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For several decades a pro-monopoly consensus has ruled Washington, D.C., allowing our country to become increasingly captured by a handful of powerful companies stripping away our economic freedoms. Nearly 75% of industries have become more consolidated in recent decades and at the current rate of consolidation there will be just one company per industry by 2070.

This crisis of monopoly, which threatens our freedoms, economic prosperity and democracy, is what a new generation of leaders like Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan are trying to address. Naturally, the work of democratizing the economy and handing power back to people generates attacks from the powerful monopolists cornering commerce.

This includes a recent commentary from Barbara Comstock titled "How the FTC chair is alienating the left, right and center" (, May 21). Comstock's general thesis is that there is widespread opposition to Khan's actions, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary including polling from Fight Corporate Monopolies showing 61% of Minnesotans believe policymakers should do more to reign in monopoly power.

One of the more puzzling attacks by Comstock, who has advised NetChoice which advocates against efforts to reign in Big Tech companies, is when she writes "One person doesn't get to overturn the law." Comstock's claim is that Khan's efforts to move beyond the so-called consumer welfare standard — a legal theory that has come to dominate antitrust jurisprudence — is contrary to antitrust law.

The irony is that when the consumer welfare standard was adopted, it reflected a radical reinterpretation of the laws that used to protect us from the abuses of corporate monopolies.

Congress has passed a variety of antitrust laws over the years with the explicit goal of cracking down on consolidation. This includes passage in 1950 of the aptly named Celler-Kefauver Antimerger Act, to strengthen the Clayton Act, the federal law regulating mergers.

But starting in the late 1970s a legal movement began to take hold that gutted the enforcement of these key laws. In 1982 the Reagan administration made sweeping changes to the way merger enforcement is handled, instituting a hands-off approach to enforcement based on the theory that monopolies are not only good for consumers but that any harms to workers, small businesses and communities should be ignored. Without a single action by Congress, the antitrust laws were rewritten to serve monopolists.

Last year, in part because of Khan's leadership, the FTC and Department of Justice released new guidelines for handling merger enforcement. Not only were these new guidelines based on the feedback received from more than 30,000 Americans who submitted public comments, most calling on antitrust enforcers to crack down on mergers, they are the first to cite precedent from prior antitrust cases. Tech monopolies might prefer a pro-monopoly legal standard created out of thin air, but our antitrust laws were passed to limit the consolidation of power. Khan is simply following the law.

Comstock also claims that Khan wants to control tech companies, but it is the tech companies that have amassed control over us. The FTC's antitrust lawsuit against Amazon details how the firm's dominance in e-commerce has allowed it to increase the prices of goods sold on the websites of other companies. Whether you shop on Amazon or not, it is controlling the prices you pay.

Google's search monopoly allows it to control the front door to the internet, determining what you see and setting terms for the companies trying to be seen. Meanwhile, Apple controls the types of applications you have on the devices you supposedly own. Khan is not trying to micromanage tech; she is simply trying to make them accountable to all of us.

Comstock's most ridiculous attack involves a recent FTC suit seeking to block a massive merger in the fashion industry that would give one company control over most of the retailers at your local mall. This action reveals Khan's radical leftism, according to Comstock, but the FTC, which has two Republican members, voted 5-0 to block that merger.

For the first time in four decades monopoly power is losing its grip over our country. Plenty of work remains ahead, but for now I'm grateful for the leaders ignoring the monopolists, following the law and listening to the people.

Justin Stofferahn is antimonopoly director for the Minnesota Farmers Union, a grassroots organization that has represented Minnesota's family farmers, ranchers and rural communities since 1918.