UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business published an article about a recent essay co-authored by Haas Professor Carl Shapiro in which President Trump is taken to task for abusing Antitrust laws to “punish political enemies.” An antitrust expert, Shapiro twice served as an economist for the Department of Justice, from 1995 to 1996 and 2009 to 2011.
Entitled “Whither Antitrust Enforcement in the Trump Administration?” and co-authored by Georgetown Economics and Law Professor Steven Salop, the essay was featured in the February 2017 issue of The Antitrust Source.
Shapiro and Salop are vocal advocates of antitrust laws, which are in place to protect consumers. Shapiro writes, “Antitrust enforcement is a great strength that America has, which is continually tested by companies who seek political favor.” They go on to warn about what they see as signs of potential Trump Antitrust Abuse.
The duo reference the eyebrow-raising deal Trump made with United Technologies subsidiary Carrier to keep a furnace plant in Indiana. Shapiro and Salop write, “The concern is that it was implemented by way of an ad hoc threat of retaliation rather than as part of a rule-based process. [We believe] Trump may be tempted to continue to cut deals with corporate CEOs going forward, using his political influence.”
Shapiro and Salop recommend taking both “laissez-faire” and “reining in corporate power” approaches to provide a range of solutions to a potential spectrum of economic and political challenges. But the question remains where the new White House will draw the line between “a laissez-faire approach and the populists’ cry for reining in corporate power,” they write.
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