By Phil Kerpen
President Trump has presided over a booming economy and stock market, and trillion-dollar tech companies are leading the way.
“For 144 days, we set a record stock market. It means 401Ks, it means jobs. Four trillion dollar companies: Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft,” President Trump recently explained. “You have MAGA. The trillion dollar club.”
These four companies account for about 16 percent of the total value of the S&P 500. Tack on $600 billion Facebook and the MAGA Five account for more than 18 percent of the index – nearly a fifth of the value of those popular funds in 401(k) accounts the president was referring to.
The two largest MAGA companies – Apple and Microsoft – are each at $1.4 trillion, larger than four entire sectors.
Since Trump was elected, the S&P 500 is up 58.0 percent – but the MAGA Five are up 141.9 percent while the other 495 companies are up only 44.5 percent, according to Strategas Research Partners
While the MAGA companies have powered the Trump boom, they have also come under increasingly withering attack from both ends of the political spectrum. With liberals like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders bashing them as too big and powerful in keeping with their anti-corporate philosophy and conservatives like Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz setting aside free-market ideology to call for government crackdowns to satisfy conservative base anger at these companies. State Attorneys General across the country also see these companies as attractive financial and political targets and have opened antitrust probes.
If these political headwinds result in actions that break up or hobble the MAGA companies, the consequences will be profoundly negative for millions of Americans whose retirements are heavily invested in them via popular index funds – whether they realize it or not.
President Trump’s new MAGA nickname for these companies should lower the volume on the attacks from the right.
But the companies also need to do their part to calm the backlash against them from the president’s conservative base, and it doesn’t help when Google does things like fund the hard-left Young Turks channel on YouTube without balancing that with investment in comparable center-right productions.
Facebook seems to understand this best, with a remarkable speech from CEO Mark Zuckerberg defending the value of free speech and standing against an onslaught of calls from the left to censor, block, or “fact check” into oblivion political speech and advertising.
The best possible show of good faith would be for the MAGA companies to drop their longstanding call for public utility regulation of Internet Service Providers – their far smaller potential competitors for advertising business and the providers of the essential physical infrastructure that makes their own core businesses possible. It’s hard to defend companies from big government attacks when those companies are themselves wielding big government as a weapon. A statement that they now recognize it was a mistake to call for government regulation and now support a level playing field approach to issues like net neutrality and privacy for themselves as well as the ISPs would go a long way toward calming skeptics on the right.
The left, on the other hand, is so infused with an anti-business, anti-capitalist impulse that it is unlikely anything these companies do will stop Democratic calls to break them up, shut them down, regulate or nationalize them in the service of silencing conservatives and restoring a mainstream media chokepoint on political news and advocacy.
That gives President Trump a great opportunity to present voters with a stark contrast this fall: vote for him and keep the MAGA companies strong, the stock market and economy booming, and your 401(k) accounts growing, or vote for Democrats intent on stifling America’s most successful companies.
Phil Kerpen is the president of American Commitment and the Committee to Unleash Prosperity.
Photo Credit: www.investmentzen.com
By Phil Kerpen