The Lost Economy

New Report Raises Concerns Over Congressional Action toAlter Antitrust Laws and Limit Self-Preferencing

May 16, 2022

Today, the American Consumer Institute (ACI) released a policy brief highlighting the potential impact the American Innovation andChoice Online Act (AICOA) would have on big tech.

This brief comes in response to the growing prominence of techlash in America and Congress’ consideration of bills that seek to banand/or limit self-preferencing for select categories of companies. While all targeted platforms would be impacted, the reportspecifically focuses on Amazon, as the proposed legislation would target the underlying mechanism through which Amazon providesmany of its consumer benefits.

The goal of the brief is to send a clear warning to lawmakers about the potential consequences of their decisions.

By attempting to ban self-preferencing, a common practice across most industries, policymakers disregard economic theory, empirical evidence, and commonsense. Through self-preferencing Amazon has been able to expand services, guarantee fast delivery, and save its consumers an average of $646 per annual membership. This policy brief speaks directly to how the AICOA, if passed, would undermine the mechanism through which Amazon provides many of these benefits and how consumers would be impacted.

You can read the report here.

American Consumer Institute Report Warns Against Reforming the Tech Landscape

February 4, 2022

Washington D.C., February 4, 2022 — Today, the American Consumer Institute (ACI) released the first report in a series that explores the policy implications of lawmakers embracing techlash and reforming America’s antitrust laws in a way that alters how big tech firms operate. The report, coauthored by Krisztina Pusok and Edward Longe, outlines the substantial economic contributions of companies across different tech sectors to the U.S. economy, as well as tech’s role in mitigating the pandemic’s economic effects, and allowing people to continue working, learning, and socializing.

The report’s findings show:

  • A combined direct and indirect economic benefit of over $7 trillion across U.S. tech sectors like hardware and software manufacturing, broadband, e-tail services, and social media; 
  • Current antitrust legislation arbitrarily targets five U.S. tech companies that have a global impact of 12 million in direct and indirect jobs; and
  • In terms of direct and indirect benefits, the five targeted tech companies contribute so much to the size of the global economy that it would represent the equivalent of 16% of U.S. Gross Domestic Product.

Future reports will focus on examining how consumers will be impacted by specific antitrust reform proposals that seek to ban self-preferencing, limit mergers and acquisitions, and break up companies. Specifically, future analyses will explore whether the proposed legislative actions benefit or harm consumers? How much would the consumers benefit or lose, and what are the other non-monetary implications?

You can read ACI’s report online.  

For more information about the Institute, visit www.TheAmericanConsumer.Org or follow us on Twitter @ConsumerPal.


New Study: Predictive Scheduling or Inflexible Scheduling?

October 15, 2019

Inflexible Scheduling: How Employees, Employers, and Consumers Are Hurt by Predictive Scheduling Laws

A growing number of states and localities – including Philadelphia, New York City, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago and the state of Oregon – are adopting scheduling mandates that require employers to provide their employees with advance notice of their work schedules (two weeks is common) and be subject to fines if they change employee schedules within certain timeframes. These so-called predictive scheduling mandates are spreading quickly, but policymakers should carefully consider their unintended consequences.

Advocates argue that tighter scheduling mandates are needed to deter last minute scheduling changes that can be costly and disruptive to workers. However, these laws severely limit an employer’s flexibility to accommodate employee requests for time off, inhibit offers of additional hours for employees who want to pick up extra shifts, and can significantly increase the cost of doing business, especially for small firms.

While many businesses across the U.S. use flexible scheduling to attract and retain employees, as well as to accommodate changing market conditions, predictive scheduling mandates impose an overly restrictive, one-size-fits-all model that would take away the flexibility that workers want and restrict their opportunities to work. Such mandates harm employers and employees of every type and size, raising employment costs, reducing economic output, and deterring job creation.

You can download the study online.

Don’t Stifle Consumer Broadband Benefits

April 16, 2018

Modernization of American infrastructure – which will yield great innovation and economic growth – is dependent upon deregulation. Coming off the Obama administration’s infamous overregulation agenda, the current administration has made it its mission to reverse course. From the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation, there is a concerted effort to break down regulatory roadblocks that hindered U.S. infrastructure capabilities.

The most recent example of this anti-regulatory, pro-growth agenda is the Federal Communications Commission’s new plan designed to incentivize the transition to next-generation networks known as “5G” in states across the country. Specifically, the proposal seeks to modernize the permitting process for new wireless infrastructure. This is good news for consumers. A streamlined process will allow wireless companies to more efficiently deploy new technologies that will not only enhance existing 4G wireless networks, but also lay the foundation for 5G and the many benefits it will bring to more cities and towns.

Driverless cars, apps that monitor every aspect of our health, immersive virtual reality platforms, smart homes—all of these will be possible with 5G. This is because this new network will use “small cell technology” that will be attached to posts, streetlights and the like. These tiny yet powerful sensors will be able to relay data signals and communication at near-instantaneous speeds, and drastically cut latency (buffer time of content).

Unfortunately, many states’ current regulatory schemes are making it increasingly difficult to deploy small cells in a timely, cost-effective manner. Lengthy delays, costly assessment fees, distance restrictions, aesthetic requirements, discriminatory zoning policies, and a host of other rules contribute to high costs that discourage investment. These unnecessary barriers are preventing some states from benefiting from the latest technological advancements.

A recent study conducted by the American Consumer Institute Center for Citizen Research demonstrates that investing in 5G in Missouri, for example, would provide significant economic benefits, including a $9.8 billion increase in gross state product over a 7-year period and the creation of 8,800 jobs annually.

Importantly, these figures only reflect the benefits from the investment needed to build and deploy 5G service in Missouri. They do not include the ongoing benefits Missourians would enjoy once the network becomes operational, including more than $22.5 billion in additional consumer welfare benefits.  You can see similar state-by-state data at the Lost Economy.

More than a dozen states have already taken steps to streamline their regulatory processes and reduce barriers to 5G technology, and many more are considering similar legislation. This is the result of lawmakers around the U.S. realizing that jurisdictions with a favorable regulatory structure are likely to be the first targets for investment and, in turn, will be the first to see significant economic and consumer benefits from 5G technology.

The Missouri Legislature is currently considering legislation (Senate Bill 837) to address these problems by harmonizing regulations across the state.  If Missouri does not act soon, the other twenty states that have enacted similar legislation will.  That will put the state in last place for wireless broadband deployment, and it will have significant repercussions on Missourians who demand these wireless broadband services.

Missouri’s current laws hamstring service providers seeking to deploy 5G technology in a timely and cost-effective way. Left as they are, these policies will hurt Missourians by delaying technological upgrades that would stimulate Missouri’s economy, create thousands of jobs, and offer substantial consumer benefits. As such, statewide legislation to remove regulatory obstacles and promote small cell microsites is urgent.

Lawmakers in Jefferson City should ensure their constituents remain connected and competitive in our modern economy. That is why they should act now, and open to the doors to Missouri’s promising technology future.


Liam Sigaud writes for the American Consumer Institute at

Future of Wireless Technology Lies in Speedy, Reliable 5G Networks

April 6, 2018

The future of Hawaii depends on 5G wireless broadband. This next-generation of wireless networks will be super-fast and have remarkably low latency, propelling the state into a world of new possibilities: automated transportation, advanced agriculture and healthcare, and much more. But, to experience the benefits of 5G, lawmakers in Honolulu must do their part and pass legislation (like Senate Bill 2704) that will make it easier for wireless companies to deploy new technologies that can deliver better wireless coverage.

On a national level, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is working to better position the U.S. to win the global race to 5G. Just last week, the FCC voted to approve an order to streamline rules pertaining to the deployment of new wireless infrastructure – but federal action is not enough. States across the country are reexamining their laws and making updates where needed to attract the significant economic and social benefits 5G technology will bring. If Hawaii fails to modernize its laws – the state stands to miss out on a huge opportunity.

Research confirms this. With 5G deployment, Hawaii could see an additional $1.25 billion in investments, along with more than 1,800 new jobs each year. That’s not all; it is estimated that Hawaii could see $5.7 billion in consumer benefits.

5G will also create a noticeably different user experience. With speeds at least 10-times faster than what we have today and near instantaneous responsiveness, 5G will open the doors to better and more revolutionary services and capabilities. For example, a patient in Hawaii needing specialized surgery could receive real-time care from a doctor in Chicago – without leaving the island. Visitors can stay better connected with loved ones and colleagues – even monitor the security of their home – all from the palm of their hand on one our luxurious beaches.

To deliver these benefits new infrastructure, in the form of small cells, is needed support next-generation networks. This new technology, which is discrete by design, packs a powerful punch by adding critical capacity to existing networks, while laying the foundation for 5G. That means wireless customers will start seeing benefits now and into the future.

Unfortunately, deploying small cell technology in a timely and efficient manner here in Hawaii is practically nonexistent. Cumbersome and costly rules prevent widespread deployment and signal to wireless companies that their innovations and investment are not welcome here. This is why the Legislature should advance Senate Bill 2704. Passing Senate Bill 2704 will make the state’s policy environment more conducive to new wireless investment and an improved quality of life.

Soon, the world will be running on 5G, but Hawaii’s wireless future isn’t so certain. To keep pace, policy changes must be enacted this year.

Published in the Honolulu Star Advertiser.

The Peach State is Prime for Next Generation Broadband

April 2, 2018

Georgia leads the United States on multiple fronts. It is the number one producer of peaches, peanuts and pecans domestically, and is home to the Georgia Bulldogs.

Yet, Georgia has the opportunity to lead in another area that is transforming the way we live our lives in today’s world: mobile technology.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced a new plan aimed at promoting the buildout of next-generation wireless networks from Georgia to the coasts of California as part of a push to win the global race to 5G.

The potential of 5G – the next-generation of wireless broadband – will unlock a world that thought unimaginable just a few years ago. Such technologies as driverless cars, connected devices for health applications, and smart city applications present great benefits. Not to mention, 5G is expected to bring faster wireless speeds and lower latency for a near instantaneous experience.

Putting aside the technological advancements, 5G will also be a boom to Georgia’s economy. A recent report projects investment in 5G – including laying the foundation with modern wireless infrastructure – will increase Georgia’s gross domestic product by nearly $18 billion over a 7-year period, as well as create over 16,000 jobs annually.

In addition, investments of nearly $9 billion are expected from the private sector, leading to modernization across Georgia that will make it the envy of the U.S.

So how will Georgia grab hold of this opportunity and ensure residents start seeing the historic benefits of 5G quickly? The answer is commonsense regulations that lay out the welcome mat for the needed infrastructure for 5G. You see, 5G will require upgrades for a new infrastructure model dependent on hundreds of thousands of “small cells.” Much smaller than traditional cell towers, these small cells will be installed on local city infrastructure such as traffic lights and poles to ensure data are relayed seamlessly and efficiently.

Let’s say a water pipe bursts under a busy roadway in Atlanta. With a dense small cell network and smart city capabilities powered by 5G, city officials would be alerted immediately, providing the opportunity to jump into action and resolve quickly vs. finding out later when more damage is done.

Georgia’s opportunity to become a technology leader rests on embracing 5G, and that is why state lawmakers should approve legislation that streamlines infrastructure which permits and expedites buildout. Senate Bill 426, which is pending Committee approval, would encourage these necessary steps and bring Georgia in line with other states that have updated their own laws to more efficiently deploy new wireless technologies.

Today’s world is morphing at lightning pace as new technologies and projects come online. Most of them will require the next level speeds and latency of 5G wireless to ensure success and economic impact. Georgians deserve the best technology out there, and they deserve a shot at being in the driver seat of this new wave of innovation. The onus is on state lawmakers to ensure they get it.

Dr. Joseph P. Fuhr, Jr. is a Senior Fellow for The American Consumer Institute and professor emeritus of economics at Widener University. For more information about the Institute, visit

Forbes: 5G Investment Will increase Jobs and Benefit Consumers, Without Costing Taxpayers A Dime

March 16, 2018

Investment in America has finally moved to the forefront of the conversation in Washington, D.C., with the potential of hundreds of pages of legislation and over a trillion dollars from Congress to support laying the groundwork for the next century. The boost in spending will boost consumer benefits and create jobs, but it will also mean that taxpayers will need to fund it.

Read the full article here.

ACI: 5G Mobile Wireless Will Soon Arrive in Our Neighborhoods

March 16, 2018

Verizon plans a commercial 5G rollout in the second half of 2018 and AT&T plans for 5G in a dozen cities by late 2018.  Sprint is aiming at wide-scale 5G deployment in late 2019, and T-Mobile expects to have 5G country-wide in 2020.

Read the full article here.

Lincoln Journal Star: Nebraska must catch up to enjoy 5G

March 16, 2018

The next generation of wireless broadband services, a potentially gigabit speed service called 5G, promises not only to increase the speed of video and data downloads, but also to unlock new possibilities in agriculture, banking, transportation, medicine and countless other areas of life.

Forbes: Listen Up States — Don’t Stifle Consumer Broadband Wireless Services

March 8, 2018

For the benefit of consumers and the local economy, municipalities should not Impede the timely deployment of small cells for the next generation of broadband services.

Read the full article here.