Today, the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU) sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission and other key policymakers, signed by 101 leading economists who agree that the federal government’s latest anti-trust enforcement push – aimed most intensely at Google – does not focus on real consumer problems, while threatening economic damage and reduced freedom for individuals and businesses.
“It is not an exaggeration to say that free speech on the Internet and consumer choice are at stake in this FTC investigation of search engine practices,” said NTU Executive vice president Pete Sepp.
“When competition is so evident, there is no strong basis for such a probe in the first place. But the tremendous toll on technological innovation, our liberties online, and on the Information Age economy, only make this regulatory rampage more reckless.”
In their statement, the 101 economists from a variety of academic institutions, think tanks, and analytical firms warned that government often fails to understand market competition and that history shows harm done to targeted companies frequently hits consumers:
America’s business landscape is scarred with numerous antitrust enforcement actions that have: deprived consumers of choices, stripped entrepreneurs of their freedom to innovate, denied workers and shareholders opportunities to build wealth, enriched competitors whose key attribute is political clout, drained “defendant” companies of capital due to legal expenses, and thwarted potential growth in the economy.
Google, with its popular online search engine, is the latest target of regulators claiming to be acting in consumers’ interests, even though barriers to entry into the search market are exceedingly low and Google’s competition is but one click away for online users.
A NTU/IBOPE Zogby poll from earlier this year found overwhelming majorities of Americans from diverse political and socioeconomic backgrounds were satisfied with their search engine options, and wary of government intrusion in the marketplace.
Sepp concluded, “The longer this investigation continues, the greater the victory for government manipulation of competition, and the worse the loss for the American consumer and free enterprise.”
- Americans strongly oppose government regulation of online search
- CRE petitions FTC to establish “trade regulation” for Twitter, Facebook, and Google
- Microsoft to spend $100M marketing search engine Bing
- A Facebook search engine would grab a quarter of the market
- Will Facebook disrupt search and online review sites?
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