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FTC Advances Biden’s Fraudulent “Anti-Inflation” Agenda

Posted on Tuesday, April 30, 2024
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by David Lewis Schaefer
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AMAC EXCLUSIVE

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Although Joe Biden claims that his policies have been bringing inflation down, his appointees continue to take actions leading to precisely the opposite effect.

One of the worst offenders is Biden’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC) chair Lina Khan. On April 23, the FTC, by a 3-2 vote (with both Republican members dissenting), banned employers from requiring workers to sign noncompete agreements, which prohibit employees from taking jobs with rival firms in the same field for a specified amount of time.

The primary purpose of such agreements is to prevent workers from transmitting trade or technological secrets from their old employer to a new one – in some cases a form of industrial or commercial espionage. The ban would allow existing noncompete agreements with senior executives to remain in force but prohibit new ones, and would immediately render such agreements with all other employees invalid.

The FTC majority maintained that noncompete clauses violate the 110-year-old Clayton Act, which prohibits unfair methods of competition. But as the Wall Street Journal notes, the new rule “marks the first time in more than 50 years that FTC officials have issued a regulation to mandate an economywide change in how companies compete” – rather than investigating and suing individual companies for practices deemed to violate the law (most commonly, antitrust law).

Khan justified the rule by claiming that noncompete agreements “rob people of their economic liberty” along with “all sorts of other freedoms.”

But noncompete agreements do no such thing. In the United States, nobody is forced to work for one employer rather than another. Nobody must choose to work in a particular field, or for a particular employer, that will require him to sign a noncompete agreement as a condition of his employment. Nor do noncompete agreements prevent anyone from taking a job in a different field, or (once a limited time has passed) with an employer in the same field.

As justification for its ruling, Khan’s FTC argued that noncompete agreements, by hampering competition for employees working for rival firms, lower employee wages and benefits. But as the Journal reports, the Biden administration had previously sought a ban on noncompete agreements in 2021 in accordance with the wishes of organized labor. Notably, during a recent campaign appearance with union members, Biden boasted that he was “dancing with the gal that brung him,” or words to that effect – meaning that his re-election prospects depend heavily on continued union support.

It is true that the use of noncompete agreements has grown widely in recent years, to the point that (according to the Journal) they affect nearly one in five workers, including lower-wage employees like restaurant workers and hair stylists, who “lack access to intellectual property or trade secrets.” Businesses that use the agreements more widely claim that they encourage companies to make investments in training their workforces, with some confidence that the employees will remain with them.

But objections to the extension of such agreements have led some states, such as California, to ban them, enabling talented tech workers to switch employers easily or start their own businesses. However, in 2023, New York Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, vetoed a bill that would have banned the agreements completely, including on Wall Street, holding that they should be reserved for certain higher-level executives or professionals who might indeed possess valuable, confidential information that it would be harmful to their employers to share as soon as the executive changes jobs.

No one doubts the authority of state governments to restrain or even ban noncompete agreements by law, whether or not such bans are prudent as a matter of policy. The bans might well have the effect of driving major employers to transfer their locations elsewhere, but such is the virtue of our federal system: it encourages healthy economic competition and experimentation within the states.

What is problematic about the FTC decision is its lack of any clear legal authority, whether at the federal or state level. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has vowed to sue the FTC on just this ground, calling the action an “unlawful power grab” and holding, along with the two dissenting FTC commissioners, that the subject should be left to the states. In her dissent, FTC Republican Commissioner Melissa Holyoak held that the FTC could still use enforcement actions to punish particular noncompete agreements that were specifically found to be anticompetitive in their effects.

It should be noted as well that in a legal environment that allows noncompete agreements, the foregoing of such mandates can also be an advantage to employers seeking to lure talented employees in the first place, thus enhancing the employees’ bargaining position.

But what is absurd is for President Biden, who celebrated the FTC ruling, to continue claiming that his policies are reducing the continued high rate of inflation.

The FTC estimates that its ruling will boost the earnings of workers who are freed from noncompete agreements as a condition of employment by $400 billion or more over the next decade, as employers will have to compete to retain workers by raising their compensation. If so, this means that some workers will see their wages rise, while the cost of doing business for their employers, and hence the prices they charge for their products, will increase for all consumers. The ruling is thus no less likely to contribute to inflation than the various elements of Biden’s thoroughly misnamed “Inflation Reduction Act.”

Instead of boosting the extreme and sometimes lawless actions of Lina Khan’s FTC (which has blocked mergers among low-cost airlines and supermarket chains that might be essential to keeping the businesses alive – effectively reducing the number of companies competing in a given field), an administration that truly aimed at inflation reduction and promoting competition would stop opposing right-to-work laws, which defend workers’ freedom by saving them from having to join unions as a condition of employment. If Biden truly wanted to lower inflation, his National Labor Relations Board would also stop promoting “card check” in union certification elections (which, by abolishing the secret ballot, enables unions to intimidate workers into voting “yes”), as it began doing last year.

Additionally, an administration that aimed at promoting full employment would stop encouraging raises in minimum wage laws, which prohibit employers from offering jobs to novice employees doing basic manual labor such as working in fast-food restaurants or supermarkets, making it more economical for the employers to substitute self-service devices like automatic checkout.

As is his wont, Joe Biden continues to spread economic misinformation that is really designed to conceal the essence of his policies: benefit a favored few, at the expense of the many. Although only 6.9 percent of American private-sector workers are unionized, unions pack outsized political clout thanks to their PAC donations and in-kind campaign contributions such as “get out the vote” drives.

Biden’s appointees, including those named to regulatory agencies like the FTC, the NLRB, and the Federal Communications Commission (currently poised to announce the restoration of the discredited policy of “net neutrality”) are critical players in advantaging Biden’s favored few.

Judging from the recent flurry of expanded regulatory activity stretching beyond the law, it appears that Biden’s regulators fear his re-election campaign will fail, so they want to pack in as many ill-advised liberal priorities as they can before they too are booted from office.

David Lewis Schaefer is a Professor Emeritus of Political Science at College of the Holy Cross.

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Nick
Nick
21 days ago

The only effective solution for inflation is to throw the Democrats out and elect Donald Trump. If the Democrats stay in office the dumpster fire will continue. They are already costing me $1,000 a month and they want to raise my taxes. Throw them out of office problem solved

Westhus092
Westhus092
21 days ago

This article makes a good point regarding cost increases for consumers, as the steep increases in the cost of living over the past several years make it difficult for all American citizens. Thanks to ceases government spending and money printing, inflation continues to negatively impact people without the disposable income to absorb the increase. Of course, this is all by design from the Communists and Brandon.

Joe
Joe
21 days ago

All Joebama and his administration does is tax, spend and lie about how great the economy is. Just go to the grocery store or hardware store. The imposter in the White House needs to do us all a favor and travel to Papua New Guinea to search the jungles for his uncle.

David
David
21 days ago

Khan justified the rule by claiming that noncompete agreements “rob people of their economic liberty” along with “all sorts of other freedoms.” Kind of like unions.

uncleferd
uncleferd
21 days ago

“Anti-Inflation”?? No, no, “President” Biden LOVES inflation. Inflation makes our money worth less, which, in turn, makes our middle class less wealthy and less influential at election time… which “President Biden strongly supports.

Jim
Jim
21 days ago

Like most federal government agencies/departments the FTC needs a thorough “housecleaning”

Joe
Joe
21 days ago

Couldn’t agree more. Preventing non compete agreements is like allowing a Chinese company to steal your IP. There needs to be protection on both sides but not at the expense o the employer and developer of the business. The FTC has no clue about R and D cost.

Kdesq
Kdesq
21 days ago

Two things. How on earth does the ftc believe it has authority to tell companies what they can do in this type of situation?

Secondly, competition and rising wages do NOT cause inflation. Inflation is adding money to the money supply causing more dollars to chase fewer goods or salaries. 100% caused by those in charge of our money. I just can’t stand this stupid statement by alleged conservatives.

Thinking
Thinking
21 days ago

Everything in the name of destroying America. They take one side of a problem that is positive, and ignore the many downsides. That is ole Joe Bama’s policy. Taking Trump speeches out of context. Even ole Joe repeats such drivel. They haven’t said one true statement since they took office. The BLM riots were peaceful demonstrations. While all around the demonstrators the cities were burning. The Hamas demonstrators are nice people according to ole Joe and they get more brazen by the minute. Ole Joe let the genie out of the bottle and no amount of wishing will put her back in the bottle. Civil war or should I say war with Hamas is imminent. They have the support from ole Joe and our FBI and don’t forget the thousands of Hamas that have walked into this country at the southern border. Maybe even more from the northern border. After all Trudeau is also friends with Hamas. Who would ever see the day that America would stand on the side of Hamas and thereby Iran, and against Israel. But here we are. America at its weakest militarily and economically. The time is ripe to overthrow America without to fire one shot. Ole Joe is giving them permission by being silent and two faced.

Joe McHugh
Joe McHugh
21 days ago

The Federal agencies should not issue regulations that are rightly the purview of the various state legislatures. Such regulation should be limited to the elected officials who answer to their constituents. This is just another case of bureaucratic abuse of the people’s right to enjoy competition on a level playing field. When a company brings better technology to its customers, that technology should be protected for a reasonable period following employee separation.
Restaurant waitresses, and other semi- skilled, or non-skilled workers should not be held to such “non compete” restrictions.

Freudosa
Freudosa
21 days ago

They’re doing it for China. Makes it easier for all those “newcomers “ who’ve entered illegally.

retired
retired
21 days ago

Non compete agreements are often used in the medical industry to prevent one physician from stealing the patients of another physician. So no intellectual property need be involved. The practice introduced its patient base to a new physician, and it would seem manifestly unfair to allow the new physician to just walk off with those patients without compensating the practice in some way or by fulfilling the terms of a non compete agreement.
But the legal test, that case law has delivered time over time, is that non compete agreements must be reasonable in terms of time and distance. Non competes are usually never held to be valid if they last more than 1 – 2 years. Non competes must be reasonable in terms of distance, which is locality dependent. For example in a rural area a non compete might be reasonable for 25 miles. In mid town Manhattan, a non compete that is more than 1 mile might be reasonable depending upon the business type and model.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
21 days ago

These monthly inflation rates are accumulative so 1% + 1% + 1% = 3%, get it Joe? Right now I estimate I pay $40 more on average for every $100 I spend on food. Add to that the fact Washoe County has a lovely gas tax of $1.49/gallon above the national average. Thanks, Brandon!

Sunni
Sunni
21 days ago

Downsize the lumbering, huge bureaucracy that governs illegally. The constitution does not name a 4th branch of govt.

John
John
21 days ago

If your employer treats you fairly and pays you fair wage than he should have nothing to fear.
Ford is notorious for it’s non-compete clause’s for contract employees. Which is stupid because they lose excellent technical people because if they want to move up or get better pay they have to leave the company for six months.
Well if I leave the company for six months, the job I wanted is gone and I have already found a better job that treat’s people fairly.

Joanne4justice
Joanne4justice
14 days ago

OMG the article reports facts that POtUS BIDEN AND THE FTC are collaborating to sabotage our beloved country. ! ALSO, Potus Biden is intentionally /:deliberately hiding TRUE Iinfo about the continued Biden caused .HIGH INFLATION!!!!! THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!

Bob Chase
Bob Chase
20 days ago

Her job is NOT social engineering. Clearly outside of her mandates!

invictus
invictus
20 days ago

The Biden despot was born into scams and fraud. That is his lot.

Barrett T Smith
Barrett T Smith
21 days ago

But ol’ Janet Yellen said this inflation was only transitory.

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