Clinton And McCain On Globalization, Technology - InformationWeek

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IT Leadership // IT Strategy
04:22 PM

Clinton And McCain On Globalization, Technology

The morning after the Iowa caucus results, I shared with you what Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama are saying about technology and globalization. The focus has shifted over to Hillary Clinton and John McCain after the results in New Hampshire's primary. Here's what those presidential candidates have to say about those topics.

The morning after the Iowa caucus results, I shared with you what Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama are saying about technology and globalization. The focus has shifted over to Hillary Clinton and John McCain after the results in New Hampshire's primary. Here's what those presidential candidates have to say about those topics.Clinton, like Obama and Huckabee, has publicly said she supports raising the United States' cap on H-1B visas. Her reasoning mimics the others: that foreign talent has greatly enhanced technology innovation. I couldn't see any reference to that on her Web site, however.

She does focus strongly on the overall topic of innovation, though, and how the U.S. is falling behind in this area. Her solutions include increased funding in research and development and getting more kids graduating with technology and science degrees. Specifically:

She's calling for increasing the research budgets 50% over 10 years at the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy's Office of Science, and the Defense Department. That includes ensuring that "e-science" (research that includes Internet-based tools, global collaboration, supercomputers, high-speed networks, and simulation/visualization software) is adequately funded. She's also a booster of nanotechnology, calling it a "potentially unique competitive advantage for the United States."

She also supports initiatives to bring more women and minorities into math, science, and engineering professions. From her Web site:

"Hillary Clinton proposes that the federal agencies adopt criteria that take diversity into account when awarding education and research grants. She also proposes that the federal government provide financial support to college and university programs that encourage women and minorities to study math, science, and engineering."

Clinton also laments the U.S.'s comparably poor deployment of broadband.

"Under the Bush administration, the country that invented the Internet has slipped to 25th in the global rankings for broadband deployment. In order to accelerate the deployment of sophisticated networks, Hillary Clinton proposes that the federal government provide tax incentives to encourage broadband deployment in underserved areas. She also proposes financial support for state and local broadband initiatives. Various municipal broadband initiatives are under way around the country to accelerate the deployment of high-speed networks. The initiatives are useful for education, commerce, technology development, and the efficient provision of municipal services."

She wants to overhaul the Research & Experimentation tax credit to make the United States a more attractive location for high-paying jobs. She thinks the 20% incremental tax credit should be made permanent to encourage the building of R&D facilities.

She also criticizes the Bush administration's "irresponsible politicization of science," and says she'd "reinvigorate" (is that code for clean out?) the Office of Science and Technology to allow for "objective, fact-based advice."

Now let's take a look at McCain. A major focus of his technology policy calls for, well, not taxing technology. Here's why he wants to ban Internet taxes:

"John McCain believes we must make a farsighted, robust, and fervent commitment to innovation and new technologies to sustain our global competitiveness, meet our national security challenges, achieve less costly and more effective health care, reduce dangerous dependence on foreign sources of oil, and raise the quality of education in the United States. John McCain has been a leader in keeping the Internet free of taxes. As president, he will seek a permanent ban on taxes that threaten this engine of economic growth and prosperity."

McCain also said he would ban new cell phone taxes, as the "same people that would tax e-mail will tax every text message -- and even 911 calls."

McCain is calling for a permanent R&D tax credit "to keep America competitive and provide a stable environment for entrepreneurs."

McCain also has publicly said he supports increasing H-1B visas, but his Web site sticks to generalities. His solution for what some deem the scary side of globalization (losing tech jobs to other countries and their citizens) falls in line with Obama and Clinton, which is to better prepare the workforce for global competition. But while Obama and Clinton segue that discussion into getting more minorities and women into math and science jobs, McCain goes into a discussion about school of choice:

"John McCain believes that globalization is an opportunity for American workers today and in the future. Ninety-five percent of the world's customers lie outside our borders and we need to be at the table when the rules for access to those markets are written. To do so, the U.S. should engage in multilateral, regional, and bilateral efforts to reduce barriers to trade, level the global playing field, and build effective enforcement of global trading rules.

"John McCain understands that globalization will not automatically benefit every American. We must prepare the next generation of workers by making American education worthy of the promise we make to our children and ourselves. We must be a nation committed to competitiveness and opportunity. We must fight for the ability of all students to have access to any school of demonstrated excellence. We must place parents and children at the center of the education process, empowering parents by greatly expanding the ability of parents to choose among schools for their children."

After sifting through this stuff, my initial reaction is there are no great surprises here; the candidates' positions on technology and globalization align pretty much with their respective Democrat and Republican ideals. What do you think; does any of this information affect who you'll vote for?

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