The Chicago Syndicate

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Joint Statement by @TheJusticeDept and @FTC on Expedited Antitrust Procedure and Guidance for #Coronavirus Public Health Efforts

The U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today issued a joint statement detailing an expedited antitrust procedure and providing guidance for collaborations of businesses working to protect the health and safety of Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The expedited procedure notes, for example, that health care facilities may need to work together in providing resources and services to assist patients, consumers, and communities affected by the pandemic and its aftermath. Other businesses may need to temporarily combine production, distribution, or service networks to facilitate production and distribution of COVID-19-related supplies.

Under the expedited procedure for COVID-19 public health projects, the agencies will respond to all COVID-19-related requests, and resolve those addressing public health and safety, within seven calendar days of receiving all information necessary to vet these proposals. The statement sets out the instructions for businesses wishing to take advantage of this procedure.

The expedited COVID-19 procedure offers quicker review than existing FTC and Justice Department programs that are designed to provide guidance to businesses concerned about the legality of proposed conduct under the antitrust laws. The FTC’s “Staff Advisory Opinion” procedure and DOJ’s “Business Review Letter” procedure allow any firm, individual, or group of firms or individuals to submit a proposal to the agencies and to receive a statement advising whether the agencies would challenge the proposed activity under the antitrust laws.

“The Antitrust Division recognizes the importance of providing expeditious clarity on any antitrust obligations in this challenging time,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. “Our expedited Business Review Letter procedure will help facilitate businesses that want to work quickly to address the urgent public health and economic needs associated with COVID 19.”

“Under these extraordinary circumstances, we understand that businesses collaborating on public health initiatives may need an expedited response from U.S. antitrust authorities,” said FTC Chairman Joe Simons. “We are committed to doing everything we can to help with these efforts, while continuing to aggressively enforce the antitrust laws.”

The antitrust laws accommodate procompetitive collaborations among competitors. In their joint statement, the FTC and the Department of Justice listed several types of collaborative activities designed to improve the health and safety response to the pandemic that would likely be consistent with the antitrust laws.

At the same time, the agencies also stressed that they will not hesitate to hold accountable those who try to use the pandemic to engage in antitrust violations. In addition, the Department of Justice will criminally prosecute conduct such as price-fixing, bid-rigging, or market allocation.

The expedited procedure requires that an applicant provide the FTC or Justice Department a written description of the proposal, including the parties that would be involved in the effort or activity, and the name and contact information of a person from whom the agencies could obtain additional information. This expedited procedure is for use solely for coronavirus-related public health efforts and may be invoked at the option of the requestor, in lieu of the agencies’ standard procedures for handling requests for advice.

The agencies also committed to expedite requests under the National Cooperative Research and Production Act for flexible treatment of certain standard development organizations and joint ventures.

The statement also notes that the FTC and the Justice Department are addressing actions by individuals and businesses to take advantage of COVID-19 through other fraudulent and illegal schemes. Anyone with information or concerns about this sort of conduct, or other COVID-19-related complaints, should contact the FTC’s Consumer Response Center at 1-877-382-4357 or the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline (1-866-720-5721) or e-mail (disaster@leo.gov). More information on the FTC’s guidance on potential fraud, deceptive practices, and scams is available here, and to report a complaint go to www.ftc.gov/complaint.


Monday, March 23, 2020

Organized Crime: The Essentials

Organized Crime: The Essentials, provides students with an engaging introduction to the complex and pernicious world of organized crimeOrganized Crime.

Students learn key concepts and principles within the discipline and study real-world examples of organized criminal activity.

The text demonstrates how organized crime has adapted to changing times, become more sophisticated, and embedded itself into the fabric of economic, political, and social life in many nations around the world.


Friday, March 20, 2020

Unemployment to Skyrocket in the Coming Weeks Reports Study by @BallState #CoronaVirusUpdate

Extreme social distancing in the United States will create a recession as mass layoffs cause unemployment to exceed 10.5% nationally and 10% in Indiana within 45 days, says a new report from Ball State University.

Within 90 days, the economic downturn caused by governmental efforts to mitigate COVID-19 will cause unemployment to rise to 14.6% nationally and 14.5% Indiana.

The co-authors of “What Will the Next Three Months Look Like? Simulating the Impact of Social Distancing on GDP and Employment” by Ball State’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) says the picture could be worse.

“These are likely very conservative estimates, yet it argues that job losses in March, April, May, and June may be the four largest in U.S. history, topping the 1.9 million jobs lost in the weeks following V-J Day in September 1945,” said CBER director Michael Hicks. “This level of job losses does not consider the effect of school closures on labor supply by households. This study does not assess the impact of supply chain disruptions on manufacturing, nor does it include the extreme shock to household wealth caused by stock market declines.”

CBER’s analysis finds the effect of a 45-day social distancing will reduce GDP significantly—down .5 nationally and .4 in Indiana —and cause job losses of nearly 121,000 in Indiana, and 10.6 million nationally. After 90 days of social distancing, researchers anticipate 241,000 workers to be unemployed in Indiana, and 21 million unemployed nationally. GDP will fall .9 nationally and .7 in Indiana.

“Moreover, this estimate extends only 90 days and does not include much broader impacts of longer social distancing,” he said. “We urgently need state policies to speed resources to displaced workers, and we need policies such as workshare and relief from job search, job tenure, and earnings requirements.”

Hicks also pointed out that state and federal policies that encourage extensions to borrowing terms should be broadly encouraged.

“This should extend to both small businesses and households,” he said. “Federal policies that supplement income for all residents are required. Universal basic income payments, with a fixed duration, would provide economic stabilization while minimizing labor market supply effects.

“Beyond stabilization efforts, state and federal governments should prepare for longer duration impacts. Schools across much of the nation are unprepared for lengthy closures. Efforts to expand broadband connectivity and fund technological options for schools should be part of a broader stimulus bill.”


Thursday, March 19, 2020

Trailer Released for #FamiliesOfTheMafia - They're done with the Mafia, but now it's time to find out if the Mafia is done with them

“Families of the Mafia,” which is billed as a six-part series, is set to premiere Thursday, April 9, on MTV following “Jersey Shore Family Vacation.” The network describes the show as “the gripping realities of four mafia-tied families on Staten Island as they navigate a divide between parents attempting to guide their children to a better life, and their offspring who want to write their own stories. With one lifestyle and two generations, tensions run high as they decide whether to embrace their families’ legacy or break generational curses.”



Monday, March 16, 2020

The Mob Museum Temporarily Closes in #LasVegas as Coronavirus Precaution @TheMobMuseum

From The Mob Museum in Las Vegas:

Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our community, and it has become clear that all public institutions must take every possible precaution to reduce the coronavirus spread. With that in mind, The Museum is temporarily suspending all public operations until further notice.
Any changes and updates will be announced by email, on our website and through social media. For information on previously purchased tickets, facility rentals or group bookings, please reach out to our guest services team at 702.229.2734 or info@themobmuseum.org.

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