The next six months could witness one of the biggest consolidations of corporate power in the United States in almost a century, yet a variety of legal and economic factors may leave the federal government unable to stop it.
The essence of the problem is that during the extended economic crisis created by the coronavirus pandemic, many large companies — and especially their stock market values — have been growing rapidly while their small business competitors have faced something of an apocalypse. More than 400,000 small businesses have already closed and millions more are at risk.
Indeed, the death of these competitors may be part of why the stock market is up so much from its low point in March. Whether the sector is technology, home building, pharmaceuticals or telecommunications, investors seem thrilled with the prospect that big companies will eventually see an expansion of demand but not face as