Sunday, August 31, 2008

McCain on Technology and Innovation

A few days ago I wrote about Barack Obama's policy for technology and innovation and take a look at John McCain's policy today. I got a lot of hits and a lot of feedback (I have not posted any of it) on the Obama piece with many asking who I was supporting. My intentions here are not to support or endorse a single candidate - my goal is to outline the plans of each candidate and keep my political preferences to myself - this is a technology blog not a political one!

In mid-August, about 8 months after Obama released his technology and innovation policy paper, John McCain released his 3000 word paper titled Technology. McCain's policy was drafted in-part by
Michael Powell, former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. In a format similar to Obama, McCain's policy lists 6 key points (Obama lists 5) with detail:

1. Encourage investment in innovation:
  • Supports risk capital for investment in American innovation
  • Will not tax innovation by keeping capital gains taxes low
  • Will reform and make permanent the R&D tax credit
  • Will lower the corporate tax rate to 25% to retain investment in U.S. technologies
  • Will allow first-year expensing of new equipment and technology
  • Will ensure technology and innovation is not hampered by taxes on Internet users
  • Opposes higher taxes on wireless services
2. Develop a skilled work force:
  • America must educate its workforce for the innovation age
  • Fill critical shortages of skilled workers to remain competitive
3. Champion open and fair trade:
  • Has been a long and ardent supporter of fair and open world trade
  • Offering opportunity, low prices, and increased choice for our citizens
  • Will protect the creative industries from piracy
4. Reform intellectual property protection:
  • Will push for greater resources for the patent office
  • Will pursue protection of intellectual property around the globe
  • Provide alternative approaches to resolving patent challenges
5. Keep the Internet and entrepreneurs free of unnecessary regulation:
  • Will preserve consumer freedoms
  • When regulation is warranted, McCain will continue to act
6. Ensure a fully connected citizenry:
  • Will pursue high-speed Internet access for all Americans
  • Would place a priority on science and technology experience
  • Would ensure that the federal government led by example
  • Would support the federal government as an innovator
  • Would make sure that all citizens can participate in the technology revolution
In my Obama post I included detail on how Obama would encourage the deployment of a modern communications infrastructure. Here's some detail from John McCain:

John McCain has long believed that all Americans, no matter if rich or poor, rural or urban, old or young, should have access to high-speed Internet services and receive the economic opportunities derived from technology. Access to high-speed Internet services facilitates interstate commerce, drives innovation, promotes educational achievements, and literally has the potential to change lives. As President, John McCain would continue to encourage private investment to facilitate the build-out of infrastructure to provide high-speed Internet connectivity all over America. However, where private industry does not answer the call because of market failures or other obstacles, John McCain believes that people acting through their local governments should be able to invest in their own future by building out infrastructure to provide high-speed Internet services. For this reason, Senator McCain introduced the “Community Broadband Bill,” which would allow local governments to offer such services, particularly when private industry fails to do so.

John McCain has fought special interests in Washington to force the Federal government to auction inefficiently-used wireless spectrum to companies that will instead use the spectrum to provide high-speed Internet service options to millions of Americans, especially in rural areas. As President, John McCain would continue to encourage research and development in technologies that could bring affordable alternatives to Americans, especially in rural areas.

John McCain would seek to accurately identify un-served or under-served areas where the market is not working and provide companies willing to build the infrastructure to serve these areas with high speed Internet services incentives to do so. He also supports private/public partnerships to devise creative solutions and help rural area and towns and cities in their efforts to build-out broadband infrastructure through government-backed loans or low-interest bonds.

John McCain will establish a “People Connect Program” that rewards companies that offer high-speed Internet access services to low income customers by allowing these companies offset their tax liability for the cost of this service.

Ubiquitous connectivity can allow employees to telecommute, or better yet, open up job possibilities to millions of Americans who wish to work from their home. As President, John McCain would pursue an agenda that includes encouragement of telecommuting in the federal government and private companies.

Comparing the two policies I see a few differences of opinion with the biggest being

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