Happy birthday FDR: The Tipline for 30 January 2020

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd US President, was born 138 years ago today in Hyde Park, New York. Democrats frequently refer to FDR when promising to offer more progressive policy. But they should be careful with their dates when referencing the antitrust enforcement record of the only US president to be elected to either a third or fourth term in the White House. FDR’s “First” New Deal was “characterised by a remarkable lack of enthusiasm” for competition enforcement, according to Herbert Hovenkamp. The University of Pennsylvania law professor describes a dramatic reversal during FDR’s second term after the president appointed Thurman Arnold to head the Department of Justice’s antitrust division: “No antitrust enforcement agency before or since has had such a strong conception of market failure, or faith in antitrust policy as the corrective.” Under the “Second” New Deal, the administration attacked vertical integration and alleged abuses of intellectual property rights.

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