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Publication Date

Winter 1985


American Enterprise Institute




In December 1985, a comprehensive Reagan administration plan for both substantive and procedural reform of the antitrust laws was made public. Under the plan, the Justice Department's 1984 merger guidelines would be codified in the Clayton Act; restrictions on interlocking directorates would be relaxed; industries affected by imports could seek antitrust waivers as an alternative to tariffs or quotas; plaintiffs could be assessed attorneys' fees for filing frivolous antitrust suits; treble damages would be eliminated in many cases; and the full share of damages of settling defendants (instead of just the settlement amount) would be deducted from the damages available against the remaining defendants. While not as sweeping a reform as some administration officials would have liked-Commerce Secretary Malcolm Baldrige, for instance, has publicly called for outright repeal of the Clayton Act-the proposal is the most important to come along in many years. Congress i

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