tv Pres. Biden Signs Economic Executive Order CSPAN July 9, 2021 7:40pm-8:01pm EDT
>> the highest growth records on record. we designed our economic strategy to be durable to the ups and downs that come with recovery. there are ups and downs. that is why the american rescue plan was designed to help people not just all at once. but over the course of a full year. so we could continue to support families, small businesses, state and local budgets, to help them weather the ups and downs. now that the economies back on track, we are making progress on a second phase of our strategy, ensuring long-term growth. that is what might build back better agenda, including my americans family plan and the bipartisan infrastructure agreement we reached last month
are all about long-term. to keep our country moving we have to take another step as well. i know you are tired of hearing me during the campaign. that is bringing fair competition back to the economy. that is why i'm going to be signing shortly an executive order promoting competition. to lower prices, to increase wages and take another critical step towards an economy that works are everybody. the horror of american capitalism is a simple idea, open and fair competition. that means a few companies want to win your business they have to go out and up their game. better prices and services, new ideas and products -- competition keeps the economy moving and keep the economy growing. fair competition is why capitalism has been the world's greatest force of prosperity and growth. by the same token, a competitive economy means companies do everything they can do to
compete for workers as offering higher wages come a flex bull hours and better benefits. but what we have seen over the past few decades is less competition and more concentration that holds our economy back. we see it in big agriculture, big tech, and big pharma, the list goes on. rather than competing for consumers, they are consuming their competitors. rather than competing for workers, they are finding ways to gain the upper hand on labor. and, too often, the government has actually made it harder for new companies to break in and compete. look at what that means for family budgets. take prescription drugs. just a handful of companies control the markets for many vital medicines, giving them leverage over everyone else to charge whatever they want. as a result, americans pay to
-- 2.5 times more for prescription drugs then any other leading country. nearly one in four americans struggles to afford their medication. another example -- hearing aids. right now, if you need a hearing aid, you can't just walk into a pharmacy and pick one up over the counter. you have to get it from a doctor or specialist. not only does that make getting hearing aids inconvenient, it makes them considerably more expensive and it makes it harder for new companies to compete, innovate, and sell hearing aids at lower prices. as a result, a pair of hearing aids can cost thousands of dollars. that is a big reason why just one in seven americans with hearing loss actually use hearing aids. another example -- internet services. there are more than six to 5 -- 65 million americans who live in a place with only one high-speed internet provider. research shows when you have a
limited internet operation, you pay up to five times in places then places with more choices. that is what a lack of competition does. it raises the prices you pay. it's not just consumers getting hurt. big bag is putting the squeeze -- big ag is putting the squeeze on farmers, small family farms, first-time farmers, like veterans coming home, black, latino and indigenous farmers, they are seeing price hikes for seed, lopsided contracts, stringing profits and growing debt. tasha shrinking profits -- lopsided contracts, shrinking profits, and growing debt. lack of competition hurts workers as well. in many communities, there are only a handful of employers left competing for workers. think of company towns across appalachia and other parts of the country where one big corporation runs the show. when corporations have that kind of leverage over workers, it pushes down advertised wages.
up to 17%. as competition decreases, businesses don't feel the pressure to innovate or invest in their workforce. that hurts working families and hurts our economy. all told, between rising prices and lowering wages, lack of competition costs the median american household $5,000 a year. look, i am a proud capitalist. i spent most of my career rep -- representing the corporate state of delaware. i know america can't succeed unless american businesses succeed. let me be very clear. capitalism without competition isn't capitalism, it's exploitation. without healthy exploitation. -- without healthy competition, big players can change and charge whatever they want and treat you however they want. for too many americans, that means accepting a bad deal for things you can't go without.
so, we know we've got a problem, a major problem. we also have an incredible opportunity. we can bring back more competition to morph the -- two more of the country, helping entrepreneurs and small businesses get in the game, helping workers get a better deal, helping families save money every month. the good news is we have done it before. in the early 1900s, president teddy roosevelt saw an economy dominated by giants like standard oil and j.p. morgan and the railroads. he took them on and one. -- he took them on and won. it gave the little guy a fighting chance. decades later, during the great depression, his cousin, franklin roosevelt, saw a wave of corporate mergers that wiped out scores of small businesses, crushing competition and innovation, so he ramped up antitrust enforcement eightfold, and just two years, -- in just
two years, saving families billions in today's dollars. helping set the course for sustained economic growth after world war ii. he also called for an economic bill of rights, including the right of every businessman large and small to trade in an atmosphere of freedom, among fair competition and domination from monopolies. between them, they established an american tradition -- and -- an antitrust tradition. it's how we ensure our economy is not people working for capitalism, it's about capitalism working for people. but over time, we've lost the idea that true capitalism depends on fair and open competition. 40 years ago, we chose the wrong path, in my view, following the misguided philosophy of people like robert bork, enforcing laws -- a pullback on laws to promote competition. now, we are letting giant corporations acutely more and
-- accumulate more and more power and what have we gotten from it? let's growth, weekend -- weakened investment, fewer small businesses. too many americans who feel left behind, too many people who are poorer than their parents. i believe the experiment failed. we have to get back to an economy that grows from the bottom up and middle out. the executive order i'm soon going to be signing puts a full -- commits the federal government to a a full and bashful enforcement of antitrust laws. no more abuse by monopolies, no more bad mergers that lead to mass layoffs and higher prices, fewer options for workers and consumers alike. my executive order includes 72 specific actions. i expect the federal agencies to help restore competition. so we have lower prices, higher wages, more money, more options and more conveniences for the american people.
today, i want to focus on three specific actions. first, the fda come of the food and drug administration. -- the fda, the food and drug administrations, are going to work with states and tribes to safely import prescription drugs from canada. that's one of many actions that will lower prescription drug prices. second, the fda is going to issue rules so that hearing aids can be sold over-the-counter. that's something the last administration was supposed to have done but did not do. we will get it done. after these go into effect, a pair of hearing aids can cost hundreds of dollars, not thousands of dollars and you can pick them up at your local drugstore. third, i've talked a lot about noncompete agreements, contracts that say you can't take another job in your field even if you get a better deal.
i made a speech. i was just reminiscing with my staff, back in 2018 at the brookings institution, where i talked about the noncompete clauses and how i found them to be not only absolutely ridiculous, but how prevalent they were. at least one in three businesses require their workers to sign a noncompete agreement. these are not just high paid executives or scientists that hold a secret formula for coca-cola so pepsi can get their -- so pepsi cannot get their hands on it. a recent study found one in five workers without a college education is subject to noncompete agreements. like construction workers, hotel workers, disproportionally women and women of color. think of a 26-year-old employee at a company. a star worker, but not being treated right.
she is underpaid, passed over for promotions. a competitor across the street knows it, and wants to bring her into a higher wage. but he cannot do it. her company threatens legal action over a noncompete clause she had designed to get hired in the first place. she can not afford a lawyer for help. she's locked in. imagine if you are in her shoes. you would feel powerless, disrespected, the lead, trapped. it is not right. workers should be free to take a better job if someone offers it. if your employer wants to keep you, he or she should have to make it worth your while to stay . that is the kind of competition that leads to better wages and to greater dignity of work. look, i will not go into it now, but i used to talk about there's noncompete clauses and people running the machines that lay down asphalt. if in fact you get offered a job
and you're are in arkansas doing it, a lot of specific examples -- you cannot take a job in west texas to do it. what in the hell does that have to do with anything? no, i'm serious. there are clauses in mcdonald's contracts. you cannot leave to burger king. , on. is there a trade secret about what is inside that patty? [laughter] i'm serious. i did not know the incredible number of noncompete clauses for ordinary people. it was done for one reason, to keep wages low, period. my executive order calls on the ftc to ban or limit noncompete agreements, to let workers choose who they want to work for. i am also calling the ftc to do
away with certain occupational licensing requirements. if you want to braid hair, and you move from one state to another, sometimes you have to do a six-month apprenticeship, even though you've been in the business for a long, long time. what's that all about? military families, for example. they are often on the move between states with each move -- with each new assignment, so you have a women in the military, or her husband, or vice versa, and guess what? if you are a plumber, you have to get a different license when you move from delaware to missouri. look, it cannot be a significant burden to get a new license in a new home state. that burden cannot be around anymore. it takes time and money. it takes a toll on families incomes. while you are waiting. we should remove that barrier.
provide more mobility and opportunity, higher wages for families on the move. this is something that my wife jill has worked on, together with michelle obama, with the military. i'm going to keep them moving. we are going to get it done, and executive order. i will close with this. competition works. we know it works. we have seen it work. fear competition is what made america -- fair competition is what made america the wealthiest, most innovative nation in history. it's why people come here to invent things or start new businesses. in the competition against china and other nations of this when he first century, let's show that american democracy and the american people can truly outcompete anyone, because i know that just given half a chance, american people never ever let their country down. imagine if we gave everyone a full and fair chance. that is what this is all about.
that is what i am about to do. so i would like to invite the cabinet members appear, i would like to invite -- the attorney general is here. attorney general garland, mr. secretary, if you come up to. i have been watching you on television, given really good. gina raimondo, also pete buttigieg and the chair of the fcc, lena con -- kahn, acting chair of the ftc, and director of the national council. anyway, come on up. this might be the first cabinet meeting we have had. more competition in the american economy.
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