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Lina Khan Has Mastered Newspeak

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal:


Attempting to defend her agency’s ban on noncompete clauses, FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan proclaims that “robbing people of their economic liberty also robs them of all sorts of other freedoms” (“FTC Bans Noncompete Clauses That Restrict Job Switching,” April 23). Ms. Khan has mastered Newspeak. Noncompete clauses are contractual terms negotiated between employers and employees. Employers who offer noncompete clauses no more ‘rob’ employees who agree to these clauses of their economic liberties than do employees who offer, or agree to, these clauses rob employers who agree to these clauses of their liberties. As is true of all contracts, each party gives a concession to the other and receives in return a benefit that each believes to be worth the bargain.

Ms. Khan nevertheless is correct that robbing people of their economic liberties is a grievous offense. But in this case the chief bandit is none other than Ms. Khan, for it is she who is robbing employers and employees of the liberty to structure their economic affairs as they see fit.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030