March 1, 2006 1:12 PM PST

Republicans tout high-tech agenda

WASHINGTON--Republican leaders from the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday promoted a series of policy proposals they hope will keep the nation's already-flourishing tech industry dominant in the future.

"Competitiveness" was the buzzword at a press conference in the basement of the U.S. Capitol, where House Speaker Dennis Hastert and 10 House leaders from the Republican High-Tech Working Group talked up a wide-ranging agenda tied closely to goals outlined by President Bush in his State of the Union speech last month.

"In short, America needs an education system that produces the finest students in the world, who enter an economy that is not hampered by regulatory red tape, frivolous lawsuits and an anticompetitive tax structure," Hastert said.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia and Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas said they planned to introduce later on Wednesday a broad legislative package called the Innovation and Competitiveness Act, which includes several components that enjoy support from tech players.

A copy of that bill was not readily available. A summary sheet suggested the measure would aim at promoting research and development, increasing investment in math and science education, and eliminating "cumbersome regulations" and "stifling taxation" for technology companies. It would also include a section aimed at cutting back on so-called frivolous lawsuits of all sorts and proposals designed to create incentives for digitizing the health care system.

Leaders at the press conference repeatedly thanked the technology industry for its massive contributions to the economy--45 percent of the nation's gross domestic product, by one congressman's estimate--and painted the new legislative steps as a top priority.

The Republicans' take on policy overlaps in some ways with the "innovation agenda" announced by House Democrats, but, as usual, an ideological split remains. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that her party was committed to working with Republicans but belittled their proposal, saying Democrats "are committed to doing much more."

"It proposes nothing to bridge the digital divide through access to broadband," Pelosi said in a statement distributed to reporters at the Republicans' press conference. "It fails to propose any new ideas to achieve American energy independence." The Democrats' agenda, among other things, calls for incentives intended to bring broadband to all Americans and for increased investment in alternative energy sources.

At the time the Democrats' agenda was released, Hastert issued a statement accusing Democrats of voting against legislation considered important to tech interests.

Tech industry representatives have commended the efforts from both sides and indicated they don't care which party takes the lead, as long as someone is listening and poised to set industry priorities into law.

"Our message to the president and Congress is simple--let's work together to get a program done this year," said Ralph Hellman, president of the Information Technology Industry Council, whose members include Apple Computer, Cisco Systems, Dell, eBay, IBM, Intel and Microsoft.

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11 comments

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We're Screwed
Great

The wonderful anti-midas touch the Republicans have will be used to gut the tech industry.

Kinda like "Clear Skies" while they increase the amount of pollution companies are able to put into the air...

They really need to leave the tech industry alone, they "helped" the cable industries and we now pay higher prices.

Maybe Neal Bush should actually learn about microprocessors before getting a fat check for advising the communist chinese, maybe "w" should start to use email.

Anything from the republicans rings hollow. They don't care whether we make potato chips or microchips.

If they want to make us competitive, how about cutting the $500B a year we spend to service the debt that all the "Conservative" republicans have racked up since Bonzo's Buddy was in office...
Posted by ThePenguin (30 comments )
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Sunk, without a trace
When you create legislation, you are creating stone to hang around your neck.

At this rate, they are taking us back to the dark ages, prior to the arrival of the cheap printing press, to when one organisation had total and absolute control, on all advancement and learning, and for every decade in control, for every step forward, they were taking back 3 through being zealots to the cause, and alas it took the vast devestation and depopulation via a plague, and the desire to learn, to free us from those shackles!

Oh well, looks like the GOP, seek to take us back to the dark ages, and to allow ignorance to previal!

Alas, they seek to sink us without trace, in the morass of their self creation!
Posted by heystoopid (691 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The better to spy on us with
The RFID citizen identity chip will be required to board an airliner.
Not only will it report back its GPS location, it will send audio. Text
analysis software will track suspect lines of thinking, and evidence
will accrue until each case becomes airtight, at which point
provisions of the Patriot Act will require the individual's
apprehension and incarceration.

I feel a lot safer already.
Posted by JackfromBerkeley (136 comments )
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How does this help?
Is the problem really regulatory red tape, frivolous lawsuits, and an anticompetitive tax structure?

Each year, fewer Americans enroll in IT programs, and fewer Americans begin IT careers. The public, including school advisors and career counselors, are aware that IT salaries have been scaled back and offshore outsourcing continues to increase.

How exactly does this political agenda keep the nation's tech industry dominant, when Americans are losing interest in IT?
Posted by just_some_guy (231 comments )
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Great!
More tax cuts for the 99.99th percentile. Their incomes only
grew a measly 497% since 1975. Lot's of wiggle room there.

More H1-B Visas for cheap foreign labor -making sure the rest
of us see our 1% wage increases per year since 1972 stay that
way, or as has been the case since 2001 continue to decline at
more than 1% per year.

This administration, congress, and it's cronies are corrupt to the
core. They don't care about American workers. All they care
about is their flow of campaign contributions (aka bribes) and
their post-congress lobbying careers.
Posted by Mystigo (183 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yes, great!
Complaining about your 1% wage increase is not the path to
"99.99th percentile". How do you think people who are wealthy got
that way? They work hard. They innovate. They learn from their
mistakes and, if necessary, they reinvent themselves. They do not
waste time complaining. Get rid of your cynicism put all that
emotional energy towards something constructive.
Posted by Mac User Too (172 comments )
Link Flag
The fundamental problem with IT in this country
It's problem that's rarely aired but I believe it's the key to the dilemma facing the industry: No one wants to go into field because, under the American culture, male IT workers have zero sex appeal. At the end of the day it's all about sex. The primitive urge to procreate is a powerful force. Alpha males in a society will always choose a situation that promises more sexual episodes than one that provides mere material comforts. And as females instinctively prefer alpha males, they too will stay away, as ideal mates are hard to find in the envirnoment. We thus have ourselves a negative feedback loop repelling the ambitious, the enterprising.
Posted by Chung Leong (111 comments )
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OK, let me get this straight...
The "new agenda", to encourage "competition" is actually designed to...

...Let Big-Business do, pretty much, what ever they want...

...Reduce the taxes of the richest companies in America...

...All the while, paying LIP-SERVICE to helping "children" prepare to enter an industry, and an economy, that is literally being destroyed by exactly these very types of Government-policies...

And, at the same time, American-citizens are actually...

...being set-up to begin paying all sorts of new "internet", and "media", use-taxes.

...being told that all future digital-devices, must, allow complete corporate-control of their uses...

...being forced, by law, to give up virtually all "Fair Use" ownership-rights...

...being told that a "Multi-Tiered Internet", based solely upon being able to afford ever increasing fees, is whats best for the computer-industry in general, and consumers, quite specifically.

...not to mention, U.S. citizens being expected to utterly surrender virtually all "privacy", in this new "Digital Age", to protect the Governmental-power, and the all important business-interests, that America actually stands for.


Of course, maybe Im just wrong about all these policies. After all, if I were right, and these types of policies were so unwise, and had already been applied to many other industries and social-institutions, then logically...

...Inflation would be at its highest levels in years...

...Gas-prices would be at their highest levels in history, while at the same time, gas-company profits would be at an all time high...

...We would have the largest deficit in American-history...

...Numerous multi-billion dollar companies would clearly be headed towards economic-failure...

...There would be massive, unchecked, anti-competitive acquisitions and destructive-consolidations of businesses and media-interests all across America...

...America would repeatedly find itself to be in the strangle-hold of one, nearly all-powerful, software-monopoly...

...Unemployment would be climbing...

...We Americans would be paying the highest prices for healthcare, in the world...

...Americans would be under constant video, and communications, surveillance without "due-process"...

...The Government would consider such silly things as unsubstantiated-claims of music, and movie, "piracy" to be a national-priority...

...The U.S. Constitution would pretty-much have to be effectively suspended...

...America would be seen, throughout the rest of world, as an example of "capitalism", and political-corruption, run AMOK...

...Our federal-politicians would be richer than at any other time in history...

...In fact, the "rich" in America would be richer than ever before... and the vast majority of Americans would be facing an ever decreasing standard-of-living...

And of course, Government and Big-Business interests, alike, would be furiously pumping-out propaganda, and misdirection, in a frantic attempt to keep the American-People in the dark for as long as possible...

OOPS...
Posted by Had_to_be_said (384 comments )
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