By: BINYAMIN APPELBAUM
New York Times
The nation’s antitrust police, asleep for the past few decades, barely opening their eyes to buzz through the latest corporate mergers, finally seem to be emerging from their slumber. That is a very good thing for the American economy.
This month the Justice Department filed suit to prevent Penguin Random House from buying the rival book publisher Simon & Schuster. It’s the most interesting antitrust action in a long time. In pursuing the case, the Biden administration is attempting to break out of a cage that has constrained antitrust enforcement since the 1980s.
The power of large corporations can warp the economy in several ways. The most familiar is that companies with monopoly power can impose higher prices on consumers. To the extent federal antitrust regulators have done anything in the past few decades, they have objected to deals that seemed likely to result in higher prices.