Winning the Race 2012 Memos: Digital Economy

Daniel Castro October 9, 2012
October 9, 2012

We live in the Digital Age but are not tapping the full potential of information technology (IT). The advent of systems like intelligent transportation systems, the smart grid, and health IT offer vast opportunities to increase productivity and quality of life. But we need to overcome opposition from “digital Luddites” and parochial interests while also recognizing that government has a vital role as an early adopter and catalyst for advancing the digital economy. Impediments to this transcend party identification. Some conservative small business owners and liberal labor leaders might see innovative IT-based business models as a threat to their companies or workers. But as a general rule, Republicans want to take a light touch with regard to imposing regulatory burdens on the digital economy while Democrats are more willing to support public investment in key digital platforms. The next administration should recognize that we not only need a light regulatory touch but also a helping hand from government in key areas, while working to build on areas of consensus from elements of both parties, such as reforming laws regarding government surveillance of electronic communications and e-commerce taxes.