Hillary Clinton’s technology and innovation agenda promises to “finish the job of connecting every household in America to high-speed broadband.” How? Largely by taking money from taxpayers and funneling it to people who promise to expand broadband. In some universe, it might be possible to make the world a better place by taking money from businesses and consumers who were using it to produce wealth and value and putting that money into something that people are otherwise unwilling to pay for. But in the world in which we actually live, Clinton’s plan is likely to waste resources and make our economy worse for the experience.
Three cheers for Senator John Thune (R-SD) for providing leadership that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) needs. Too bad that leadership isn’t coming from the agency’s chairman, Tom Wheeler. In a speech on the floor of the Senate on July 7, Sen. Thune, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, called Chairman Wheeler to account for leadership failures at the FCC. Chairman Wheeler has given the senator a lot to talk about.
It seems that Silicon Valley and pundits from the left and the right have found a lot to love in Hillary Clinton’s technology and innovation agenda. Maybe they should think again. News headlines have characterized the plan as a love letter to Silicon Valley or a Silicon Valley wish list. Indeed, the trade group The Software Alliance issued a press release embracing the candidate’s agenda. The left-leaning advocacy group Public Knowledge is excited for expanded taxpayer funding for Internet and more net neutrality. The Washington Post quoted Berin Szoka, president of the right-leaning Tech Freedom, as saying that Clinton “hit the ball out of the park about making broadband deployment easier,” a comment that the think tank repeated on its Facebook page. Despite this enthusiasm, there is much to worry about in this agenda as it provides a blueprint for diminishing US leadership in tech.