July 6, 2017

Rule Reversal: How the Feds Can Challenge State Regulation

Matthew D. Mitchell

Senior Research Fellow

Ryan Nunn

Summary

The FTC’s Economic Liberty Task Force targets state and local licensing laws for antitrust scrutiny.

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An oft-repeated observation is that government works best when it is closest to the people. But when local and state governments are unduly influenced by special interests, the people may benefit from the checks and balances of the federal government. The Federal Trade Commission furnishes a striking recent example.

Tasked with keeping American markets open and competitive, a large part of the FTC’s mission is to enforce the antitrust laws that prevent businesses from hurting consumers with anticompetitive practices. However, not all threats to a free and competitive economy come from the private sector. A new initiative by the FTC, the Economic Liberty Task Force, will combat excessive and anticompetitive occupational licensing regulations at the state and local levels.

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