Maybe Joe Biden won't be the second coming of FDR, but at least Biden sees Roosevelt as a president worth emulating. That's a lot better than the former guy, now a Florida retiree, whose idea of a great president was Andrew Jackson.
In a speech announcing his "Promoting Competition in the American Economy" executive order, President Biden said:
The heart of American capitalism is a simple idea: open and fair competition — that means that if your companies want to win your business, they have to go out and they have to up their game; better prices and services; new ideas and products...
All told, between rising prices and lowering wages, lack of competition costs the median American household $5,000 a year.
Now, look, I'm a proud capitalist. I spent most of my career representing the corporate state of Delaware. I know America can't succeed unless American business succeeds.
But let me be very clear: Capitalism without competition isn't capitalism; it's exploitation. Without healthy competition, big players can change and charge whatever they want and treat you however they want. And for too many Americans, that means accepting a bad deal for things that can't go — you can't go without.
So, we know we've got a problem — a major problem. But we also have an incredible opportunity. We can bring back more competition to more of the country, helping entrepreneurs and small businesses get in the game, helping workers get a better deal, helping families save money every month. The good news is: We've done it before.
In the early 1900s, President Teddy Roosevelt saw an economy dominated by giants like Standard Oil and JP Morgan's railroads. He took them on, and he won. And he gave the little guy a fighting chance.
Decades later, during the Great Depression, his cousin Franklin Roosevelt saw a wave of corporate mergers that wiped out sec- — scores of small businesses, crushing competition and innovation. So he ramped up antitrust enforcement eightfold in just two years, saving families billions in today's dollars and helping to set the course for sustained economic growth after World War Two.
He also called for an economic bill of rights, including, quote, "the right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies." End of quote.
Between them, the two Roosevelts established an American tradition — an antitrust tradition. It is how we ensure that our economy isn't about people working for capitalism; it's about capitalism working for people.
But, over time, we've lost the fundamental American idea that true capitalism depends on fair and open competition. Forty years ago, we chose the wrong path, in my view, following the misguided philosophy of people like Robert Bork, and pulled back on enforcing laws to promote competition.
Promoting Competition in the American Economy Executive Order
Executive Order established a whole-of-government effort to promote competition in the American economy. The Order includes 72 initiatives by more than a dozen federal agencies to promptly tackle some of the most pressing competition problems across our economy. Once implemented, these initiatives will result in concrete improvements to people's lives.
Among other things, they 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.