The Biden administration is running a clinic — on how to rip out the roots of a capitalist economy and drive up prices on basic goods and services. Consider the latest blunder: The Biden Department of Justice, led by Attorney General Merrick Garland, has decided to attack American Airlines and JetBlue for a run-of-the-mill business partnership.
To better compete in the country’s northeast corridor, the two airlines teamed up and decided to share flight lanes and revenue. In this region, American and JetBlue were underdogs against United and Delta, and they did as underdogs do: joined forces to increase their market share and better serve customers.
This was basic business 101, a joint venture like any other. Except to the Biden administration, “ordinary business” is like red to a bull. Rather than support this partnership — on the grounds that passengers should, you know, get more flight choices and cheaper air travel — the Biden team brought in the trust-busters, accusing American and JetBlue of unfair coordination and launching a farcical investigation.
Worst of all, two Republicans — the Attorneys General of Arizona and Florida — jumped on the Biden bandwagon and praised the DOJ action. It should be noted that this agreement was sent to the Trump administration’s DOJ for its blessing — where it passed, because the administration knew this was just how business works in the United States.
It’s hard to know what element of this whole affair is the most ridiculous. Is it that the Biden administration’s DOJ looks the other way while actual crime rises throughout the country — but that the DOJ is laser-focused on harmless partnerships between airlines? Or is it that — in the aftermath of a pandemic that gutted the travel and tourism industry — the Biden administration’s first action out of the gate is to jam up airlines in court? Or — and this may well win the award for ludicrousness — that two Republicans signed onto this bogus suit?
The plain facts: This suit has zero merit, is likely to be thrown out, and does nothing other than line the pockets of lawyers and send a signal to American businesses that the Biden White House is on a warpath against capitalism. For voters in Arizona and Florida, it should send a related, corollary signal: Your Republican AGs need to answer for their actions. Now is a time when the principles of a market economy need defending.
And on the merits of the anti-trust action itself? This one’s easy: The United States does not currently have a problem of concentrated corporate power. We have fresh evidence for this. In the last few months alone, massive, multi-billion-dollar companies — GE, Toshiba, and Johnson & Johnson — have announced that they are splitting up into component, independent firms. They’re doing so because of business strategy, but the fact that they’ve done so is all the evidence we need that the US market economy is functioning as it should. Put more directly: Market forces are doing just fine without Merrick Garland’s guiding hand to help us.
The Biden administration needs to lay off, especially at a time of runaway inflation and nationwide uncertainty. And the Republicans who support the Biden team should think twice: When you begin attacking basic business, even your voters at home start to wonder about your convictions, and when they do, they’ll also start to wonder whether you are worth voting for the next time around.