Executive Vice President, Chief Policy Officer, and Head of Strategic Advocacy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
July 28, 2023
Beware when two U.S. Senators tell you we need a powerful new government agency to solve our problems.
Sens. Lindsey Graham and Elizabeth Warren want a new agency to regulate everything “tech.” Their models?
- The Interstate Commerce Commission, a price-setting agency so bad the bill to terminate it passed Congress by unanimous consent – a failed 19th century railroad regulator is not a 21st century solution.
- The FCC, which they hope will regulate speech on the internet just like it did in the early days of TV and radio. Here we go back to the Fairness Doctrine and gov’t speech police.
- And the FTC, whose current chair has decided it is their job to shape the distribution of power across the economy.
Their proposal to regulate digital advertising will likely mean when I search for “best lunch deals,” I don’t learn about deals near me, but specials 3,000 miles away. That doesn’t help me or local restaurants.
And it is probably a death knell for thousands of new small business owners, who thanks to the scale and reach of online platforms have been able to open consulting businesses in their dining rooms, craft stores in their spare bedrooms, and retail shops in their garages.
Our 2022 small business tech survey showed that small businesses who used six or more tech platforms for management and marketing had far higher growth rates and profit margins than their competitors. Those high-performing small businesses are the ones who will get hurt.
To be fair, there is work for Congress to do when it comes to how people abuse internet platforms. For example, Congress should be focusing on responding to the recent Supreme Court decision that made it harder to prosecute cyber-stalkers.
But a new, all-powerful federal agency won’t solve that problem and instead will just create new ones.
About the authors
Neil Bradley is executive vice president, chief policy officer, and head of strategic advocacy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He has spent two decades working directly with congressional committee chairpersons and other high-ranking policymakers to achieve solutions.