Nothing exemplifies America’s tech industry dominance in the global economy more than the meteoric rise of what is now being called the ‘Magnificent Seven’ stocks — Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, Microsoft, Nvidia and Tesla. These companies single-handedly account for nearly all the gains in the stock market this year. They — which is to say we, as American shareholders who own them — have a net worth of nearly $10 trillion.
Think about it. None of these gazelles are Japanese, German or Chinese. All seven are American companies. They are globally dominant. They are innovators nearly unrivaled in human history. Amazingly, you would think their best years are behind them, like an aging baseball player. No. They are getting stronger, not weaker.
As a consequence, they are keeping the 401(k) and retirement plans owned by more than 100 million Americans in the green.
These are the General Motors, Standard Oil, J.P. Morgan and U.S. Steel of the 21st century.
Yet, here’s the mystery. In Washington and among the political class, instead of being lionized for their amazing products, they are like Rodney Dangerfield: they get no respect. Worse, Democrats, Republicans and federal regulators have their carving knives out for them.
Apparently, making a profit, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and adding trillions of dollars of consumer welfare are now nefarious pursuits in America where, to paraphrase Calvin Coolidge, the business of America is supposed to be business. Or, to put it in more modern terms, as Jerry Maguire would say, ‘Show me the money!’ These powerhouses have certainly done that.
Many Democrats want to break up Big Tech companies because they are too dominant. They don’t seem to understand that it’s far preferable to be dominant than inferior. There is also a teeny-weeny problem with the accusation that these firms engage in monopolistic behavior. Every one of them has substantially lowered prices for consumers — in cellphones, in social media interactions, in the cost of products delivered right to your door, laptop computers and artificial intelligence. Or how about gaining instant access to almost any information you want? Google puts virtually the entire Library of Congress at your fingertips — and astonishingly for free. The villains!
Even more absurd is the claim that the multitrillion-dollar size and influence of these companies is squeezing out the smaller entrepreneurial companies that dare compete with them. That happens sometimes. But the bigger impact of these behemoths is to breathe life into literally thousands of startups that attract capital based on the dream that five years from now, they will be acquired at 20 times their current value by, say, Microsoft or Meta.
Then there are those on the Right who want to tether the Magnificent Seven because they don’t like their leftist politics or the suppression of conservative voices on their platforms. I share their concerns, but it’s a free country, and they own the products and megaphones. There are plenty of alternatives if you don’t like their public policy positions.
Congress is intent on killing the Google — er, the goose — that lays the golden eggs. Apparently, they’d rather have us all be poorer and buy our cellphones and search engines and robots from China or India.
One of the ironies of calling America’s tech giants the Magnificent Seven is that in the 1960 movie of that title, five of the seven are killed in the last scene.
In this age of Mach 5-speed innovation, that could eventually happen to Google and Apple — and sooner than you think. It’s not easy to remain the king of the hill. These companies have stayed erect by constantly innovating and giving customers more for less. But when they get knocked down to Earth, let’s hope it’s because of the forces of free market competition, not government regulators trying to fix something that surely ain’t broke.
Here’s the final irony of this war against the Magnificent Seven. If the politicians do succeed in driving these epic American companies to their knees, there will be a hullabaloo about how America is losing its tech dominance. Then the knuckleheads in Washington will start passing out billion-dollar taxpayer subsidies to the very companies they now set out to impede and destroy.