Anti-tech bills play into China’s hands
The House of Representatives is plunging ahead with a series of bills aimed at curbing the political class’ favorite bogeyman, the nation’s largest technology companies. While a bipartisan populist chorus alleges these companies are bad for America in a host of ways, there are those voices, even on the left, who say the populists are dead wrong.
Among them is the Progressive Policy Institute, which says the House’s anti-tech bills, if passed, will all but guarantee China becomes the world’s dominant tech player:
Unlike the backers of the anti-tech bills, the Chinese understand that competing on a global scale requires large-scale companies. In fact, about half the world’s largest tech companies are Chinese, including Huawei (with 197,000 employees, bigger than any U.S. tech company except Amazon), Alibaba (117,000), and Tencent (86,000).
With strong backing by the Chinese government, these companies all are — like America’s tech giants — making big capital investments in future growth. “If we don’t get moving, they are going to eat our lunch,” President Biden has warned, in making the case for his ambitious jobs and families bills.
Now is the time for Democrats to embrace economic patriotism — and optimism. By boosting public investment in science and applied research, encouraging private companies to boost their capital spending, and unleashing the inventive and entrepreneurial genius of a free people, the United States can out-innovate and out-compete an increasingly repressive China.
But the anti-tech bills released last week point in the opposite direction. They are a formula for losing to China.
It would be amusing to think those who believe China represents the biggest threat to the U.S. are playing into the Chinese Communist Party’s hands. Except that’s exactly what’s happening right now, in real time.