Antitrust Enforcement in the Obama Era: Back to Basics -- Vigorously


In her first speech as Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division, Christine Varney called for a return to vigorous antitrust enforcement and repudiated the Bush Administration's eight month old report on how the Antitrust Division would evaluate single firm conduct under Section 2 of the Sherman Act, Competition and Monopoly: Single-Firm Conduct Under Section 2 of the Sherman Act, United States Department of Justice (2008) ("Report").

In remarks to the Center for American Progress on May 11th, Ms. Varney stated that lax antitrust enforcement during the 1920s and the early years of the Great Depression, particularly the industrial codes promulgated under the National Industrial Recovery Act, effectively foreclosed competition to the detriment of consumers. The results were restricted output, higher prices and reduced consumer purchasing power. Not until 1937 was there a revival of vigorous antitrust enforcement.

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