The following was an article I published in the Pro Se, the University of Connecticut School of Law student newspaper in November 2016. The original article can be downloaded here.
What is Antitrust?
The 1980’s ushered in an era of heightened antitrust analysis that has focused on low prices and ignoring company acquisitions across markets which were rigorously upheld by previous presidents. The consequences of these policies have taken their toll on the American economy, which has only just started to change under Barack Obama. Our current marketplace highlights the need for a more active and progressive antitrust policy, something the next presidential administration will certainly have to take into account. Real competition for many areas of the U.S. economy are at an all-time low; Walmart alone controls 24% of the grocery market, CVS and Walgreens control 50-75% of the drugstore market, Comcast and Time Warner control 66% of broadband internet subscribers, and four banks control 39% of all consumer deposits, just to name a few. Certain areas of the law tend to fluctuate in popularity and antitrust law is no different. Codified into American law at the closing of the nineteenth century with the passage of the Sherman Antitrust Act, antitrust law seeks to ensure fair competition among businesses, low prices for consumers, and promote innovation in the economy. Antitrust law accomplishes this mainly by blocking proposed business mergers and acquisitions and seeks to divide companies in industries that are uncompetitive. Although antitrust law can be enforced through state agencies and private firms, it is primarily enforced at the federal level by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Law School Event: Antitrust at UConn
In October, UConn Law School and the Connecticut Bar Association hosted the DOJ’s Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Enforcement (DAAG), Juan Arteaga. During the event, DAAG Arteaga detailed the importance of public service and the sense of purpose that one feels when representing the American public. He stated that he and his colleagues are guided by the Antitrust Division’s mission of economic justice, which seeks to “to ensure that all companies can compete in free and fair markets and that hardworking Americans receive the best and most innovative products and services at the lowest prices possible.” This seminal event at UConn Law School is indicative of a renewed public interest in antitrust law, especially in Connecticut, since the media is reporting more news related to this field. They are conducting rigorous coverage of the pending litigations challenging the Anthem-Cigna and Aetna-Humana mergers and informing the public about the significant threat to competition they present. As reported in the CT Mirror, given the active mergers taking place in the healthcare Industry, Connecticut has become “Exhibit A” for antitrust litigation.
Who is DAAG Arteaga?
DAAG Arteaga grew up in Hartford, CT where he attended Hartford Public High School. After graduating from Columbia Law School, he clerked for Judge Roger L. Gregory of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and then worked at a large New York City law firm for a number of years. When asked what courses law students should take if they plan on pursuing a career in antitrust, he suggested that they consider taking courses that focus on topics such as corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, and economics. DAAG Arteaga reinforced the important role that state agencies play in protecting consumers from anticompetitive transactions and business practices, noting that the Connecticut Attorney General’s Office and Antitrust Division have partnered on cases such as the Apple eBook’s case to deliver real benefits for consumers in Connecticut. It seems from recent business activities in the economy that a new analytical framework is needed for competition, and hopefully it is created by UConn graduates.
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