Huckabee And Obama On Globalization, Technology - InformationWeek

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IT Leadership // IT Strategy
Commentary
1/4/2008
10:43 AM
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Huckabee And Obama On Globalization, Technology

First off, Huck-a-who? I had to do some research this morning to learn more about the winning Republican candidate at the Iowa caucus. So Mike Huckabee is an ultraconservative and former Baptist preacher. Ohh-kay. But I'll resist the urge to spout out my personal views here and share with you what Huckabee and Democratic winner Barack Obama have to say on the issues of globalization and technology at their Web sites.

First off, Huck-a-who? I had to do some research this morning to learn more about the winning Republican candidate at the Iowa caucus. So Mike Huckabee is an ultraconservative and former Baptist preacher. Ohh-kay. But I'll resist the urge to spout out my personal views here and share with you what Huckabee and Democratic winner Barack Obama have to say on the issues of globalization and technology at their Web sites.Huckabee's site includes such topics as "The Secure American Plan," "Sanctity of Life," and "Faith of Politics." Under the first category, he said he supports increasing visas "for highly-skilled and highly-educated applicants," indicating that he would support an increase in H-1B visas. This is from the Taxes/Economy section of his site:

I believe in free trade, but it has to be fair trade. We are losing jobs because of an unlevel, unfair trading arena that has to be fixed. Behind the statistics, there are real families and real lives and real pain. I'm running for President because I don't want people who have worked loyally for a company for twenty or thirty years to walk in one morning and be handed a pink slip and be told, "I'm sorry, but everything you spent your life working for is no longer here."

I believe that globalization, done right, done fairly, can be a blessing for our society. As the Industrial Revolution raised living standards by allowing ordinary people to buy mass-produced goods that previously only the rich could afford, so globalization gives all of us the equivalent of a big pay raise by letting us buy all kinds of things from clothing to computers to TVs much more inexpensively.

Obama's site, meanwhile, is far more sophisticated (in my personal view) on the areas of globalization and technology. Here are his broad plans for technology:

  • Ensure an open Internet.
  • Create a transparent and connected democracy.
  • Encourage a modern communications infrastructure.
  • Employ technology to solve our nation's most pressing problems.
  • Improve America's competitiveness.
  • Many of his plans in this area go into great yet ambitious detail (perhaps too ambitious). It's way more stuff than I can actually copy here. He also promotes job training for clean technologies and the deployment of next-generation broadband. It's an interesting read.

    Here's Obama's take on H-1Bs:

    While highly skilled immigrants have contributed in beneficial ways to our domestic technology industry, there are plenty of Americans who could be filling those positions given the proper training. Barack Obama is committed to investing in communities and people who have not had an opportunity to work and participate in the Internet economy as anything other than consumers. Most H-1B new arrivals, for example, have earned a bachelor's degree or its equivalent abroad (42.5%). They are not all PhDs. We can and should produce more Americans with bachelor's degrees that lead to jobs in technology. A report of the National Science Foundation (NSF) reveals that blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans as a whole comprise more that 25% of the population but earn, as a whole, 16% of the bachelor degrees, 11% of the master's degrees, and 5% of the doctorate degrees in science and engineering. We can do better than that and go a long way toward meeting industry's need for skilled workers with Americans. That being said, we do not want to shut our doors to innovators from overseas, who have traditionally helped make America strong. Barack Obama supports comprehensive immigration reform that includes improvement in our visa programs, including our legal permanent resident visa programs and temporary programs including the H-1B program, to attract some of the world's most talented people to America. We should allow immigrants who earn their degrees in the U.S. to stay, work, and become Americans over time. And we should examine our ability to increase the number of permanent visas we issue to foreign skilled workers. Obama will work to ensure immigrant workers are less dependent on their employers for their right to stay in the country and would hold accountable employers who abuse the system and their workers.

    Obama indicates he'd take a tougher stance on China:

    In its first six years, the Bush Administration has filed only 16 cases to enforce its rights under WTO agreements. This compares to 68 cases filed during the first six years of the Clinton Administration. President Bush has failed to address the fact that China has engaged in ongoing currency manipulation that undercuts US exports; that China fails to enforce U.S. copyrights and trademarks and that some of our competitors create regulatory and tax barriers to the delivery and sale of technology goods and services abroad. Barack Obama will fight for fair treatment of our companies abroad.

    What do you think of these candidates' views, and how will they impact your vote?

    We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
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