The Friendly Neighborhood Trade Commission
May 1, 2003Montgomery N. Kosma
In some sectors of our economy, the rise of Internet commerce has prompted a dramatic response: do anything possible to keep out online price cutters! Many traditional local vendors feel threatened by online merchants who can take advantage of scale economies and avoid the overhead of an in-state storefront. In many instances, they have turned to the state government for legislative or administrative protection from that competition. Such measures are often hostile to free markets, limiting price competition and restricting consumer choice and convenience. They also clash with the constitutional principle of federalism which enjoins the states from unjustifiably interfering with interstate commerce. Under the leadership of Chairman Timothy Muris, the Federal Trade Commission has recognized these trends and responded strongly with the voice of national, federal competition policy in cases where consumer interests appear to be threatened.