Little Tangible for Small Businesses in Biden’s Executive Order

More crackdowns on big companies than uplifting little ones.

Source : Joe Biden for President

July 9, 2021

Author : Alex Bustillos

The president’s executive order on “promoting competition” doesn’t offer much concrete for small businesses.

The executive order released today contains quite a few effective measures aimed at consumer protection and occupational licensing reform but misses the mark on offering much for small business in the immediate.

Some reforms that would make it harder for large companies to gouge customers with hidden fees, like a ban on “excessive termination fees” by internet service providers, and requirements that airlines be more upfront about costs are surely a welcomed addition that will cut down on unfair practices.

However, when it comes to small businesses, the executive order will merely direct other agencies to make changes. Those changes may be good, but we don’t have many details on them and will have to wait for agencies to announce their actual policies before we can fully judge anything.

Those directions to other agencies asking them to address small business issues include:

  • “Directing all federal agencies to promote greater competition through their procurement and spending decisions.
  • Encourages the FTC [Federal Trade Commission] to establish rules barring unfair methods of competition on internet marketplaces.
  • Encourages the FTC to issue rules against anticompetitive restrictions on using independent repair shops or doing DIY repairs of your own devices and equipment.”

Indirectly, there are some measures which would also affect small businesses, like some banking reforms. 

The Executive Order argues that bank consolidation (which we have previously reported on here) restricts credit for small businesses. The reforms, however, include more “encouraging” and “directing” of other agencies:

  • “Encourages DOJ [Department of Justice] and the agencies responsible for banking (the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency) to update guidelines on banking mergers to provide more robust scrutiny of mergers.
  • Encourages the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to issue rules allowing customers to download their banking data and take it with them.”

While reforms aimed at disempowering monopolies are an important step in creating a competitive marketplace, more effort is needed from the federal government to uplift the small business community. 

For example, on the same day of the executive order it was reported that the government still holds $27 billion in available aid to small businesses under the pandemic relief program called Targeted EIDL [Economic Injury Disaster Loan] program. So far, only $2.25 billion has been handed out to the struggling small business community.

Our previous reporting has shown that more than 1,000 small businesses closed per day due to the pandemic. Getting that money out to small businesses that need it should be the top priority of the administration.

Category : Federal Government Monopolization Small Business Administration Procurement

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