During the 2008 presidential campaign Barack Obama criticized the Bush Administration for “the weakest record of antitrust enforcement of any administration in the last half century” and promised “to reinvigorate antitrust enforcement.” In particular, he singled out allegedly lax monopolization and merger enforcement as areas needing improvement, and also vowed “aggressive action to curb the growth of international cartels.”
The Obama Administration has now been in office for six years. Has its antitrust enforcement record been an improvement over the Bush record, more of the same, or is its record worse? Most importantly, have the Obama Administration’s enforcement initiatives been good or bad for the free market system, and the overall American economy?
The conference will feature an all start lineup of top antitrust enforcers and scholars, including four former Justice Department Assistant Attorneys General for Antitrust; a former Federal Trade Commission Chairman; two current Federal Trade Commissioners; five former senior antitrust enforcement officials; a distinguished federal appellate judge famous for his antitrust opinions; and a leading comparative antitrust law expert. Separate panels will address FTC, Justice Department, and international developments. Our leadoff speaker will be GWU Law School Professor and former FTC Chairman Bill Kovacic.
As an added bonus, around the time of the conference Heritage will be releasing a new paper by Professor Thom Lambert that analyzes recent Supreme Court jurisprudence and federal antitrust enforcement applying a “limits of antitrust” decision-theoretic framework. Stay tuned.