Biden helps European bureaucrats to pilfer American companies

Time and time again, the Biden administration has colluded with foreign governments to tax and regulate American companies. 

Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s favorite unelected bureaucrat, was in Washington, D.C., this week to brag about her efforts to treat American companies as piggy banks and suffocate them with red tape. President Joe Biden’s lack of leadership enables Eurocrats to attack American companies.

In a Wednesday morning panelVestager mused about “comparing notes” with American regulators to target American companies and characterized opposition to her plans as not being “expected company behavior.”

Does Vestager ever wonder why America — not Europe — is home to the world’s largest and most successful companies? In America, we celebrate and encourage entrepreneurial success. In sharp contrast, Eurocrats pride themselves on the fact that they are always the first to heavily regulate new industries. Enter the Digital Markets Act, a new law that designated American technology companies as “gatekeepers” over the internet and gave Brussels bureaucrats a host of new tools to tax and regulate them. The DMA conveniently exempts European companies, a clear attempt by the EU to give stagnant domestic companies a leg up at the expense of American companies.  

The DMA allows EU bureaucrats to prosecute American companies on antitrust grounds and then levy massive penalties when the targeted company inevitably ends up guilty. These fines can total in the tens of billions of dollars, and are used to prop up Europe’s bloated social welfare system. 

If you doubt that this is a cash grab, consider that the EU whacked Apple with a $1.93 billion fine for its music streaming service two days before DMA became law. Like past punishments, the fine did not appear to follow any objective criteria given that Spotify is the dominant player in music streaming. Just one week after DMA became law, the EU opened new investigations into Apple, Google, and Meta.

The DMA is also a blatant handout to rent-seekers like Spotify, Epic, Yelp, and others that spent years agitating for the law’s passage. The American companies the DMA targets — Apple, Meta, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon — will not be in compliance unless they allow bureaucrats to mutilate their business models to their competitors’ benefit. The freeloaders have no incentive to stop complaining, as the DMA’s investigations and penalties only serve to further weaken their more successful American competitors. 

It gets worse — your tax dollars are funding European attacks on American companies. Last year, the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice announced that they were sending staff to assist EU bureaucrats in implementing the DMA. In a Congressional hearing, FTC Chair Lina Khan refused to provide details on the cost or scope of this collusion. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) blasted this lack of transparency and demanded a “full accounting of taxpayer funds used by FTC employees to travel to Brussels” in a recent letter.

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Biden’s refusal to stand up for American companies enables this parade of horrible. Vestager bragged about being in “close contact” with Khan to kill the Amazon/iRobot deal, and Canadian bureaucrats gloated that Biden is “explicitly tolerating” a new streaming tax on American companies. Biden’s capitulation to foreign bureaucracy draws a sharp contrast with President Donald Trump’s consistently swift retaliation against foreign countries that dared to tax American companies. 

Vestager and her fellow Eurocrats are attacking American companies to bolster European companies that cannot compete on the merits. Instead of spending our tax dollars to help the EU rob American companies blind, Biden should grow a backbone and stand up for the American economy.

Tom Hebert is the Director of Competition and Regulatory Policy at Americans for Tax Reform. Andreas Hellmann is the Director of Outreach, Tax, and Regulatory Policy at the Tholos Foundation. 

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