Tech Issue Voting
Four years ago we wrote, “President-elect Barack Obama could do a great deal of good when it comes to emphasizing the important role that technological advances play in our economy.” He had an opportunity to do so in the election, as did Mitt Romney, but neither did so. Nor did these issues gain prominence in any House or Senate race. Yet these industries continue to generate jobs, drive investment and provide incredible products.
Shouldn’t whether the government dictates how Internet networks are managed be a key issue? Or whether we prefer fair treatment of the Internet ecosystem or whether it should be discriminated against? These “tech” issues are modern versions of critical policy issues.
Do we believe that state governments should have unlimited power in a digital age? Sponsors of the deceptively named Marketplace Fairness Act are pushing to have the bill attached to any legislation that might move in the lame duck session. While the legislation would radically bias taxes against the Internet, remove the limit on the power of state governments to tax those outside their borders, and overturn Supreme Court precedent, they are attempting to sneak it through Congress.
Do we believe that we should attract the best and brightest people to the U.S.? Hopefully a sensible immigration policy is coming—one that provides permanent residence to foreign-born entrepreneurs if they meet certain conditions like creating jobs in the U.S., and a new visa for those who have STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) degrees, allowing these students to stay in the United States and petition for a green card. Securing the best and brightest from around the globe to plant their ideas and grow their dreams here returns dividends to every current U.S. citizen.
Do we believe that government should deploy assets to our best benefit? We can’t wait until 2014 for more spectrum only via the first spectrum auctions. With wireless usage growing faster than anyone would have foretold even a few years ago, we must continue to pursue the notion that Chairman Genachowski laid out previously, of taking an “all of the above” approach to get more spectrum into the marketplace including active encouragement of a vibrant secondary market.
Taxes, immigration, and a secure future for communications are just a few examples. Let’s start to make “tech” issues front and center of our national policy debates.