Obama dominated the tech angle of the ’08 election with his smartphone-packing social media swagger (his opponent not knowing how to use a computer helped too). But The Economist says some in the tech business now feel abandoned.
It seems most of the beef is a result of Silicon Valley types not getting what they think was promised (or at least what they personally expected). Obama ran as the tech-savviest candidate in US history – but is his administration giving back to the corporate geek base? “There’s a strong feeling that this government really lacks direction,” explains Gary Shapiro, the chief of the Consumer Electronics Association.
Shapiro’s lament is a bit vague, but in political speak, boils down to one thing: money. The Economist lists off a litany of complaints: not enough incentive to invest, the taxes are too high, being demonised for outsourcing, and what’s described as a generally anti-corporate angle of rhetoric coming out of the White House. “We’re praised for creating jobs while being spanked at the same time,” says the head of the National Venture Capital Association.
On the other hand, corporate America griping about taxes and outsourcing is nothing new – and certainly not an Obama-specific complaint. The Economist also notes that the tech sector has been a heavy recipient of federal stimulus money, which is quietly accepted without protest. The mismatch between Silicon Valley hopes and presidential delivery also hasn’t prevented tech firms from donating to the Democratic party with a volume that dwarfs that of checks written out to the GOP – so clearly the relationship is, if a little strained, not yet broken up. [The Economist]