Even as COVID-19 attacks people’s health, swamping our health care system and creating an unprecedented crisis across America, a second, deeper crisis is brewing behind closed doors: an economic catastrophe that will affect us all, from the most vulnerable individuals to the small and medium-sized independent businesses that are a vital part of the fabric of the U.S. economy.
A new report details the surprising per-person cost of corporate acquisitions in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. As large corporations aggressively pursue mergers to take over smaller businesses, they’re consolidating wealth to the detriment of the public. These monopolies mean a market with fewer jobs and higher prices, leaving the average U.S. family $5,000 poorer.
“The CARES Act bailouts supercharged big corporations’ and Wall Street’s ability to prey on and abuse small businesses and the communities they support,” said Economic Liberties Executive Director Sarah Miller. “Passing a merger moratorium is the least Congress can do and an overwhelming, bipartisan majority of Americans support it. We must ensure this national crisis does not become a monopoly free-for-all and prevent big corporations from further consolidating their economic and political power.”
In this report, new polling from Data for Progress reveals stunning bipartisan support for a straightforward solution: a ban on mega-mergers. In a nationally representative poll, 72 percent of people favored banning companies that receive taxpayer dollars from merging with or acquiring other companies during this time of crisis. It’s a simple sentiment: bailouts should keep the shop’s doors open to people, not big corporations, and they should never put people out of business.
With bipartisan support for a solution, it’s no surprise that lawmakers have advanced smart solutions to put a moratorium on corporate mergers to halt the creation of monopolies that come at the expense of small and medium businesses—not to mention taxpayers and consumers. One proposal under consideration, advanced by Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Pandemic Anti-Monopoly Act, would halt mega-mergers until the Federal Trade Commission “determines that small businesses, workers, and consumers are no longer under severe financial distress.”
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