The Democrat Party believes that unelected bureaucrats are smarter than consumers and wants to expand government control over the economy.
Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan is pursuing two wrongful-death lawsuits against American companies in an intense quest to expand her agency’s authority. Conservatives should stand strong against efforts to give Khan more power.
The FTC sued to block Metta from acquiring With, a virtual reality fitness company, and constructed an absurdly narrow market definition to accuse the company of monopolistic behavior. In a classic case of “government knows best,” the FTC’s case rests on the bureaucratic assumption that Meta should have built their own VR fitness app instead of buying one.
Doubling down on industrial engineering, the FTC recently launched a lawsuit to block Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of online gaming company Activision.
The two different discourses have three things in common.
First, both cases increase legal uncertainty for mergers and acquisitions. Nearly 60 percent of startups say their most realistic long-term goal is to be acquired by a larger firm. If the FTC sued to block deals on ideological grounds rather than concrete evidence of consumer harm, it would massively chill investment in startup companies, stifling innovation as a key driver of economic growth.
Second, both cases were designed to carry out Khan’s flawed mission to expand the FTC’s power at any cost. Neither case alleges consumer harm. Instead, if the FTC can’t win on the merits, Khan wants Congress to stack the deck in the agency’s favor with radical new antitrust legislation.
Khan admitted in a recent interview that even if the FTC lost, “…it’s still a great achievement to try.” “I am not someone who thinks that success is marked by a 100 per cent court record,” added Khan.
Third, both cases reinforce calls for stronger congressional oversight to ensure that the FTC remains within its statutory authority. Khan’s condescending leadership style undermined the agency’s morale. The FTC has long been ranked as one of the best places to work in government by a regular federal survey. But after Khan took over, the agency fell to the bottom of the list.
A Republican House majority will put Khan in charge. Soon-to-be House Judiciary Chair Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) recently announced an investigation into the FTC’s reliance on unpaid consultants from the vigilante Omidyar Network to shape agency policy on antitrust and competition. Conservatives will continue to oppose legislation that would give the FTC more resources and power over the economy.
The Meta and Microsoft cases exemplify Khan’s mission to expand the FTC’s authority over the economy. Conservatives should hold Khan accountable for her reckless excesses.