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What the AT&T-Time Warner Merger Decision Means for U.S. Regulation

President Donald Trump’s moves to streamline federal regulation and unleash infrastructure have in some ways been unprecedented.
But some developments could undermine or swamp the progress made on economic liberalization.
There is the Republicans’ stratospheric spending bill; there are trade restrictions such as those on steel and aluminum and tariffs on Chinese imports when there are targeted approaches and reasonable steps to address to “disproportionate challenges” (such as these noted by the Consumer Technology Association); there is a renewed Department of Justice push to undermine encryption that will likely backfire.
There is also the prospect of massive interference with large scale business transactions. Large-scale mergers always get a lot of attention from antitrust regulators. That’s plural: it’s the Justice Department, it’s the Federal Trade Commission and also the Federal Communications Commission that potentially weigh in.
In particular, the Trump administration’s antitrust challenge of AT&T’s merger with Time Warner—the act of challenging it alone, regardless of outcome—strikes a discordant note amid executive actions to foster expansion physical and communications

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