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What They Are Saying: “Pandemic Anti-Monopoly Act” Would Harm the Economy and Cost Jobs
Earlier this month, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) proposed a ban on mergers and acquisitions that would hurt the very businesses and workers they claim to protect. In the following week, more than a dozen bipartisan officials, organizations and economists have come out against this misguided proposal.

 

ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MAKAN DELRAHIM: “I don’t think we should be using the crisis to block all sorts of pro-competitive and probably some transactions that would be very necessary during this time to make sure that companies have the liquidity to continue on and keep workers employed.”

FTC COMMISSIONER NOAH PHILLIPS: “While merger review is not the top-of-mind issue for many—and it shouldn’t be—American consumers stand to gain from pro-competitive mergers, during and after the current crisis. Those benefits would be wiped out with a draconian ‘no mergers’ policy during the COVID-19 emergency.”

FTC COMMISSIONER CHRISTINE WILSON: “Those who wish to ban deals at this time seem to imagine the Federal Trade Commission being overwhelmed by a flood of merger notifications. Actually, HSR filings are down by nearly 60%. This gap between rhetoric and reality suggests that proposals to block mergers based on the size of the acquirer are not a good-faith effort to save small businesses, but rather an attempt to use #COVID19 tragedy to push a pre-existing agenda of halting mergers of a certain size, or in particular industries, or by private investors, without regard to whether those mergers harm consumers.”

JASON FURMAN, CHAIR OF PRESIDENT OBAMA’S COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISORS: “I strongly support tougher merger enforcement in general. But banning all mergers without regard to any analysis of their circumstances makes no sense in the best of times and is particularly misguided when some mergers can save jobs in the midst of an economic crisis.”

CONGRESSMEN JORDAN, SENSENBRENNER, BUCK, GAETZ, STUEBE: “A broad moratorium on M&A activity – which would be unprecedented in our nation’s history – is both unnecessary as a practical matter and ill-advised as a matter of policy.”

BLOOMBERG EDITORIAL BOARD: “With business owners idling factories, slashing payrolls and contemplating dire balance sheets amid the coronavirus pandemic, two lawmakers have hit on an unusual response: Harm the economy some more.”

AMERICANS FOR TAX REFORM: “We should be doing everything we can to help these businesses. Instead, this proposal could actually accelerate the number of businesses that go under, costing jobs and imperiling the ability of the country to recover.”

CITIZENS AGAINST GOVERNMENT WASTE: “The (un)intended consequences of prohibiting the investment of private capital during and after the pandemic would only increase the disastrous economic impact that has spread across the country.  While some have dismissed Rep. Cicilline’s efforts to amend the next relief bill and the passage of the Warren/Ocasio-Cortez bill as being unlikely to be agreed to by Republicans, it would be foolish not to be vigilant and take all necessary action to stop these damaging ideas from being adopted.”

NATIONAL TAXPAYERS UNION: “Leading Congressional Democrats are proposing an effective halt to all mergers and acquisitions for the length of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. This policy is not only misguided, but would do active harm to the nearly unprecedented challenges for economic recovery America faces in the months and years ahead.”

TAXPAYERS PROTECTION ALLIANCE: “This misguided measure would dry up a critical funding source for businesses of all sizes at a time of great uncertainty. If passed, this legislation would insert government bureaucrats in the middle of private business decisions, which are already regulated under U.S. antitrust merger review laws. Sen. Warren and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez should work with, not against, businesses struggling to keep their heads above water.”

NASDAQ CONTRIBUTOR MARTIN TILLIER: “Still, some things just need to be said, and placing restrictions on mergers and acquisitions at a time when they can save jobs and corporations from extinction is simply a bad idea.”

FINANCIAL ADVISOR & NATIONAL REVIEW CONTRIBUTOR DAVID BAHNSEN: “To sum up, this particular initiative is completely unnecessary on its face — antitrust regulations are still in effect. Voluntary exchange needs to be respected. This is no time to cut off companies from the oxygen of capital markets. This bill is a statist nightmare hiding behind the mask of good intentions.”

LONE STAR POLICY INSTITUTE ANALYST FRANKLIN PARKER: “In the final analysis, Warren and Ocasio-Cortez get everything wrong about M&A. An outright ban would hurt workers, slow future economic growth, and rob us of the only benefit recessions provide: the emancipation of workers and capital from zombie-like companies.”