American Consumer Institute Finds Current Efforts to Target Large Tech Firms May Harm Consumers

…Steve Pociask dispels the notion that the existence of large firms in certain markets will harm consumers. He writes, “is the diffusion of market power across a handful of large firms more concerning than concentrating all of that power in the hands of a single government agency?” His work shows that large companies can, in many cases, “increase productivity and lower consumer prices” for consumers. “The key to antitrust enforcement,” he writes, “is whether consumer welfare is lessened.” He concludes that retaining a consumer welfare test is essential to justifying any antitrust actions. ACI’s latest ConsumerGram should serve as a warning to lawmakers and federal regulators not to rush ahead and make antitrust laws overly strict without first considering the harm that blanket restrictions may have on consumers. In the end, these regulations should be about making consumers better off, not worse off.   You can read the ConsumerGram online….

ACI Comments on DOE’s Proposed Changes Regarding 90/10 Rule and Career College Impacts

…return on investment for low-income students found that when accounting for graduation rates and earnings of Pell Grant students, the bachelors-level colleges with the best return on investment for low-income students are two for-profit colleges, the Neumont College of Art and Design and SAE Expression College. The same study found that when ratings are designed to reflect graduation rates and long-term earnings, six of the top ten associate’s level colleges were private for-profit institutions. Career and proprietary colleges play an essential role in our education system, and we should think carefully before enacting measures that will punish students who freely choose to attend these schools. If the Department truly wants to help students, then the best course of action would be system-wide transparency and accountability measures to ensure that every student can get the quality education they need. We would be happy to work with you on developing these standards….

The Economic Standard: DOE’s War on Career Colleges Will Harm the Very Students It Seeks to Help

…comparing nonprofit and proprietary schools, Heritage Foundation found that “when apples to apples comparisons are made between program types, for-profit colleges even graduate students at higher rates than their traditional college counterparts.” A recent Georgetown University study focused on return on investment for low-income students found that when accounting for graduation rates and earnings of Pell Grant students, the bachelors-level colleges with the best return on investment for low-income students are two for-profit colleges, the Neumont College of Art and Design and SAE Expression College. The same study found that when ratings are designed to reflect graduation rates and long-term earnings, six of the top ten associate’s level colleges were private for-profit institutions. Career and proprietary colleges play an essential role in our education system and DoE’s scapegoating of these institutions are harming students. Instead, the Department should implement system-wide transparency and accountability measures to ensure that every American can…

Clear Regulations are Essential for Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency has moved from a fringe interest to a prominent player in global financial markets. Unfortunately, American lawmakers are struggling to keep up, resulting in contradictory regulations and creating a hostile regulatory environment. Lawmakers need to create clear and transparent rules to facilitate cryptocurrency’s growth and establish the U.S.’ leadership in global markets. Under minimal regulation, cryptocurrency has boomed in the U.S., with 16 percent of Americans reporting having used or invested in cryptocurrency, with usage rates being almost twice as high, at 31 percent, for populations 18 to 29. This suggests that cryptocurrencies will become even more prevalent in the future. Crypto is also a growing part of the global and U.S. economy. Over 35 percent of the world’s Bitcoin mining occurs in the U.S., and Bitcoin represents 66 percent of a roughly $2 trillion market. While the use of crypto is on the rise, regulators are struggling to…

Capping Interest Rates is Bad For New Mexico Consumers

…offers an essential source of credit to those who are excluded from traditional lenders. Payday loans also allow New Mexicans to pay for surprise bills. A 2016 study by the Global Strategy Group, the Terrance Group, and the Community Financial Services Association of America found that “96% say their payday loans…have been useful to them personally” in meeting unexpected financial commitments. Furthermore, borrowers have stated the principal reason they turned to payday loans (57%) was “to pay for an unexpected expense – such as car repair or medical emergency.” Removing the incentive for payday loan companies to undertake these significantly riskier loans would ultimately give New Mexicans fewer options when faced with surprise bills, forcing them into unnecessary economic insecurity. While legislative efforts to rein in payday loans may be well-intentioned and politically popular, these efforts pose substantial risks to low-income New Mexicans who depend on access to short-term credit that traditional lenders cannot…

The Teen Vaping Smokescreen

…regulations attempting to solve a problem that does not exist. After recognizing that these regulations are predicated on fictional evidence, it is essential to consider what consumers will lose because of overregulation. First, studies routinely show that switching to electronic cigarettes could save millions of lives each year and improve health outcomes for those looking to quit. For example, a study from September 2021 found that for every 100 people using nicotine e‐cigarettes to stop smoking, 9 to 14 might successfully stop, compared with only 6 of 100 people using nicotine‐replacement therapy, 7 of 100 using nicotine‐free e‐cigarettes, or four of 100 people having no support or behavioral support only.” Additionally, researchers from Georgetown University found there would be 6.6 million fewer deaths over a ten-year period by replacing cigarettes with electronic cigarettes. Fewer people would die simply because electronic cigarettes do not “contain cancer-causing tar,” unlike traditional combustible cigarettes….

The Hill: Senate Antitrust Bill Has Serious Ramifications for Consumers and Small Businesses

Lawmakers in Washington are about to take a major step toward modifying America’s antitrust laws and departing from the consumer welfare standard that has guided antitrust thought since the 1970s. While the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICOA) still has legislative barriers to clear, its mark-up today is an essential step toward it arriving on President Biden‘s desk. While Big Tech skeptics will undoubtedly cheer the announcement of a mark-up, the passage of AICOA could cause irreparable harm to American consumers and small businesses who depend on unimpeded access to online marketplaces operated by big tech platforms. You can read the entire opinion piece at The Hill….

The Hill: Antitrust Legislation Imperils Consumers and Small Businesses

Throughout 2021, Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate have proposed numerous pieces of legislation that would alter U.S. antitrust law to punish online marketplaces for allegedly abusing their market dominance. While each piece of legislation has a differing likelihood of passing both chambers, they all ignore the benefits that online marketplaces provide to consumers, small businesses, and third-party sellers. Moreover, while limiting consumers’ online choices, these proposals also ignore how small businesses rely on major online platforms as essential sales channels to compete and reach customers. This commentary was published in The Hill and the full version is available online….

Coalition Opposes Congressional Attempt to Stifle Lower-Priced Generic Drug Competition

A coalition of policy think tanks sent a letter to Congress warning them that proposed legislation would have severe adverse consequences on consumers by significantly impeding the market entry of generic drug manufacturers. These generic drug companies offer much lower-priced drug for patients because they compete against name brand products — sometimes saving patients 90% off of prescription drug purchases. Generic drugs have saved consumers over a trillion dollars in the last decade and Congress should be careful about reducing this essential source of market rivalry. The entire coalition letter is available here….

Inside Sources: GDPR Was Bad for Europe; U.S. Needs Its Own Path

While GDPR has provided essential data protections for Europeans, it has also imposed substantial compliance costs on American companies seeking to do business in the bloc and forced many companies to cease their European operations. The result has been increased prices for European and American consumers and reduced access to new products and services for Europeans. The consequences of GDPR should present a clear warning to lawmakers in D.C. and state capitols around the country about the dangers of imposing onerous data protection requirements. This commentary was published in Inside Sources….