Antitrust law is something the government takes pretty seriously. In short, these are laws designed to protect consumers from companies that would abuse their market power to the detriment of the customer.
To keep bad actors in check, the Justice Department, together with the Federal Trade Commission, is empowered to bring legal action against companies that are in violation of a number of rules governing what companies can and cannot do.
Now, personally, I’m skeptical of most of these laws. “Market power” depends wholly upon the willingness of customers to buy your product, and it differs markedly from the kind of power government wields, power backed by the very real threats of violence and imprisonment.
As long as government is going to insist upon these laws, however, the least it could do is lead by example and follow its own rules. In fact, government routinely breaks just about every antitrust rule on the books, and we as taxpayers are the ones who suffer.
According to the Justice Department: “The goal of the antitrust laws is to protect economic freedom and opportunity by promoting free and fair competition in the marketplace.” In the interest of fairness, then, let’s see how government does at following its own rules.