Mar 27, 2019

Elizabeth Warren the trustbuster

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Sen. Elizabeth Warren's campaign has largely been overshadowed in recent weeks, but she's steadily unveiling a policy platform that would unravel years, if not decades, of corporate mega-mergers.

Driving the news: Today, her campaign put the target on Big Agriculture.

  1. Warren said she would appoint trustbusters to reverse competitive and vertical mergers, including the Bayer-Monsanto merger of 2018 and in specific livestock industries such as chickens.
  2. She would push for a right-to-repair that would end restrictions on where equipment could receive maintenance. This has ramifications (Apple) that go far beyond agriculture.
  3. She would also support national restrictions on foreign ownership of farmland and agriculture companies.

The big picture: Warren is the most prominent elected booster of the idea that rising corporate concentration contributes to broader economic inequality and erodes innovation.

  • Activists, officials and academics who share this view place a lot of the blame squarely on the current legal standard for deciding antitrust cases, which is based on whether a company or merger is harming consumers specifically.
  • In court, whether consumers are being harmed often hinges on whether they'll see a price increase.
  • That makes it hard for regulators to bring cases against many deals or "free" services like Facebook or Google.

The bottom line: This school of thought has caught fire in the last couple of years in progressive circles in D.C., attracting its share of criticism in the process. Warren is the first presidential candidate to bet big that voters will care, too, and want a sea change here.

  • If she's right, it will substantially elevate the issue — and could leave some of America's most prominent companies scrambling to play defense.

What's next: We already know some industries Warren might target, thanks to a 2016 speech listing industries she said were suffering from consolidation.

  • ✔️ Big Tech (earlier this month, she said she'd break up Google, Facebook and Amazon)
  • ✔️Agriculture (her announcement today)
  • Banking
  • Airlines
  • Telecom
  • Health care
  • Big retail (she singled out Walmart)

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Top Trump ally sounds 2020 election alarm over coronavirus response

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

There is growing concern among top conservative leaders that the Trump administration isn't addressing the long-term economic impact of the coronavirus, several sources tell Axios. One top adviser said if the recovery is bungled it could cost President Trump the election.

What we're hearing: "The next 4-8 weeks is really going to decide whether Trump gets reelected," Stephen Moore, Trump's former nominee for the Federal Reserve board, told Axios. If the administration mishandles its economic recovery efforts, he said, Trump is "in big trouble."

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,600,427 — Total deaths: 95,506 — Total recoveries: 354,006Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 465,329 — Total deaths: 16,513 — Total recoveries: 25,410Map.
  3. Public health latest: U.S. has expelled thousands of migrants under a CDC public health orderDr. Anthony Fauci said social distancing could reduce the U.S. death toll to 60,000.
  4. Business latest: The Fed will lend up to $2.3 trillion for businesses, state and city governments — After another 6.6 million jobless claims, here's how to understand the scale of American job decimation.
  5. 2020 latest: Top conservative leaders are concerned the Trump administration isn't addressing the virus' long-term economic impact.
  6. States latest: FEMA has asked governors to decide if they want testing sites to be under state or federal control.
  7. World latest: Lockdowns have led to a decline in murders in some of the world's most violent countries — Boris Johnson is moved out of the ICU but remains in hospital with coronavirus.
  8. In Congress: Senate in stalemate over additional funding for small business relief program.
  9. 1 SNL thing: "Saturday Night Live" will return this weekend in a remotely produced episode.
  10. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredPets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  11. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Federal court temporarily blocks coronavirus order against some abortions

Gov. Greg Abbott. Photo: Tom Fox-Pool/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled Thursday that clinics in Texas can immediately offer medication abortions — a pregnancy termination method administered by pill — and can also provide the procedure to patients nearing the state's time limits for abortions.

Driving the news: The decision comes after federal appeals court ruled 2-1 on Tuesday in favor of an executive order by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott that prohibits abortions during the coronavirus outbreak.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy