NEWSFLASH: Rep. Ken Buck Says “Absolutely” Non-Tech Antitrust Regulation Is “Ripe,” Anti-Tech Bills Are Just The Beginning
At a recent event at the University of Chicago’s Stigler Center, Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) said that tech regulation could be the first step in a broader regulatory push.
Rep. Buck recently stated that there are “absolutely” other industries that are “ripe” for antitrust legislation. “We had a decade of huge accumulation in the Big Tech area. I think we need to address that before we move on to other areas. Are there other areas that are ripe? Absolutely. Do they pale by comparison? In my view, they do, and if we can’t get meaningful legislation passed concerning Big Tech, we’re never going to get meaningful legislation passed politically regarding other industries.”
Buck acknowledged a deliberate strategy to first go after “four companies” as a way to “build momentum” toward regulation in other industries. “So the first thing we do is define who these platforms are, and the definition started out including just the four companies I mentioned earlier.”
— “Next January, let’s take a look at pharma. Let’s take a look at some of these other areas. I don’t think we’re going to have the same type of bills where we single out a few companies and go after a few companies, but I do think there are some things that we can do around the edges with some other areas. But if we start out proclaiming to the world that we’re going to turn antitrust on its head, we will not get anything done in Washington DC, because everybody will be against it—so the focus right now has to stay on the area that we are.
— “I think what we’re really trying to do is build momentum—if companies continue to act in other areas in ways that are harmful to competition, then maybe Congress, the next Congress, will say ‘well this was successful with tech, let’s look at it’ but if we start in a way that’s too broad, we will undermine our ability to get anything done.”
— “If I’m fortunate enough to get reelected, and I determine that, you know there is a problem in the airline industry, a problem in banking—whatever. Then absolutely I’d want to take a look at that, but I think if we can be successful here, we can prove to Republicans that there is a role for enforcement and that’s really the issue.”
— “I’m not an economist, and I’ve never practiced antitrust law, but I have a little horse sense, and my horse sense tells me that if I aim at four companies, I’ve got a lot of money coming after me in Washington, DC. If I aim at 300 companies, I’m never going to get anything done in Washington, DC. So the object is to stay focused on Big Tech when we get where we need to go with Big Tech in August.”
Finally, Rep. Buck acknowledged that other companies have expressed concern that they will eventually be captured by the bill’s scope: “There are more and more companies that end up lobbying against it, because they think that threshold—they’re going to meet that threshold at some point, and they don’t want to be included in that.”