Amy Klobuchar Pushes for Antitrust Laws So Large Companies Can't Stifle StartUps

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Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar joined Chris Evans and Mark Kassen to discuss the government's role in breaking up monopolies and the history and consequences of antitrust laws.

More than 45 states and the federal government have filed multiple lawsuits against Big Tech companies like Google and Facebook, alleging they have eliminated, defeated or simply bought competition in a manner that stifles competition and innovation, which translates into higher prices for advertisers and consumers.

Klobuchar said that, while this all might seem confusing, young people should really care about how monopolies and antitrust laws affect their everyday lives.

Monopoly is not just a board game that sparks arguments with your family, it affects all aspects of life, included technology and media, two industries Kassen notes that Gen Z cares a lot about.

"Right now, you have a few companies that dominate as gatekeepers in so many areas," said Klobuchar, the leading Democrat on the Judiciary subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights. "You have Facebook in the social media industry and Google controlling 90 percent of the search engine market."

A company like Facebook buys up smaller companies, like Instagram and WhatsApp, in order to curb any challenge or disruption on Facebook's hold on the market.

Klobuchar referenced a 2008 email Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sent where he said "it's better to buy than compete."

"Disruption is what we want in tech, we want new companies coming up," Klobuchar said. "Privacy and misinformation products have not been developed in the big market because big guys keep buying them up."

She notes that breaking up big companies and allowing for more competition brings more innovation because competitors unleash new ideas that force every company to be better. Without it, companies with a monopoly on a market have "no incentive to develop the best new thing because want to keep things as they are."

This is not unique to the online marketplace. Monopolies also affect all businesses.

Klobuchar recognizes how the COVID-19 pandemic has made finding a job or starting or keeping a small business very difficult for young people. The consolidation of businesses, she said, would put more of a financial strain on people by limiting consumer choice and jacking up prices on everything from food delivery apps to travel websites.

"We have always been an entrepreneurial country, we believe in choice," she said. "But all this consolidation means you get less good prices and don't have enough companies competing for your wages."

She continues that this makes it harder for small and minority-owned businesses to start up and be successful.

This is why the senator is pushing for better antitrust laws. Klobuchar recently introduced the Competition and Antitrust Law Enforcement Reform Act to reinvigorate America's antitrust laws and restore competition to American markets.

She said this law will "even the playing field" in business by building up funds and resources for regulatory agencies like the Federal Trade Commission, and "fine-tuning" the legal standards for business consolidation deals.

Klobuchar Antitrust laws
Amy Klobuchar speaks at joint hearing to discuss the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, on March 3. Klobuchar says, "We have always been an entrepreneurial country, we believe in choice. But all this consolidation means you get less good prices and don't have enough companies competing for your wages." Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images