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120328 ABA Antitrust

120328 ABA Antitrust

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Published by Drew Olanoff
Sen Franken Antitrust speech
Sen Franken Antitrust speech

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Published by: Drew Olanoff on Mar 30, 2012
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07/10/2013

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Sen. Al FrankenRemarks to the American Bar Association (AntitrustSection)Thursday, March 29, 2012
More than a century ago – with manufacturing conglomeratesengaged in widespread anti-competitive behavior, hundreds of short-line railroads consolidating into omnipotent transportconcerns, and Standard Oil building a monopoly – Americadecided it was time to take action.As Senator John Sherman said, “If we will not endure a king asa political power, we should not endure a king over the production, transportation, and sale of any of the necessities of life.”
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A country whose most cherished values include the principle of responsive democracy must have a political system in whichelected officials are accountable to the people. And a countrycommitted to a free market economy must have laws ensuringthat corporations remain accountable to the market.Antitrust law isn’t about protecting competing businesses fromeach other, it’s about protecting competition itself on behalf of the public.That’s a simple idea in theory. But over the last century, we’veseen that it isn’t so simple in practice. Changing technologies,changing marketplaces, and even changing trends in anti-competitive practices have all presented challenges to antitrustenforcement.
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 Now, I’m not a lawyer. But neither are most Minnesotans – the people I represent. And my interest in antitrust law isn’tacademic in nature, because the effect of antitrust enforcementon the lives of Americans isn’t academic in nature, either.Whether or not those responsible for protecting the free marketfrom unfair competition are able to rise to these challenges has adirect impact on the economic security of working families.And I’ve come here today to urge you all to treat antitrustenforcement the same way I urge my colleagues to treat the taxcode or the budget: with a keen understanding of what your work will mean for the middle class.---
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