According to Rep. Mike Gallagher in a recent opinion piece, TikTok “is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.” Where it becomes a tad ironic is that in the same sentence in which he offers an evidence-free assertion about TikTok’s management, Gallagher shows why he has no evidence. Indeed, he follows his slur with the observation that TikTok “is close to becoming the dominant media company in the U.S.”
It’s almost a waste of words to point out that in attempting to cast aspersions on TikTok, Gallagher contradicted himself. Time was that Republicans were rightly clear that government-run anything is always and everywhere an awful experience, but apparently that doesn’t apply to the Chinese government. Can the CCP take over the Post Office?
All of which requires a correction of Gallagher. The U.S. economy is easily the most dynamic in the world. That it’s so competitive is the surest sign that TikTok is many things, none of them government run. But assuming it’s ever controlled by the CCP as Gallagher imagines now, we can all rest assured that TikTok’s days as a force in U.S. media will quickly come to an end.
Unfortunately, Gallagher’s expressed contradictions didn’t stop with TikTok. Explicit in Gallagher’s routine mention of “Chinese Communist Party” is an effort to sear into the minds of his flock that China is a “communist country.” The latter would surely amuse Blackstone co-founder Stephen Schwarzman, an actual capitalist whose firm has many billions invested in China. Notable here is that Schwarzman’s mantra for his employees at Blackstone is “Don’t. Lose. Money” which, if China were communist, would mean that Blackstone has chosen to lose billions in China. Except that it hasn’t, and it hasn’t because while the Chinese Communist Party is China’s governing body, it’s no longer communist. In Schwarzman’s words, China “is now a market economy overseen by the Communist Party.”
Which really is a statement of the obvious. If China were a communist country in the way that Gallagher suggests, then it wouldn’t just be true that Blackstone would have no capital invested there. Neither would Wall Street more broadly. Yet as Gallagher contends in an opinion piece most notable for its contradictory nature, “Wall Street is funneling U.S. capital into Chinese companies on at least six different U.S. government blacklists.” And oh yes, time was when Republicans trusted profit-motivated capital allocators over government on the matter of investment.
And for those who trust politicians more than Wall Street, consider McDonald’s, Nike, and Starbucks. Those are three rather prominent symbols of U.S. capitalism, no? This is important simply because any visitor to China sees all three everywhere he or she looks. Whom do you trust more about the profit-motivated direction of China? Rep. Gallagher, or these three great American companies?
The answer to the above should be pretty obvious, after which shouldn’t we Americans be more than a little bit ashamed by the actions of Gallagher et al? For the longest time we yearned for China to shed the tragedy of actual communism during which tens of millions of human beings were murdered or starved. Thankfully China has done just that, TikTok is visual evidence of this brilliant truth, only for American politicians trample on the progress? It’s a reminder that in attacking TikTok, Gallagher shrinks the United States.
Worse, Gallagher imperils the U.S. with his attacks. Capitalism doesn’t just lift us, it also makes war incredibly expensive. Put another way, Gallagher seeks to impoverish a country he claims is “the greatest geopolitical threat to the U.S.” Which means Gallagher is imperiling the U.S. while he shrinks it.