The cleanout continues

There was a key departure from the FTC last week, with former Obama-era antitrust official and University of California-Berkeley economist Carl Shapiro walking away:

“The lead economics expert in the Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust suit against Facebook has parted ways with the agency, two individuals familiar with the case said — adding yet another impediment to the regulator’s largest court fight.

The FTC is now looking for a new expert, just three weeks before the agency must decide whether to file the new version of the Facebook lawsuit after a D.C.-based judge threw it out last month.” … Shapiro has been critical of [FTC Chair] Khan’s approach to antitrust, particularly her view that enforcers focus too heavily on a so-called consumer welfare standard that emphasizes price as the main sign of a lack of competition.”

As I’ve said before, Khan — an unelected political appointee — wants to rewrite the law to one where proving consumer harm is no longer a requirement of antitrust, opening it up to be used as a cudgel to beat down any company not in favour with the administration.