Biden signs executive order to promote competition in US economy

Washington DC Bureau

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — President Joe Biden signed an executive order Friday to promote more competition in the economy, urging agencies to crack down on anti-competitive practices in sectors from agriculture to drugs and labor.

Biden said the order “commits the federal government to full and aggressive enforcement of our antitrust laws.”

“No more tolerance of abusive actions by monopolies. No more bad mergers that lead to massive layoffs, higher prices and fewer options for workers and consumers alike,” he said before signing the order.

The order goes after corporate monopolies across a broad swath of industries such as technology, banking and airlines and pushes government agencies to consider how their decisions will impact competition in a given industry.

“Inadequate competition holds back economic growth and innovation,” the White House fact sheet said. “The rate of new business formation has fallen by almost 50% since the 1970s as large businesses make it harder for Americans with good ideas to break into markets.”

The White House says the rate of new business formation has fallen by almost 50% since the 1970s as large businesses make it harder for Americans with good ideas to break into markets.

Biden’s action goes after corporate monopolies across a broad swath of industries, and includes 72 initiatives he wants more than a dozen federal agencies to act on.

Some of the measures in the executive order include directing the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission to carefully review mergers that are leaving fewer options for small businesses and directing the agencies to enforce antitrust laws vigorously.

It directs the FTC to issue rules to address competition concerns from Big Tech companies and ban or limit non-compete agreements.

The order also encourages the FTC to issue rules that prevent manufacturers from limiting the ability of consumers to repair their own devices or equipment with respect to a number of industries, including the tractor industry.

The order also 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.

The order comes as the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose slightly last week even as the economy and the job market appear to be rebounding from the coronavirus recession.

The economy is recovering so quickly that many companies can’t find workers fast enough to meet their increased customer demand. On Wednesday, the government said U.S. employers posted 9.21 million jobs in May, the most since record-keeping began in 2000.

And in June, employers added a strong 850,000 jobs, and hourly pay rose a solid 3.6% compared with a year ago — faster than the pre-pandemic annual pace and a sign that companies are being compelled to pay more to attract and keep workers.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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