For decades, corporate consolidation has been accelerating. In over 75 percent of US industries a smaller number of large companies control more of the business than they did a generation ago. The White House announced a massive Executive Order, in an effort to reduce the stranglehold of monopolies and concentrated markets.
Among other things the Executive Order will:
- Make it easier to change jobs and help raise wages by banning or limiting non-compete agreements and unnecessary, cumbersome occupational licensing requirements that impede economic mobility.
- Lower prescription drug prices by supporting state and tribal programs that will import safe and cheaper drugs from Canada.
- Save Americans with hearing loss thousands of dollars by allowing hearing aids to be sold over the counter at drug stores.
- Save Americans money on their internet bills by banning excessive early termination fees, requiring clear disclosure of plan costs to facilitate comparison shopping, and ending landlord exclusivity arrangements that stick tenants with only a single internet option.
- Make it easier for people to get refunds from airlines and to comparison shop for flights by requiring clear upfront disclosure of add-on fees.
- Make it easier and cheaper to repair items you own by limiting manufacturers from barring self-repairs or third-party repairs of their products.
- Make it easier and cheaper to switch banks by requiring banks to allow customers to take their financial transaction data with them to a competitor.
- Empower family farmers and increase their incomes by strengthening the Department of Agriculture’s tools to stop the abusive practices of some meat processors.
- Increase opportunities for small businesses by directing all federal agencies to promote greater competition through their procurement and spending decisions.
Leading antitrust agencies are to focus enforcement efforts on problems in key markets and coordinate with other agencies. The Executive Order:
- Calls on the leading antitrust agencies, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC), to enforce the antitrust laws vigorously and recognizes that the law allows them to challenge prior bad mergers that past Administrations did not previously challenge.
- Announces a policy that enforcement should focus on labor markets, agricultural markets, healthcare markets (which includes prescription drugs, hospital consolidation, and insurance), and the tech sector.
- Establishes a White House Competition Council, led by the Director of the National Economic Council, to monitor progress on finalizing the initiatives in the Order and to coordinate the federal government’s response to the rising power of large corporations in the economy.
There is not a whole lot related to trucking in the order although, the Federal Maritime Commission, which regulates ocean shipping, and the Surface Transportation Board, which oversees trucking and railroads, are each tasked with seeking ways to bring down shipping costs.