Big Tent Ideas

SCOTT BROWN: Washington Politicians Are Coming For Your Next-Day Delivery

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Scott Brown Former U.S. Ambassador To New Zealand
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Editor’s note: Big Tent Ideas always aims to provide balancing perspectives on the hottest issues of the day. Below is a column from former Sen. Scott Brown arguing that the government should avoid major new regulations against American tech companies. You can find a counterpoint here, where Rep. Ken Buck argues that Big Tech companies threaten free speech and democracy.

There is no denying that subscribers to the “big is bad” philosophy are having a moment. From Biden’s Justice Department urging the courts to break up parts of Google’s business, to U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) grandstanding around the Taylor Swift ticket controversy, “antitrust” has become the topic du jour in early 2023.

When these crusaders rail against the so-called evils of “Big Tech,” they gloss over important details. It is a common tactic of any populist advocacy campaign: single out a private sector company or industry, blame them for a raft of societal problems, introduce more government regulations billed as the solution and ignore any inconvenient byproducts. From financial institutions to medical innovators to energy producers, it’s an easy foil for an ambitious politician seeking headlines. Most in the mainstream media let them slide, and the show goes on.

Until recently when Congressman Ken Buck recently slipped up and let the cat out of the bag. During a television interview promoting his new book — ironically sold on — the Colorado Republican declared that Americans, “don’t need next day delivery. You can go to the store and buy toilet paper. Or you can order three or four days ahead of time.”

With this statement, Buck proved the old saying that a gaffe is a politician accidentally telling the truth. (RELATED: STEPHEN MOORE: It’s Official: Trump’s Tax Cuts Were A Roaring Success)

First some context. Ken Buck is no back-benching bomb thrower. Last Congress, he was the lead Republican co-sponsor of the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, a bill that would have serious consequences for our economy, security and global competitiveness. Despite the bill failing to pass either chamber last year, Buck is vowing to use the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee to, “address the bills that we did not finish last Congress.”

In a nutshell, Buck’s bill would have empowered Biden’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate the business practices of private sector entities over an arbitrary size and market cap. No longer would companies be able to promote their own products and services on their own platform. 

Some of our country’s most globally-admired companies — blue chip names like Google, Amazon, Apple, Meta and Microsoft — would face withering new mandates from Biden’s team of enforcers. 

The inclusion of these companies is no accident. They were singled out because of their status. Our politicians used to celebrate success and good-paying jobs. Now, too many on the left and a growing number on the right, including Buck, want the government to intervene and pick winners and losers.

Their proposed laws would drastically change life, and not for the better. Everyday goods would become more expensive to get and harder to access. Say goodbye to perks like free two-day shipping of Amazon Prime, which is used by approximately 60 percent of American households.

Don’t take my word for it. Take Buck’s. This is what he was referring to when he said people “can go to the store” or “order three or four days ahead of time.”

America is a forward-looking country. We don’t like to go back in time. Yet some of the nation’s fiercest antitrust critics are saying we must. Crowded malls. Standing in long lines at the holidays. Waiting a week for deliveries to arrive. This is the future Ken Buck envisions. 

To those concerned about the size of some of these technology companies, market forces are at work. The 10 top tech stocks lost a combined $4.6 trillion in market cap last year. Apple dropped the most, losing $846.34 billion in value. Headlines are replete with stories of employee layoffs. Government does not need to pile on. Americans’ livelihoods — not to mention their 401k plans — are suffering enough. Our economic supremacy hangs in the balance, especially as the Chinese Communist Party pledges to, “win the battle” in the tech race.

His vision is flawed, but give Ken Buck points for honesty. He knows what he is doing and has acknowledged its unpleasant consequences. Now it’s up to the other side to take his message to the people before it’s too late.

A former United States Senator and Ambassador to New Zealand, Scott Brown is the Chair of the Competitiveness Coalition.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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