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For Immediate Release

Press Release

Biden Executive Order Marks Important Win for Movement to Protect Workers, Farming Communities, Exporters, and Our Nation's Security From Monopoly Power

WASHINGTON -

The White House today released a far-reaching executive order aimed at breaking the power of monopolists over workers, farmers, manufacturers, media companies and artists, and the nation as a whole. The order requires or encourages regulators to take action against overly concentrated labor markets and coercive labor contracts, the manipulation and exploitation of farmers, burdensome repair restrictions, and railroad and steamship operators that extort and suppress U.S. manufacturing. It also calls for new guidelines for restricting corporate mergers and rules for ensuring a free and open Internet.

The order marks the broadest anti-monopoly action by a U.S. president in decades, and amounts to a sharp break with the pro-monopoly competition philosophy adopted by the Reagan administration in the 1980s and followed by subsequent administrations, Democratic and Republican. The order also marks a big victory for the Open Markets Institute. It embraces many key recommendations that Open Markets pioneered, including on noncompetes, labor monopsony, manipulation of farmers, right to repair, transportation, and the ideology of different merger guidelines. Importantly, the order follows the outlines of a strategic plan Open Markets’ Barry Lynn published last December, “How Biden Can Transform America.”

In response, Barry Lynn issued the following statement:

“President Biden today demonstrated that he intends to break the policies that for 40 years have put corporate power before the well-being and liberty of the American people and our democracy. We hope the Biden administration stays on this path and truly stands with the people against those who seek to monopolize all opportunity, wealth, and power for themselves alone.

“Combined with President Biden’s recent actions to empower the Federal Trade Commission to take on Big Tech, today’s order helps to move America away from the subversive Consumer Welfare philosophy that for 40 years has been a big club in the hand of so many bullies, autocrats, mass market pickpockets, and looters of the public weal.

“We are especially pleased to see the administration move to protect America’s most powerless workers and farmers. For more than a decade, the Open Markets team has led the way in illuminating how concentrated power threatens not only consumers, but everyone else by driving down wages and fair market prices, and by threatening basic human liberties like the ability to quit a bad job and find a better one.

“These actions are just the start of what will be a long and bitter fight to rebuild American freedom and prosperity. For 40 years, elitist thinkers in both parties have helped the powerful to destroy vast swaths of our industrial base, our communities, and our culture of democracy. To fully back up this commitment, it is vital that the administration move immediately to appoint a director of the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department who has the character, experience, and vision necessary to help the administration get this job done.

“We at the Open Markets Institute want to salute all of our allies in this work, and perhaps especially those who fought Big Ag for so many long and lonely years — people including Mary Hendrickson, Bob Taylor, Judy and Bill Heffernan, Brother Dave Andrews, John Boyd, Joe Maxwell, Mike Callicrate, and every food chain worker and farmer who ever dared to speak out against concentrated power.

“Finally, we look forward to working with the Biden administration to further develop and refine their effort to strengthen the ability of Americans to protect their professional knowledge and skills within democratic and cooperative professional communities (as OMI’s Phil Longman detailed in this important recent article in the Washington Monthly).”

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The Open Markets Institute works to address threats to our democracy, individual liberties, and our national security from today’s unprecedented levels of corporate concentration and monopoly power. By combining policy, legal, and market structure expertise with sophisticated communications and outreach efforts, Open Markets seeks not only to hold today’s monopolies accountable for abuse of power, but to rebuild an economic system where progress is easier to achieve, because power is far more widely and equitably distributed

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