Dear President Clinton:

Antitrust is supposed to be about protecting consumers against higher
prices and other consequences of monopoly power.  Accordingly, the Justice
Department's Antitrust Division, the Federal Trade Commission, and state
attorneys general are vested with authority to defend competition and
protect the well-being of consumers.

The current spate of heightened antitrust activism seems to suggest that
anti-competitive business practices abound.  Headline-grabbing cases
against Microsoft, Intel, Cisco Systems, Visa and MasterCard, along with a
flurry of merger investigations now under way, would appear to demonstrate
the need for a vigorously enforced antitrust policy that will create checks
and balances to eliminate consumer harm.

However, consumers did not ask for these antitrust actions -- rival business
firms did.  Consumers of high technology have enjoyed falling prices,
expanding outputs, and a breathtaking array of new products and
innovations.  High technology markets are among the most dynamic and
competitive in the world, and it is a tribute to open markets and
entrepreneurial genius that American firms lead in so many of these
industries.  But, these same developments place heavy pressures on rival
businesses, which must keep pace or lose their competitive races.  Rivals
can legitimately respond by improving their own products or by lowering
prices.  Increasingly, however, some firms have sought to handicap their
rivals' races by turning to government for protection.

Where antitrust authorities respond to these protectionist demands, the
workings of markets are short-circuited.  Antitrust protectionism means
that market decisions about how to compete for consumers' favor are
displaced by bureaucratic and political decisions.  More of the energies of
firms are directed to politics, less to production and innovation. 
Successful innovators are penalized, scale economies are lost, and
competition is thwarted, not enhanced.  Instead of preventing prices from
rising, antitrust protectionism keeps prices from falling.

Many of these cases are based on speculation about some vaguely specified
consumer harm in some unspecified future, and many of the proposed
interventions will weaken successful U.S. firms and impede their
competitiveness abroad.  The cost-benefit test for antitrust has not been
met.  We urge antitrust authorities to abandon antitrust protectionism and
refrain from such speculative enterprises when actual consumer harm cannot
be shown.

Donald L. Alexander      Western Michigan University
William R. Allen         University of California, Los Angeles
Lee J. Alston            University of Illinois
Ryan C. Amacher          University of Texas, Arlington
Gary M. Anderson         California State University, Northridge
William L. Anderson      North Grenville College
D. T. Armentano          University of Hartford
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Howard Baetjer, Jr.      George Mason University
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Ray Ball                 University of Rochester
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Ben W. Bolch             Rhodes College
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Donald J. Boudreaux      Foundation for Economic Education
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Andrzej Brzeski          University of California, Davis
Richard C. K. Burdekin   Claremont McKenna College
Henry N. Butler          University of Kansas
Colin D. Campbell        Dartmouth College
Noel D. Campbell         North Georgia College & State University
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Arthur M. Diamond, Jr.   University of Nebraska
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Michael Eames            Santa Clara University
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Timur Kuran              University of Southern California
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Deepak K. Lal            University of California, Los Angeles
Steven E. Landsburg      University of Rochester
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Robert A. Lawson         Capital University
Dwight R. Lee            University of Georgia
Gary D. Libecap          University of Arizona
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Stan J. Liebowitz        University of Texas, Dallas
Anthony K. Lima          California State University, Hayward
Jody Lipford             Presbyterian College
Dennis E. Logue          Dartmouth College
Edward J. Lopez          University of North Texas
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Hugh H. Macauley         Clemson University
Paul G. Mahoney          University of Virginia
Michael T. Maloney       Clemson University
Yuri N. Maltsev          Carthage College
Henry G. Manne           George Mason University
Stephen E. Margolis      North Carolina State University
Nelson Mark              Ohio State University
Michael L. Marlow        California State Polytechnic University 
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Thomas H. Mayor          University of Houston
Nolan McCarty            Columbia University
Fred S. McChesney        Cornell University
Deirdre N. McCloskey     University of Iowa
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Thomas Means             San Jose State University
Roger E. Meiners         University of Texas, Arlington
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Carlisle E. Moody        College of William & Mary
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Thomas Gale Moore        Hoover Institution
Andrew P. Morriss        Case Western Reserve University
Michael Valdez Moses     Duke University
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Judd W. Patton           Bellevue University
Mark J. Perry            University of Michigan
Mary Bennett Peterson    General Motors Corporation
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Alan Reynolds            Hudson Institute
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Paul Craig Roberts       Institute for Political Economy
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Roy J. Ruffin            University of Houston
Gerard G. Russo          University of Hawaii
Kevin D. Sachs           University of Cincinnati
Joseph T. Salerno        Pace University
Michael T. Saliba        Loyola University
David S. Saurman         San Jose State University
E. S. Savas              Baruch College, C.U.N.Y.
Thomas R. Saving         Texas A & M University
Lawrence J. Sechrest     Sul Ross State University
Stephen Sheppard         Oberlin College
Stephen Shmanske         California State University, Hayward
William F. Shughart II   University of Mississippi
Olga Shvetsova           Washington University
Barry N. Siegel          University of Oregon
Randy T. Simmons         Utah State University
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Gene Smiley              Marquette University
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Lee C. Spector           Ball State University
Frank G. Steindl         Oklahoma State University
Paul B. Stephan          University of Virginia
Houston H. Stokes        University of Illinois,Chicago
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Daniel Sutter            University of Oklahoma
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Charles Swanson          Temple University
Alexander T. Tabarrok    The Independent Institute
David J. Theroux         The Independent Institute
Clifford F. Thies        Shenandoah University
Henry Thompson           Auburn University
Richard H. Timberlake    University of Georgia
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Mark Toma                University of Kentucky
George W. Trivoli        Jacksonville State University
Gordon Tullock           University of Arizona
Charlotte Twight         Boise State University
Michelle A. Vachris      Christopher Newport College
Karen I. Vaughn          George Mason University
Richard K. Vedder        Ohio University
Harry C. Veryser         Walsh College
Richard E. Wagner        George Mason University
Deborah L. Walker        Loyola University
Stephen J. K. Walters    Loyola University
Alan Rufus Waters        California State University, Fresno
Thayer Watkins           San Jose State University
Robert O. Welk           Row Tek Economics
John T. Wenders          University of Idaho
Samuel C. Weston         University of Dallas
Harry White              Boise State University
Lawrence H. White        University of Georgia
Richard W. Wilcke        University of Louisville
Thomas D. Willett        Claremont Graduate University
Arlington W. Williams    Indiana University
Mary L. Williams         Widener University
Peter M. Williams        University of North Alabama
Walter E. Williams       George Mason University
Bruce Yandle             Clemson University
DeVon L. Yoho            Ball State University
Ben T. Yu                California State University, Northridge
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For further details, including information on the following books and other
publications, please contact the Independent Institute:

Winners, Losers & Microsoft: Competition and Antitrust in High Technology
              by Stan J. Liebowitz and Stephen E. Margolis,
foreword by Jack Hirshleifer
Antitrust and Monopoly: Anatomy of a Policy Failure
              by D. T. Armentano, foreword by Yale Brozen
The Causes and Consequences of Antitrust: The Public-Choice Perspective
              edited by Fred S. McChesney and William F. Shughart II
The Independent Institute
100 Swan Way, Oakland, CA 94621-1428
510-632-1366 * Fax 510-568-6040 *