I am flabbergasted, in a good way, that President Biden has nominated Lina Khan to be a commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission. I’ve never met her in person, but she’s been legal counsel at the Open Markets Institute where my brother Phillip is the policy director. I have used her as a source in my writing on antitrust. She’s one of the top antagonists of Big Tech platform monopolies in the country, and an expert in the field. She’s the exact kind of person who supposed to be in a position of authority in this country but never is because of the power of Wall Street and Silicon Valley.
But let me put this another way.
During the Democratic presidential primaries, I narrowed my top two choices down to Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren. Biden was what my brain was telling me. I saw him as an almost ideal foil to Trump, and he was. But my heart wanted Warren and I really believed that what made her preferable to Biden was that she’d nominate people like Lina Khan. I wasn’t even sure Warren would be so bold, but I knew Biden wouldn’t never consider such a move. And he just proved me wrong. I am extremely impressed. Here’s the White House bio:
Lina Khan is an associate professor of law at Columbia Law School, where she teaches and writes about antitrust law, infrastructure industries law, and the antimonopoly tradition. Her antitrust scholarship has received several awards and has been published by the Yale Law Journal, Harvard Law Review, Columbia Law Review, and University of Chicago Law Review. Khan previously served as counsel to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law, where she helped lead the Subcommittee’s investigation into digital markets. Khan was also a legal advisor in the office of Commissioner Rohit Chopra at the Federal Trade Commission and legal director at the Open Markets Institute. She is a graduate of Williams College and Yale Law School.
Here’s what Barry Lynn of the Open Markets Institute has to say:
“A generation hence, today will be remembered as one of the most important days in the fight to preserve and rebuild American democracy. President Biden demonstrated a true commitment to restoring the people’s control over the American political economy by nominating Lina Khan to serve on the FTC.
Lina has a unique and far-ranging understanding of the dangers posed by the concentration of private power, and of the tools Americans can use to fix the problem. Lina is also a deeply wise and ethical person able to work collaboratively and constructively with people from across the political spectrum. All of us here at Open Markets are extremely proud of Lina’s work and her dedication to the well-being of all the American people. President Biden has made many excellent decisions in staffing his new administration. His choice of Lina Khan to serve on the FTC is one of his very best.”
People have different definitions of “progressive,” but this is what it means to me. This is the direction I thought only Warren could take us. It’s what I thought I’d have to give up if I opted for Biden instead. I’m beyond thrilled.
This is the best sign I’ve seen yet that Biden has completely transformed himself from the guy who served Delaware’s corporate interests so thoroughly for so long. If the Federal Trade Commission gets serious about monopoly power, the Democrats could have a lock on power not seen since the New Deal, and the country could be headed for a renaissance.