saying that even if the FTC loses, “…there’s huge benefit to still trying.” Khan added, “I’m certainly not someone who thinks that success is marked by a 100 percent court record.”
Third, both cases only strengthen calls for vigorous Congressional oversight to ensure that the FTC remains within its statutory authority. Khan’s abysmal leadership style has driven agency morale into the ground. The FTC was long ranked as one of the top places to work in government according to a routine federal survey. But since Khan took over, the agency has plummeted to the bottom of the list.
A Republican House majority will hold Khan accountable. Soon-to-be House Judiciary Chair Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) recently announced a probe into the FTC’s reliance on unpaid consultants from the woke Omidyar network to shape agency policy on antitrust and competition. Conservatives will continue to oppose legislation that would give the FTC more resources and power over the economy.
Both the Meta and Microsoft cases exemplify Khan’s mission to expand the FTC’s power over the economy. Conservatives should hold Khan accountable for her reckless overreach.