Statement: The Roosevelt Institute Responds to Verdict in AT&T-Time Warner Merger Trial
This will open the floodgates to more vertical mergers in telecoms and other industries, increasing the range of anti-competitive business models that powerful corporations can partake in to increase their profits at the expense of the rest of the economy, including workers and small businesses.
NEW YORK, NY– In response to Judge Richard Leon’s verdict in the Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division’s lawsuit to block the merger of AT&T and Time Warner, Roosevelt Institute Research Director and Fellow Marshall Steinbaum had the following statement:
“Our economy suffers from a market power problem that calls for increased antitrust enforcement. By challenging a vertical merger for the first time in 40 years, the DOJ did just that, and it still lost. The ‘economic’ testimony offered by competing experts was unable to distinguish an economically significant harm to consumers—but that is far too narrow a criterion on which to base the policy that structures a wide swath of the economy.
This will open the floodgates to more vertical mergers in telecoms and other industries, increasing the range of anti-competitive business models that powerful corporations can partake in to increase their profits at the expense of the rest of the economy, including workers and small businesses. This verdict clearly shows that we cannot rely on enforcement of existing antitrust policy to remedy the problem. We need a legislative solution.”
In April, Steinbaum and the Roosevelt Institute released a report about the ways excessive corporate power distorts the economy: Powerless: How Lax Antitrust and Concentrated Market Power Rig the Economy Against American Workers, Consumers, and Communities. In 2017, the Roosevelt Institute released a report specifically about the threat posed by this merger: Crossed Lines: Why the AT&T-Time Warner Merger Demands a New Approach to Antitrust.
Steinbaum’s perspectives on this and other economy policy debates have been featured extensively in outlets recently, including The Washington Post, Washington Monthly, TheStreet, The Week, and The Nation.
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Until the rules work for every American, they’re not working. The Roosevelt Institute asks: what does a better society look like? Armed with a bold vision for the future, we push the economic and social debate forward. We believe that those at the top hold too much power and wealth, and that our economy will be stronger when that changes. Ultimately, we want our work to move the country toward a new economic and political system: one built by many for the good of all.
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