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tv   Pres. Biden Signs Economic Executive Order  CSPAN  July 10, 2021 6:10pm-6:32pm EDT

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big tech is tied to the general feeling that tech companies are out to get them. >> watch the communicators with elizabeth nolan brown on her recent article, "the bipartisan antitrust crusade against big tech" today at 630 time p.m. eastern on c-span. >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government. we're funded by these television companies and more. ♪ >> midco supports c-span as a public service, along with these other television providers, giving you a front row seat to democracy. >> president biden yesterday
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signed an executive are aimed at competition in the u.s. economy. after his remarks, the president answered a question about his phone call earlier in the day with russian president vladimir putin. >> ladies and gentlemen, the president of the united states. pres. biden: hello, everyone. feel like we're having a cabinet meeting. please, please be seated. thank you. well, it's not good morning, but good afternoon.
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we're in the midst of an historic economic recovery. and because our successful vaccination program strategy has been working and the immediate relief for the american rescue plan has brought back our economy from the worst economic crisis in nearly a century, america is now on track. america is now on track for the highest economic growth in 40 years and one of the highest growth records on record. we designed our economic strategy to be durable to the ups and downs that come with recovery. there are ups and downs. that's why the american rescue plan was designed to help people, not just all at once, but over the course of a full year. so we could continue supporting families, small businesses, state and local budgets, to help them weather those ups and downs. and now that the economy is back on track, we're making progress on the second part of our strategy, ensuring long-term growth. that's why the american rescue plan and the bipartisan agreement we reached last month, that's what they're all about,
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long-term. but to keep our country moving, we have to take another step as well. i know you're tired of hearing me during the campaign and in my time as president talk about it. that's bringing fair competition back to the economy. that's why i'm going to be signing shortly an executive order promoting competition. to lower prices, to increase wages, and to take another critical step towards an economy that works for everybody. the heart of american capitalism is a simple idea, open and fair competition. that means that if your companies want to win your business, they have to go out and they have to up their game. better prices and services, new ideas and products, the competition keeps the economy moving and keeps it growing. fair competition is why capitalism has been the world's greatest force of prosperity and growth. by the same token, competitive economy means companies must do
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everything they do to compete for workers, offering higher wages, more flexible hours, better benefits. but what we've seen over the past few decades is less competition and more concentration that holds our economy back. we see it in big agriculture, in big tech, and big pharma, the list goes on. rather than competing for consumers, they are consuming their competitors. rather than competing for workers, they're finding ways to gain the upper hand on labor. and too often, the government has actually made it harder for new companies to break in and compete. look at what that means for family budgets. take prescription drugs. just a handful of companies control the market for many vital medicines, giving them leverage over everyone else to charge whatever they want. as a result, americans pay 2.5
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times more for prescription drugs than in any other leading country. and nearly one in four americans struggles to afford their medication. another example, hearing aids. right now, if you need a hearing aid, you can't just walk into a pharmacy and pick one up over the counter. you have to get it from a doctor or a specialist. not only does that make getting hearing aids inconvenient, it makes them considerably more expensive. and it makes it harder for new companies to compete, innovate, and sell hearing aids at lower prices. as a result, a pair of hearing aids can cost thousands of dollars. that's a big reason why just one in seven americans with hearing loss actually use hearing aids. another example, internet services. there are more than 65 million americans who live in a place with only one high-speed internet provider. research shows when you have a
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limited internet operation, you pay up to five times more on average than families in places with more choices. that's what a lack of competition does. it raises the prices you pay. it's not just consumers getting hurt. big ag is putting the squeeze on farmers. small and family farms, first-time farmers, like veterans coming home, and black and latino and indigenous farmers, they're seeing price hikes for seed, lopsided contracts, shrinking profits and growing debt. lack of competition hurts workers, as well. in many communities, there are only a handful of employers left competing for workers. think of company towns across appalachia and other parts of the country where one big corporation runs the show. when corporations have that kind of leverage over workers, it
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pushes down advertised wages up to 17%. and as competition decreases, businesses don't feel the pressure to innovate or invest in their workforce. that hurts working families and hurts our economy. all told, between rising prices and lowering wages, lack of competition costs the median american household $5,000 a year. look, i'm a proud capitalist. i spent most of my career representing the corporate state of delaware. i know america can't succeed unless american businesses succeeds. but let me be very clear. capitalism without competition isn't capitalism. it's exploitation. without healthy competition, big players can change and charge whatever they want and treat you however they want. and for too many americans, that means accepting a bad deal for things you can't go without.
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so, we know we've got a problem, a major problem. we also have an incredible opportunity. we can bring back more competition to more of the country, helping entrepreneurs and small businesses get in the game, helping workers get a better deal, helping families save money every month. the good news is we've done it before. in the early 1900s, president teddy roosevelt saw an economy dominated by giants like standard oil and j.p. morgan and 's railroads. he took them on and he won. he gave the little guy a fighting chance. decades later, during the great depression, his cousin, franklin roosevelt, saw a wave of corporate mergers that wiped out scores of small businesses, crushing competition and innovation. so he ramped up antitrust enforcement eightfold in just two years, saving families
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billions in today's dollars and helping set the course for sustained economic growth after world war ii. he also called for an economic bill of rights, including "the right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination from monopolies." between them, the two roosevelts established an american tradition, and antitrust tradition. it's how we ensure our economy isn't about people working for capitalism. it's about capitalism working for people. but over time, we've lost the fundamental american idea that true capitalism depends on fair and open competition. 40 years ago, we chose the wrong path, in my view, following the misguided philosophy of people like robert bork, and pullback on laws to promote competition. we are now letting giant corporations accumulate more and more power.
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and what have we gotten from it? less growth, weakened investment, fewer small businesses. too many americans who feel left behind, too many people who are poorer than their parents. i believe the experiment failed. we have to get back to an economy that grows from the bottom up and teh middle out. the executive order i'm soon going to be signing commits the federal government to a full and enforcement of antitrust laws. no more tolerance for abusive actions by monopolies. no more bad mergers that lead to mass layoffs, higher prices, fewer options for workers and consumers alike. my executive order includes 72 specific actions. i expect the federal agencies to help restore competition. so we have lower prices, higher wages, more money, more options and more conveniences for the american people.
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today, i want to focus on three specific actions. first, the fda come of the food and drug administration. fda, the food and drug administrations, are going to work with states and tribes to safely import prescription drugs from canada. that's one of many actions that will lower prescription drug prices. second, the fda is going to issue rules so that hearing aids can be sold over-the-counter. that's something the last administration was supposed to have done but did not do. we will get it done. after these go into effect, a pair of hearing aids can cost hundreds of dollars, not thousands of dollars and you can pick them up at your local drugstore. third, i've talked a lot about noncompete agreements, contracts that say you can't take another job in your field even if you get a better deal. i made a speech. i was just reminiscing with my
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staff, back in 2018 at the brookings institution, where i talked about the noncompete clauses and how i found them to be not only absolutely ridiculous, but how prevalent they were. at least one in three businesses require their workers to sign a noncompete agreement. these are not just high paid executives or scientists that hold a secret formula for coca-cola so pepsi can get their -- so pepsi cannot get their hands on it. a recent study found one in five workers without a college education is subject to noncompete agreements. like construction workers, hotel workers, disproportionally women and women of color. think of a 26-year-old employee at a company. a star worker, but not being treated right. she is underpaid, passed over for promotions. a competitor across the street knows it, and wants to bring her
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into a higher wage. but he cannot do it. her company threatens legal action over a noncompete clause she had designed to get hired in the first place. she can not afford a lawyer for help. she's locked in. imagine if you are in her shoes. you would feel powerless, disrespected, the lead, trapped. it is not right. workers should be free to take a better job if someone offers it. if your employer wants to keep you, he or she should have to make it worth your while to stay . that is the kind of competition that leads to better wages and to greater dignity of work. look, i will not go into it now, but i used to talk about there's noncompete clauses and people running the machines that lay down asphalt. if in fact you get offered a job and you're are in arkansas doing
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it, a lot of specific examples -- you cannot take a job in west texas to do it. what in the hell does that have to do with anything? no, i'm serious. there are clauses in mcdonald's contracts. you cannot leave to burger king. , on. is there a trade secret about what is inside that patty? [laughter] i'm serious. i did not know the incredible number of noncompete clauses for ordinary people. it was done for one reason, to keep wages low, period. my executive order calls on the ftc to ban or limit noncompete agreements, to let workers choose who they want to work for. i am also calling the ftc to do away with certain occupational licensing requirements.
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if you want to braid hair, and you move from one state to another, sometimes you have to do a six-month apprenticeship, even though you've been in the business for a long, long time. what's that all about? military families, for example. they are often on the move between states with each move -- with each new assignment, so you have a women in the military, or her husband, or vice versa, and guess what? if you are a plumber, you have to get a different license when you move from delaware to missouri. look, it cannot be a significant burden to get a new license in a new home state. that burden cannot be around anymore. it takes time and money. it takes a toll on families incomes. while you are waiting. we should remove that barrier. provide more mobility and opportunity, higher wages for
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families on the move. this is something that my wife jill has worked on, together with michelle obama, with the military. i'm going to keep them moving. we are going to get it done, and executive order. i will close with this. competition works. we know it works. we have seen it work. fear competition is what made america -- fair competition is what made america the wealthiest, most innovative nation in history. it's why people come here to invent things or start new businesses. in the competition against china and other nations of this when he first century, let's show that american democracy and the american people can truly outcompete anyone, because i know that just given half a chance, american people never ever let their country down. imagine if we gave everyone a full and fair chance. that is what this is all about. that is what i am about to do. so i would like to invite the
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cabinet members appear, i would like to invite -- the attorney general is here. attorney general garland, mr. secretary, if you come up to. i have been watching you on television, given really good. gina raimondo, also pete buttigieg and the chair of the fcc, lena con -- kahn, acting chair of the ftc, and director of the national council. anyway, come on up. this might be the first cabinet meeting we have had. more competition in the american economy. [laughter]
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[indiscernable] i wish it had a shorter name. [laughter] thank you. thank you, everyone. [applause]
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>> i made it very clear to him that the united states -- when ransomware operations are coming from its oil, even though it is not sponsored by the state, we need information to act on who that is. secondly, that through the set up -- we need to set up communications and communicate with one another on each of the things happening in our countries that affect us. quick c said three weeks ago there would be concert -- >> you said three weeks ago there would be
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comcast. >> you think this is just a community center? no, it's much more than that. >> comcast is crating listings so famous can get the tools they need. >> comcast support c-span as a public service, along with these television providers, giving you a front row seat to democracy. peter: elizabeth nolan brown is on your screen. she is an editor with reason magazine and she has a recent cover story for that publication, the bipartisan antitrust crusade against big tech. ms. brown, if you could, first of all, tell us about the philosophy of reason magazine. elizabeth: reason magazine is an especially libertarian magazine focused on politics and culture. we're not a member of the libertarian policy, -- pty


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