FTC’s Amazon Lawsuit Will Worsen Consumer Welfare and Harm Competition

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been signaling for some time now that it planned to sue Amazon over perceived antitrust violations, and today the FTC filed those charges. In response, National Taxpayers Union warned that taxpayers as well as consumers are at risk from meritless FTC attacks on American businesses that waste time as well as money.   National Taxpayers Union has written extensively about antitrust cases for 25 years, and firmly holds that the well-being of consumers and taxpayers, not competitors, should be the government's guiding focus. When businesses draw consumers to their platforms, it is most often because they have built trust with consumers and kept them returning. 

As NTU’s president, Pete Sepp said,

In an era where innovation is the driving force in our economy, the government's unwarranted legal actions can hamper technological progress and create terrible consequences for all consumers. In this case, even those who don't always shop online through Amazon could find that convenient marketplace services like "click and mortar" integration could be fewer and farther between in the future. Taxpayers also have a great deal to lose from cases pursued by the FTC, DOJ, and state Attorneys General against Amazon and other companies in the tech space. Aside from wasted tax dollars spent on suits the government often loses and vital resources directed away from law enforcement priorities that matter more to most Americans, the chilling effect of legal actions on future private sector investment will mean fewer innovations that governments can adopt to deliver services more efficiently. All this comes at a time when our tech sector is facing international tax schemes from OECD aimed at our companies, as well as the expiration of 2017's pro-growth tax relief laws. These headwinds threaten to blow back any hope of genuine economic progress in the future. The government should be at the forefront of championing consumer welfare and promoting innovation. Taxpayers would benefit from a "cease and desist" order to keep antitrust authorities from doing any more damage to the products and services we all depend on and choose. 

There is a lasting and negative impact from the FTC’s antitrust litigation, and it tamps down on innovation, consumer welfare, as well as research and development. American businesses can't thrive in a global marketplace as a result. The FTC must stop its overreach as an agency, or face even more oversight from Congress. Targeting our most successful businesses like Amazon will only make their services less dependable for consumers and more difficult to sell with for small businesses. 

If you would like to speak with a member of NTU’s team about the FTC’s lawsuit against Amazon, please contact Courtney Manley, NTUF Communications Manager, at 703-299-8671 or at courtney.manley@ntu.org.