Maureen Ohlhausen opened her remarks by highlighting her two major initiatives as the US Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Acting Chairman: economic liberty and regulatory humility. The first of these two initiatives, economic liberty, is the guiding principle behind the chairman’s Economic Liberty Task Force (“Task Force”). The goal of the Task Force is to address the “Brother May I” problem, which occurs when incumbents control new entrants to an industry through overbroad licensing requirements.
One of the first actions of the Task Force was a round table on license portability, a concept allowing individuals to work in licensed professions in multiple states without having to obtain multiple licenses. A second roundtable is forthcoming. Additionally, the Task Force is calling attention to the negative effects of overbroad licensing regulations on families, especially military families.
The second of these two initiatives, regulatory humility, is a concept the chairman believes should remain a constant theme in agency enforcement. She believes regulatory humility recognizes that antitrust is a precision tool and that broad socioeconomic concerns are not properly addressed by antitrust enforcement. Attempting to use antitrust enforcement in this fashion produces its own problems of which government actors should be mindful.