NEW YORK: Vowing consumer relief from costly hearing aids, excessive airline baggage fees and myriad other ills, President Joe Biden unveiled a wide-ranging effort to remake Washington’s posture towards corporate power and consolidation.
Biden plans to sign an executive order promoting competition in the American economy, encompassing everything from rulings on Big Tech mergers to runaway pharmaceutical prices and the negotiating dynamics between small farmers and meat processors, the White House said Friday.
“For decades, corporate consolidation has been accelerating,” according to a fact sheet released by the White House that described the initiative as “a whole-of-government effort to promote competition in the American economy.”
The document cited earlier moments in US history when presidents confronted corporate power, such as the trust busting push by President Theodore Roosevelt in the early 20th century that gave “the little guy a fighting chance.” The order outlines 72 initiatives across the federal government and announces the creation of a White House Competition council to monitor progress. The move comes as Biden’s legislative agenda faces challenges amid bitter partisanship in a closely-divided Congress. The US president has scored some Republican support for a scaled-down infrastructure package, but other major initiatives have broken strictly along party lines and look more uncertain.
Executive orders provide another policy mechanism for presidents, although, unlike legislation, they can be reversed by a successor’s pen. Many of the measures included in Friday’s announcement set policy goals, but also require extensive follow-up by other agencies.