Biden Works to Fight High Costs with Competition

President Joe Biden announces a ban on Russian oil imports, toughening the toll on Russia's economy in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022, in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

By Associated Press

July 5, 2022

The president signed a bill into law to stop high shipping costs from conglomerates, and there could be more to come.

President Joe Biden signed legislation last month that aimed to make shipping goods across oceans cheaper — a move the White House says will help lower retailer costs that have remained high since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and helped fuel record inflation.

At the June bill signing, Biden stressed that a concentration of corporate shipping power in the hands of just nine, large and foreign-owned companies has fed higher shipping costs in ways that hurt businesses and exacerbate problems with inflation.

“These carriers made $190 billion in profit in 2021, seven times higher than the year before,” Biden said. “The cost got passed on, as you might guess, directly to consumers, sticking it to American families and businesses because they could.”

It’s not the only antitrust legislation that’s getting a bipartisan look in Congress. Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a cosponsor of the shipping legislation, said that other big corporations should be on the look out. 

“If I were them, I would take great heed at the unanimous vote in the Senate, the strong vote in the House, that we could act very soon if they don’t start being fair,” Klobuchar said. “If they keep their prices so high and don’t respond to the needs in our country, I think you will see legislation, more legislation, in the mix.”

One of those bills would prohibit Big Tech companies from offering customers their own products or services when it isn’t the best option available. Adam Kovacevich, an independent developer, wrote in a Newsweek op-ed in June that it would “address an obvious problem: A few dominant tech companies have become gatekeepers of the internet, boosting their own products and undermining smaller competitors.”


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