As the leader of a trade association representing more than 2,200 technology companies, I have been surprised at the vitriol on social media and in some news stories about my public tweets and commentaries about the positive actions a Trump presidency can produce. I suspect the critics would have me spend the next four years just waiting for a new president.
But I can't. My job is to represent the interests of the tech industry, which today supports more than 15 million U.S. jobs, accounts for just over 10 percent of U.S. GDP and drives U.S. leadership in global competitiveness. To help our industry succeed, we need the right public policies in place. So I must identify opportunities to work with the incoming Trump administration to promote innovation, grow the economy, create high-wage jobs and collaborate on pro-tech policies.
I have expressed strong opinions on Trump these past few years. In 2012, I wrote a commentary praising Celebrity Apprentice as the rare pro- business, pro-entrepreneur television show. But like many, I was shocked and gave my opinions on candidate Trump's comments about POWS, and various ethnic groups. My early, personal opposition to presidential candidate Donald Trump was based largely on social issues. But I am always an optimist. America has voted, and I choose to be optimistic and see a positive path forward, especially regarding the economy.
President Obama was good for tech but bad for economy and business. In eight years, GDP growth never broke three percent, a figure among the worst recorded during any U.S. president. Trump has the unique opportunity to roll back regulations choking businesses, cut stifling corporate tax rates and reinvigorate U.S. companies to continue innovating, building and creating.
Innovation thrives when entrepreneurs challenge incumbents in ways that disrupt and ultimately redefine markets, the way the smartphone revolutionized computing nearly a decade ago and the way ridesharing is revolutionizing transportation today. Yet lawmakers increasingly act to shield incumbent businesses from would-be innovators. Lobbyists and special interest groups spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year to pressure regulators to preserve the status quo through over-burdensome regulation.
In November, the Federal Register – which tracks the actions of federal agencies – surpassed 81,000 pages in 2016 alone. Since taking office, President Obama has racked up seven of the 10 highest-ever annual Federal Register tallies.
President-elect Trump can dial back these damaging rules, limiting the power of entrenched, legacy businesses. He has promised to implement widespread regulatory reform, ending job-killing rules currently costing our economy $2 trillion a year.
The Department of Labor’s overtime rule is a prime example of regulation run amok. The Obama administration’s proposed rule – which was staved off at the eleventh hour by a court injunction – would have doubled the overtime floor. This rule left virtually no flexibility for startups – especially technology companies – that don't rely on a traditional timecard pay structure. And while the bill worked its way through the courts, businesses spent months preparing to comply.
Trump’s election has energized business leaders who are hopeful that shedding over-regulation will allow them to invest time and resources in growing their businesses and creating new jobs rather than picking through piles of paperwork.
More, Trump’s tax policies will favor business and job growth. The U.S. has the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world, prompting many companies to park billions of dollars overseas. Trump has offered to repatriate profits held overseas at a reduced rate and use this money to fund critical infrastructure projects.
Our nation’s roads and bridges are in terrible shape. Businesses need a reliable infrastructure system to move their goods to market. Trump’s tax proposal will fund necessary repairs and investment in new infrastructure.
Technology will help us solve some of our biggest global problems. Our industry is on the verge of amazing breakthroughs in health care, the Internet of Things and transportation and accessibility, among others. I genuinely want to work with the Trump administration to foster our industry and build products and services that change our world for the better. Trump’s mid-December meeting with tech leaders, in which he told executives he’s “here to help,” underscores his commitment to working with our industry – not against it.
Although Trump’s campaign may have tapped into growing American unease about the new, global economy, President-elect Trump is a businessman. It’s my hope that he will run a bottom line-based administration and do what is in the best interest for American companies and workers alike, unleashing innovation along the way.
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