Thursday, October 13, 2011

Schmidt on federal policy

Eric Schmidt testified before Congress on its technology policy, and he tells the Washington Post that he is not happy.

Much of the issue he blames on age. For example:

And inevitably what happens is everyone says ‘yes,’ yet inevitably on the Hill you have an older gentleman or lady. The staffers—and the staffers are young—the staffers get it. They’re 25, 30 years old and they all get it. So that’s what we depend on. And of course we’ve hired ex-staffers as well. They all know each other. So that’s how it really works. And I believe what we’re doing is extremely defensible if it’s around ideas. I would have a lot of trouble if we in our industry started following the other kind of lobbying.
I'm not sure I agree. I know a lot of younger people that haven't thought through the horror that search neutrality will be if it goes through. I think there's a more fundamental problem computers are changing quickly. Search engines didn't exist twenty years ago, and twenty years from now, they will be completely different. How is it realistic for Washington to regulate something that completely changes every couple of decades?

I admit I appreciate his suggestion about how to improve the state of IT in the U.S. even further:

A classic example is H-1B visas. Now, the following arguments are so obvious, it’s hard for me to believe that anyone would believe that they’re false. These industries are full of very smart people. There are very smart people who don’t live in America. They come to America, we educate them at the best universities, they are smarter than I am, and then we kick them out. If they stayed in the country, let’s just review: They would create jobs, pay taxes, have high incomes, pay more taxes than the average American, and generally increase the GDP of the country. I hope my argument is clear, and if it isn’t I’ll start screaming about it. It’s the stupidest policy the government has with respect to high tech. So you have this conversation and people say “yes,” and you say, ”This is the single thing that you can do that will lead to innovation occurring in our country, and the future economic wealth of our country.” And then they don’t act.... It’s stupid. So my point is that if you want to get a sense of how to screw this up, to put it negatively, then make it harder for us to bring in the world’s smartest people.
Tell 'em, Eric!

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