Biden’s Former Antitrust Guru Issues A Warning

By Josh Sisco, Político

The movement is at a high-water mark, says former White House adviser Tim Wu — but it can’t count on Congress for whatever comes next.

BRUSSELS — Two months after leaving his job in the White House as Joe Biden’s czar for competition policy, Tim Wu has some words for backers of the national anti-monopoly movement that he has helped foster: Beware the blowback. And don’t count on Congress.

“In the United States, a lot has happened in the last two years, but there is, based on looking at the history, a real danger, I think of a kind of premature declaration of victory,” Wu said at an antitrust conference in Brussels last week.

There is “an almost certain moment of a kind of Empire Strikes Back situation that I hope my allies in the administration in the United States are ready for.”

At a gathering for global antitrust thinkers and policymakers in Brussels last week, Wu spoke about — and directly to — a movement that has hit a high-water mark under Biden. Regulators have pushed hard against corporate growth with some major cases, including the Justice Department’s new lawsuit to block JetBlue’s takeover of Spirit Airlines, and the Federal Trade Commission’s recent challenge to Microsoft’s $68 billion deal for Activision Blizzard.

Since the end of Obama’s presidency, anti-corporate sentiment has exploded in mainstream politics, helping to propel former academic critics like Wu, as well as the FTC chair Lina Khan and DOJ prosecutor Jonathan Kanter, into key enforcement roles under Biden.

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