FTC: Over-Crying ‘Wolf!’ – While Unleashing the Government Wolves

The Latest from Seton Motley | Less Government | LessGovernment.org
The Latest from Seton Motley | Less Government | LessGovernment.org

The Joe Biden Administration’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is engaged in quintessential government hyper-over-activity.

The FTC appears to be challenging any and all economic activity that occurs in the United States.

Now, I am not in all ways opposed to FTC action.  There are economic sectors that are dominated by singular humongous Big Businesses – and those situations should be addressed.

But if you seemingly oppose EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE – you sully your ability to do the actual things you need to do.

The FTC is sullying the heck out of itself.

And given FTC Chair Lina Khan’s antitrust history – it’s more than fair to think she does in fact oppose everything everywhere.

Lina Khan and the ‘Hipster Antitrust’ Movement

FTC Chair Lina Khan Outlines New Vision for Antitrust Enforcement

Lina Khan’s Battle to Transform US Antitrust

As we’ve seen for now decades?  Everything “new”  and “transformed” in DC – turns out to be exceedingly awful.

Here’s how the FTC describes its Merger Review process:

“Among the key provisions in U.S. antitrust law is one designed to prevent anticompetitive mergers or acquisitions. Under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, the FTC and the Department of Justice review most of the proposed transactions that affect commerce in the United States and are over a certain size, and either agency can take legal action to block deals that it believes would ‘substantially lessen competition.’

“Although there are some exemptions, for the most part current law requires companies to report any deal that is valued at more than $101 million to the agencies so they can be reviewed.”

The US in 2022 had a $25.4 trillion economy.  So a deal worth a measly $101 million triggering FTC-DOJ activity?  Seems a mite…hyper-over-active.

And opens wide the door for Khan’s “hipster…movement” to “transform US antitrust” – into an all-out assault on the US economy.

Behold the FTC suing people – in the name of antitrust, or anything else of which they can think….

Intercontinental Exchange, Inc./Black Knight, Inc., In the Matter of

  • May 19, 2023

Amgen Inc. and Horizon Therapeutics plc, FTC v.

  • May 16, 2023

FTC Sues to Stop VoIP Service Provider

  • May 12, 2023

Altria Group/JUUL Labs, In the Matter of

  • May 5, 2023

FTC Sues to Stop the Potentially Illegal Integration of New Orleans Area Hospitals

  • April 20, 2023

Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. and Black Knight, Inc., FTC v

  • April 10, 2023

Microsoft/Activision Blizzard, In the Matter of

  • April 3, 2023

Illumina, Inc., and GRAIL, Inc., In the Matter of

  • April 3, 2023

FTC Sues Medical Clinic and its Owner

  • March 16, 2023

Meta/Zuckerberg/Within, In the Matter of

  • February 24, 2023

FTC Sues to Stop Interconnected Web of VoIP

– February 17, 2023

Tractor Supply Company/Orscheln Farm and Home LLC, In the Matter of

  • December 9, 2022

FTC, States Sue Google and iHeartMedia

– November 28, 2022

Linde AG and Praxair, Inc., In the Matter of

  • November 22, 2022

JAB Consumer Partners/VIPW/Ethos Veterinary Health, In the Matter of

  • October 14, 2022

Meta Platforms, Inc./Mark Zuckerberg/Within Unlimited, FTC v.

  • October 7, 2022

Nvidia/Arm, In the Matter of

  • September 14, 2022

FTC Sues Heated Mattress Pads Marketer Electrowarmth

  • August 30, 2022

FTC Sues Kochava

  • August 29, 2022

FTC Sues Marketer of Personal Protective Equipment and Light Fixtures

– August 9, 2022

ARKO/GPM Investments, In the Matter of

  • August 9, 2022

JAB Consumer Partners/National Veterinary Associates/SAGE Veterinary Partners, In the Matter of

  • August 5, 202

Hikma Pharmaceuticals/Custopharm

  • July 14, 2022

RWJ Barnabas Health/Saint Peter’s Healthcare System, In the Matter of

  • July 6, 2022

Hackensack Meridian Health, Inc. and Englewood Healthcare Foundation, In the Matter of

  • July 6, 2022

American Securities Partners/Ferro, In the Matter of

  • July 5, 2022

Medtronic/Intersect, In the Matter of

  • June 30, 2022

FTC Sues Walmart

– June 28, 2022

HCA Healthcare/Steward Health Care System, In the Matter of

  • June 16, 2022

Federal Trade Commission Sues Gravity Defyer and its Owner

– June 7, 2022

Buckeye/Magellan, In the Matter of

  • June 2, 2022

FTC Sues to Block Merger Between Utah Healthcare Rivals HCA Healthcare and Steward Health Care System

  • June 2, 2022

FTC Sues to Block Merger Between New Jersey Healthcare Rivals RWJBarnabas Health and Saint Peter’s Healthcare System

– June 2, 2022

That’s just the last 12 months.  And that doesn’t include headlines that say “take action” – when often the action taken is litigation.

And that’s just what I found with my cursory searches.

And that’s just what bureaucrats remembered to hang on the website.  I would bet money there are more cases – that said functionaries forgot to upload.

Then there’s the FTC’s briefs in other lawsuits.

FTC Files Brief in Jones v. Google

  • May 22, 2023

FTC Files Amicus Brief in Sage Chemical vs. Supernus Pharmaceutical

  • March 21, 2023

FTC, CFPB Submit Amicus Brief Defending Servicemembers’ Right to Sue Under the Military Lending Act

  • November 22, 2022

FTC Joins Justice Department in Amicus Brief Supporting Workers’ Challenge to McDonald’s ‘No Hire’ Franchise Restrictions

  • November 10, 2022

FTC Amicus Brief Challenges Abuse of FDA “Orange Book” Listing Procedures to Block Drug Competition

  • November 10, 2022

FTC, CFPB Submit Amicus Brief Defending Consumers’ Ability to Dispute Inaccurate Items on Credit Reports

  • September 14, 2022

That’s just the last 12 months.

And that’s just what I found with my cursory searches.

And that’s just what bureaucrats remembered to hang on the website.  I would bet money there are more cases – that said functionaries forgot to upload.

And, of course, there is METRIC TONS of regulatory actions.

It is “Mother May I” – turned up to eleven:

“For most transactions requiring a filing, both buyer and seller must file forms and provide data about the industry and their own businesses. Once the filing is complete, the parties must wait 30 days (15 days in the case of a cash tender offer or a bankruptcy) or until the agencies grant early termination of the waiting period before they can consummate the deal….

“Parties proposing a deal file with both the FTC and DOJ, but only one antitrust agency will review the proposed merger. Staff from the FTC and DOJ consult and the matter is “cleared” to one agency or the other for review (this is known as the “clearance process”). Once clearance is granted, the investigating agency can obtain non-public information from various sources, including the parties to the deal or other industry participants….

“If the agency has determined that it needs more information to assess the proposed deal, it sends both parties a Second Request. This extends the waiting period and prevents the companies from completing their deal until they have “substantially complied” with the Second Request and observed a second waiting period….

“(O)nce both companies have substantially complied with the Second Request, the agency has an additional 30 days to review the materials and take action, if necessary….The length of time for this phase of review may be extended by agreement between the parties and the government in an effort to resolve any remaining issues without litigation….”

I’m nauseated just reading that.  I can’t imagine being subjected to it:

“Sometimes, the parties will abandon their plans once they learn that the agency is likely to challenge the proposed merger.”

I can’t imagine why.

Born thereof are the threats.  Of regulatory actions.  Or briefs in lawsuits.  Or lawsuits.  Or….

Which are sometimes spoken – but always inherent.

Because when an agency is this hyper-over-active?  The assumption is – ANY private sector action could lead to FTC hyper-over-activity.

And that causes people engaging in economic activity – to stop engaging in economic activity.

And this all-encompassing blizzard of idiocy?

Prevents the FTC from garnering support for doing the select things it actually should be doing.

Because the FTC has become the agency that cried “Wolf!” – over, and over, and….

While unleashing the full panoply of government wolves.

And is doing so – with zero sense of irony.