Inflation is the top issue for Black voters as with all other voters.
Rising costs on everyday items and services have eroded savings and forced households to make significant cutbacks.
Inflation affects households differently, enacting a harsher penalty on those with low incomes and on fixed budgets.
They spend more proportionately on items with higher price volatility like groceries and gas. That is true for many Black households.
Instead of taking an all-of-government approach to tackling affordability, the Biden administration — whose reckless fiscal policies ignited high inflation back in 2021 –- has been focused on promoting equity and propping up Big Labor.
Worse, the one federal agency tasked with ensuring that market competition is leading to lower prices for consumers is busy pushing a radical agenda that will leave consumers with less money in their pockets and fewer goods to choose from.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) under chair Lina Khan is on a warpath against Big Tech.
Khan has a zeal for litigation, but not a track record for success.
Instead of negotiating settlements with companies, she would rather stop what she considers anticompetitive mergers in the courts.
This undoubtedly changes the strategy for a company considering merging with another or purchasing another one.
Mergers and acquisitions can often lead to more options, better prices, and more robust services for consumers.
Her results are mixed at best. Khan has targeted companies such as Meta (Facebook’s parent company), Microsoft, Amazon, and other smaller names.
She successfully blocked gene-sequencing giant Illumina from acquiring cancer blood-test startup Grail.
Never mind that the deal would have accelerated and expanded access to life-saving early-detection testing for cancers. Is that a win for patients or the government?
Last month, Khan launched a consequential lawsuit against Amazon, the nation’s most trusted brand, targeting its Prime Service that delivers free one- or two-day shipping, streaming services, and other services that Americans value.
Khan takes issue with the vertical integration of suppliers, producers, and shippers —something that businesses pursue to shore up their supply chain, reduce delivery times, and lower costs for customers.
Perhaps Khan can explain how a jaw-dropping logistics apparatus that makes it possible for two million small businesses to sell more than 4.1 billion items to customers worldwide is anti-competitive.
The FTC has been guided by the consumer welfare standard for many decades.
In antitrust litigation, the standard basically asks whether consumers are better off or not as measured by price.
If better off, then practices that companies engaged in are considered legal.
Khan has argued that the consumer welfare standard is not equipped for this new world of online retail, as evidenced by Amazon.
Facts apparently do not matter to Khan. Contrary to her claims, Amazon is dominant but not the biggest retailer (a title held by Walmart).
The retail landscape has only grown more competitive, not less.
Most of all, e-commerce prices plunged the most in three years this August despite inflation accelerating.
The media fawn over Khan’s lawsuit, calling it “cutting edge” and suggesting that it “captures ‘state-of-the-art thinking’ about modern monopolies in the tech industry.”
However, Khan is actually rehashing old ideas that empower the federal government to take a more active role in regulating private enterprise.
Rather than advancing consumer-focused competition standards based on sound economics, the FTC employs subjective and byzantine legal theories to determine breaches of antitrust law.
No company will be safe under such an arbitrary use of government power.
Khan’s retro ideas are not the only reasons for concern. Fellow commissioners have raised concerns about her abuses of power.
Former Republican FTC Commissioner Christine Wilson resigned this year in protest to Khan’s leadership and disregard for the rule of law and due process.
She wrote, “My fundamental concern with her leadership of the commission pertains to her willful disregard of congressionally imposed limits on agency jurisdiction, her defiance of legal precedent, and her abuse of power to achieve desired outcomes.”
In Khan, we have yet another unelected bureaucrat making end runs around Congress and the electorate to enact her own agenda, regardless of the damage to everyday consumers and small businesses.
The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel called it Amazon Khan’s “great white whale.” She seems on a warpath to bring the company down one way or the other.
What Blacks — and all Americans — want is for the government to bring down prices —not trusted brands that create platforms for millions of entrepreneurs to experience economic mobility and consumers to save money.