Weekly Address: Ensuring a Fair and Competitive Marketplace
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Weekly Address: Ensuring a Fair and Competitive Marketplace

The President: Hi, everybody. If you’ve ever played a game
of basketball in a gym, or entered a contest in school,
or started a small business in your hometown, you know
that competition is a good thing. It pushes us to do our best. And you know that a fight is
fair only when everybody has a chance to win, when the
playing field is level for everybody, and the rules
are clear and consistent. That’s important to our
consumers, our workers, our employers, and our farmers. You deserve a fair shake,
even though there might be much bigger players
in the market. Without a truly competitive
marketplace, those big companies can raise costs,
or slack off on offering good service, or keep their
workers’ wages too low. And in an era when large
corporations often merge to form even larger ones, our
leaders have an even greater responsibility to look
out for us as consumers. To keep America’s economy
growing and America’s businesses thriving, we need
to protect the principle of fair competition. That’s not, by the way,
a Democratic idea or a Republican idea – it’s an
American idea, because it’s the best way to make sure
the best ideas rise to the top. My administration has done a
lot to keep the marketplace fair. We defended a free, open,
and accessible internet that doesn’t let service
providers pick winners and losers. We cracked down on conflicts
of interest by making sure professionals who give you
retirement advice do so in your best interest,
not in theirs. And in the last few months,
we’ve made even more progress. This week, my Department of
Agriculture took major steps to protect farmers from
unfair treatment by bigger processors. These rules will help swine,
beef cattle, and especially poultry growers who have
fewer choices in where they sell their products. This month, the FDA started
taking steps to make hearing aids more affordable for
more than the nearly 30 million Americans suffering
from the frustration of hearing loss. We think people with
moderate hearing loss should be able to buy a hearing aid
over the counter as easily as you can buy reading
glasses at your local pharmacy. This year we also addressed
two other problems that keep workers and wages down:
the overuse of non-compete agreements that hurt workers
in the job market, and the unfair practices of
companies that collude to set wages below
the market rate. And we backed new steps,
including a law I just signed to fight robot
scalpers that artificially drive up ticket prices,
and a rule that requires airlines to reimburse your
baggage fees if your bags don’t make it to your
destination when you do. Finally, it’s this principle
of competition that’s at the very heart of our
health reform. In fact, it’s the reason we
call it the Affordable Care Act; it makes insurance
companies compete for your business, which is helping
millions afford the care that helps them get
and stay healthy. By the way, it’s open
enrollment season right now. You can still sign up on
HealthCare.gov until January 31st and get
covered for 2017. Our free-market economy
only works when there’s competition. And competition only works
when rules are in place to keep it fair and
open and honest. Whether you’re building the
next big thing or just want to be treated right as a
customer, that’s good for you and good
for the country. Thanks everybody, and
have a great weekend.

About Ralph Robinson

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