Why do we pay taxes for antitrust law enforcement?

Staples seems to be confident in its ability to buy Office Depot (CNN), thus creating a nationwide monopoly for office supply retail: “There’s about to be one game in town when it comes to office supplies.” Presumably the folks involved have researched the likely federal response and concluded that this attack on the consumer will be approved.

I guess that leads to two questions:

  1. why do we pay the salaries, benefits, and pensions of antitrust regulators if it is even conceivable for something like this to be approved?
  2. why do Americans bother studying classical “free market” economics if the real economy will be dominated by monopolies like “Staplot”?

Philip Greenspun’s Weblog

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