GOP Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri is calling for a new round of trust-busting akin to that seen under President Teddy Roosevelt in the early 1900s, with modern-day targets including Big Tech and Major League Baseball.
Hawley’s message was timely, as company after company appears to be climbing on board the Democrats’ woke agenda and attempting to play an inappropriate role in politics.
“I think the last few weeks have made something very clear that has always been true in American history, and that is monopoly and liberty do not go together. Monopoly is the enemy of the people’s freedom,” Hawley said at a Tuesday news conference with Sens. Ted Cruz from Texas and Mike Lee from Utah.
“That’s certainly true of Major League Baseball. It’s true of Big Tech. It’s true of the monopolies we see more and more across our economy,” he added. “When you have concentrations of economic power, political power follows.”
Hawley, Cruz and Lee are sponsoring a bill to eliminate MLB’s immunity from antitrust laws.
Additionally, Hawley on Monday introduced the “Trust-Busting for the Twenty-First Century Act,” which aims to “crack down on mergers and acquisitions by mega-corporations and strengthen antitrust enforcement to pursue the breakup of dominant, anticompetitive firms,” according to a news release from his office.
The former Missouri attorney general identified Big Tech, Big Banks, Big Telecom, and Big Pharma as industries ripe for trust-busting.
At Tuesday’s news conference, Hawley recounted that a century ago when Roosevelt was president, the companies amassing economic and political power were the railroads and steel companies.
Roosevelt’s administration also famously set in motion the break up of Standard Oil, which had all but cornered the petroleum market in the U.S.
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In 1906, Roosevelt’s Department of Justice brought suit against the corporate giant under the Sherman Antitrust Act, forcing its breakup into 33 companies, including those that later became Exxon, Mobile and Chevron.
The same kind of government action needs to happen now, Hawley argued.
“We know what the solution to that is. The solution is you break them up. The solution is trust-busting,” he said. “And that’s exactly what needs to occur today. This is about preserving the ability of the democratic process to go forward.”
He cited Major League Baseball’s decision to pull its All-Star Game from Atlanta as an example of corporate America’s overstepping into the political arena.
“The fact that Major League Baseball would get together and try to punish a state because the elected representatives of that state, and the elected governor of that state settled on a law to preserve election integrity is unbelievable,” Hawley said.
“But of course Major League Baseball is not the only one. We had news just this weekend that 100 CEOs of the largest corporations in the world met together to talk about how they are going to launch some sort of plan to influence other states across this country” as they consider voter integrity laws, the senator noted.
CBS News reported among those said to be on the call were the CEOs of American Airlines, United Airlines, AMC Theaters, Levi Strauss Company, and Walmart.
“This is exactly what the railroad barons tried to do a century ago,” Hawley said. “It’s exactly the same thing. It’s trying to control the democratic process. It’s trying to leverage economic power to exert political influence.”
“It’s trying to push forward a particular political and ideological agenda. And the answer to this now is the same as the answer a century ago: you’ve got to break them up. So it’s time for a new round of trust-busting in the United States,” he continued.
“It’s also time we sent the signal that no corporation is above the law.”
Hawley contended busting up companies is an important aspect of preserving Americans’ freedom.
“All of these corporations exist to serve our democracy, the people of the United States, and ultimately competition, free open competition is the guarantor of liberty,” he said. “It’s what protects the people’s liberty. It’s what protects our democratic process. And we’ve got to, we’ve got to act now to ensure that there is that free, robust competition again in all sectors of our economy and Major League Baseball is a great place to start.”
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas suggested in a concurring opinion last week that social media companies including Twitter should be broken up.
“Today’s digital platforms provide avenues for historically unprecedented amounts of speech, including speech by government actors. Also unprecedented, however, is the concentrated control of so much speech in the hands of a few private parties,” the justice contended.
“We will soon have no choice but to address how our legal doctrines apply to highly concentrated, privately owned information infrastructure such as digital platforms,” Thomas added.
Americans used to associate big business with the Republican Party, but now it has become increasingly clear: big corporations ideologically bend toward the Democrats’ woke agenda.
As in the days of Teddy Roosevelt, it will be up to Republicans to take up the standard of the working man and woman to put corporations back in their place.
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