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...
By Jon Decker
If you were surprised by the incompetence of Democratic Party leadership during last night's still-undecided Iowa caucus, wait until you hear what's coming next. This Thursday, House Democrats, on their own volition, have teed up a vote on one of the most politically toxic pieces of legislation in the country which – until now – was only a California problem. In an apparent fit of masochism, Democrats are taking their California AB5 debacle national and will likely force nearly every House Democrat to walk the plank.
The bill is H.R.2474, known as the PRO Act. The bill is basically a wish list of bad ideas from union bosses, but one especially noteworthy aspect is the legislation's debilitating new regulations on the gig economy. The PRO Act borrows language directly from a California state bill, known as AB 5, that undermines the freedom of workers (especially freelance writers and ride-share drivers) to choose their own hours by reclassifying them as employees rather than independent contractors. This poses an extreme threat to the gig economy, and some companies have already sued California over the new law.
It is the ultimate irony that Nancy Pelosi – who was elected to represent California's bay area – is putting legislation on the floor that would crush the business model of Uber, Lyft, Postmates, and surely more than a few other successful San Francisco-based companies. I can't recall the last time a member of Congress worked so hard to stomp out businesses in her own district.
In addition, the PRO Act would also be terrible for consumers. Users of ride-sharing apps can expect higher costs and fewer drivers on the road due to the decrease in freelance workers. This is especially interesting because Democrats have traditionally relied on young Americans as a critical support base – now they are pushing for national legislation to ban services used by more than half of young adults in urban locations. Young Americans love these products and services offered by freelancers – expect backlash once they are taken away.
It's not often you see politicians attacking industries in their district and attacking a critical support block, but that is exactly what Pelosi will do by bringing the PRO Act to the floor. Pelosi is now making even the most moderate members of her caucus take a stance on radical legislation that is bad politics and bad policy.
Perhaps rank and file Democrats should stop marching in lockstep behind self-described master legislator Nancy Pelosi.
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