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Biden signs executive order aimed at increasing competition in US economy


(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden signed a wide-ranging executive order Friday afternoon aimed at minimizing the stranglehold of monopolies on certain industries and increasing competition among companies, which the White House believes will benefit consumers by driving down prices.

“For decades, corporate consolidation has been accelerating. In over 75% of U.S. industries, a smaller number of large companies now control more of the business than they did 20 years ago. This is true across health care, financial services, agriculture and more. That lack of competition drives up prices for consumers,” according to a White House fact sheet.

Targeting air travel, labor practices, meat processing and more, the executive order contains 72 initiatives overseen by a dozen different government agencies.

Here is some of what’s in the order:

  • It will allow owners of iPhones, appliances and other machinery to attempt to perform repairs on their devices themselves or seek out repairs at independent shops without voiding warranty protections.
  • It requires the FAA to mandate efficient airline refunds for lost bags and dysfunctional WiFi service.
  • It aims to lower the price of prescription drugs by urging state and local tribes to import cheaper drugs from Canada, a move long supported by Democrats, and former President Donald Trump.
  • Hearing aids, which can often run consumers thousands of dollars, would be able to be sold over the counter under the order.
  • The order will encourage the FTC to limit non-compete agreements that prevent workers from seeking out better-paying jobs and affect some 30 to 60 million Americans. It also encourages the FTC to ban unnecessary licensing requirements for jobs like accounting and hairdressing, which differ from state to state and prove burdensome, especially for military families who frequently move.

These items in particular, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday, are “fulfilling [Biden’s] campaign promise to promote competition in labor markets in order to raise wages and make it easier for workers to change jobs and to move between states.”

The changes won’t be immediately evident to Americans since the executive order merely kicks off longer rule-making and regulatory processes. Some of the executive actions are only recommendations, especially on those areas governed by the FTC and FCC, which are meant to be independent agencies not obligated to carry out White House directives.

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