What No One Seems to Know About Ted Cruz’s Past –
Now that Cruz regularly polls toward the top of an ever-shrinking field, his early tenure bears closer scrutiny. Cruz has gained fame as a social conservative and an unwavering opponent of Obamacare. In his first major leadership role, however, he developed economic policy as the Director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Office of Policy Planning.
In an article on PJ Media:
At the FTC, Cruz’s agenda could have been written by Milton Friedman.
Cruz promoted economic liberty and fought government efforts to rig the marketplace in favor of special interests. Most notably, Cruz launched an initiative to study the government’s role in conspiring with established businesses to suppress e-commerce. This initiative ultimately led the U.S. Supreme Court to open up an entire industry to small e-tailers. Based on his early support of disruptive online companies, Cruz has some grounds to call himself the “Uber of American politics.”
Moreover, and perhaps surprising to some, Cruz sought and secured a broad, bipartisan consensus for his agenda. Almost all of Cruz’s initiatives received unanimous support among both Republicans and Democrats.
Ted Cruz a consensus-builder? He was, at the FTC.
From the start of his tenure in 2001, Cruz strategically reoriented the FTC to focus on ways in which government restricts competition. To lay a foundation, Cruz organized a conference on regulatory barriers to e-commerce. Large online companies, such as Amazon and eBay, explained that government regulation and legacy laws threatened the growth of e-commerce. For example: funeral licensing laws meant online retailers could not legally sell caskets into certain states, even though they typically offered much lower prices. Other laws hampered online sales of cars, contact lenses, and legal and medical services.
In response, no brick-and-mortar company defended the government’s role … in regulating other industries.
Instead, like taxi cab drivers in New York or “green” energy companies demanding subsidies, every special interest argued that his particular industry uniquely required protection from competition.
The auto dealers complained that cars were too “sophisticated” for e-commerce, the funeral dealers explained that caskets were a product for “a very sensitive and specific time,” and the lawyers expounded that “we’re talking about something very different when we’re talking about access to the justice system.”
Cruz had little patience for anyone who sought to use the government to limit competition.
After the conference, Cruz testified at a hearing supporting the online sales of contact lenses and pushed the FTC to file an amicus brief supporting online casket vendors. Cruz also initiated a comprehensive study of the wine industry, which found that online competition lowered prices without increasing underage drinking. The study’s findings were ultimately embraced by the Supreme Court and by state legislatures around the country, who opened an entire industry to online competition and new small businesses.
Beyond the e-commerce initiative, Cruz also reoriented the FTC’s use of antitrust laws. For most of its history, the FTC has focused on private conduct that harms competition, such as (allegedly) anticompetitive mergers. Under Cruz’s leadership, the FTC instead targeted governmental conduct that harms competition. For example, the FTC successfully sued a state dental board to open the dental market to competition from non-dentists. This type of lawsuit primarily helped lower-income individuals, who would get more and cheaper options for basic health care.
Cruz also sent dozens of letters to states to fight new efforts to enshrine crony capitalism. Cruz sent a letter to New York to challenge a legislative attempt to impose a “minimum markup” on the sale of gasoline. This bill was a naked attempt to force gas stations to raise prices, but was couched as helping consumers. Cruz also sent letters to promote competition in financial services and energy markets. Through it all, Cruz kept his focus on the ultimate little guy — the consumer.
Perhaps surprisingly, Cruz secured a high degree of consensus in pursuing his agenda.
As an independent agency, the FTC has five commissioners, and during Cruz’s tenure, two of them had served in President Clinton’s administration. All five commissioners voted to support almost all of Cruz’s proposals.
To the “naysayers” who continue to spew false facts about Ted Cruz not being able to get bipartisan support, when you’re doing your online shopping over the holidays, remember Ted Cruz and give thanks. It was Cruz would stood up and fought to get government “out of the way”. When it comes to economic liberty and ecommerce, Ted Cruz has fought the fight against the government and government “rigging” the marketplace in favor of special interests. Cruz has and will build consensus again. Ted Cruz “walks the walk and talks the talk”. Cruz will continue to stand up for you, “the little guy” – the consumer. Thank you Senator Cruz. Now back to my online shopping.
Written by Nancy Hayes
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