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Howard Beales, May 13, 2014
The FTC’s consumer protection mission is closely related to the Commission’s role in protecting competitive markets, because markets organize and drive our economy. Consumer protection policy can profoundly enhance the vast economic benefits of competition by strengthening the market, or it can reduce these benefits by unduly hampering the competitive process. The FTC has a special responsibility to protect and speak for the competitive process, to combat practices that harm the market, and to advocate against policies that reduce competition’s benefits to consumers.
By and large, the Commission has done an excellent job in its consumer protection mission. As the agency approaches its 100th anniversary, however, there are key areas in which it is harming consumer welfare. Recognizing the Commission’s generally strong performance, this article highlights some areas where improvements are needed.