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By Chris Nolan  |  Posted 2004-11-04 Print this article Print

But if youre just starting out as an employee, if youre not making enough to save, or if youre not highly or uniquely skilled, its unclear how these policies will be as helpful. Employees who dont have equity or who have to struggle to find ways to save money will have a harder time taking advantage of the tax breaks the administration has envisioned. This, of course, is one of the reasons why Silicon Valley has opposed—without a lot of help from the administration—requirements to make stock options part of company expenses. Entry-level equity is a big part of the Valleys job-creation machine; its found support from Republicans in the House but has stalled in the Senate. With or without stock, it is employees—newer tech workers, those doing the grunt work of coding—who are the ones who are the most likely to feel the brunt of the Bush administrations longer-range economic policies. With longer-term payouts, they are riskier for those who arent as wealthy.
Bush has stressed the importance of job training and re-education for workers whose jobs move overseas as part of the "ownership society" but seems to miss an important change in global economics, one that John Pardon, a lifelong Republican and Ohio resident, talked about with some trepidation earlier this year. Pardon worried that his American middle-class way of life was being threatened and he saw neither political party really working on his behalf.
Read also Chris Nolans column "Outsourcing Hits a Fault Line in Tech." The Bush administrations attitude toward outsourcing—that it is, in the long run, not only inevitable but probably good for the U.S. economy—is, in this light, something of a gamble. Its a bet that the innovation and thinking that create jobs will remain in the United States, providing higher-wage work for creative and well-educated thinkers. For company owners and operators, of course, this isnt, in the next few years, a deal. Money—to back companies or pay back investors—can flow across borders; it doesnt follow companies or jobs. People are less flexible. But in the long run, for folks who run, manage and back companies—from large corporations to small startups—the movement of jobs outside the country isnt good. Thats one reason why Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and others worry that fewer engineers and scientist are coming to the United States to study and work. Its why the Valley led California in passing a $3 billion bond measure to fund stem cell research in the state. That measure will turn Silicon Valley into an international hot spot for high-tech biological research. But the economies of India and China, like ours, are not static. A trained and skilled work force is on its way to building a more prosperous nation. And more prosperous countries—in this global economy—will be able to raise their own capital, fund their own ideas, and come up with their own products and innovations. In the short term, the United States has the upper economic hand, but many of those who will benefit the most with the changes envisioned by President Bush are those who also worry the most about the consequences. Technology and Politics columnist Chris Nolan spent years chronicling the excesses of the dot-com era with incisive analysis leavened with a dash of humor. Before that, she covered politics and technology in D.C. You can read her musings on politics and technology every day in her Politics from Left to Right Weblog. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis of technologys impact on government and politics.

Standalone journalist Chris Nolan runs 'Politics from Left to Right,' a political Web site at that focuses on the intersection of politics, technology and business issues in San Francisco, in California and on the national scene.

Nolan's work is well-known to tech-savvy readers. Her weekly syndicated column, 'Talk is Cheap,' appeared in The New York Post, Upside, and other publications. Debuting in 1997 at the beginnings of the Internet stock boom, it covered a wide variety of topics and was well regarded for its humor, insight and news value.

Nolan has led her peers in breaking important stories. Her reporting on Silicon Valley banker Frank Quattrone was the first to uncover the now infamous 'friend of Frank' accounts and led, eventually, to Quattrone's conviction on obstruction of justice charges.

In addition to columns and Weblogging, Nolan's work has appeared in The Washington Post, The New Republic, Fortune, Business 2.0 and Condé, Nast Traveler, and she has spoken frequently on the impact of Weblogging on politics and journalism.

Before moving to San Francisco, Nolan, who has more than 20 years of reporting experience, wrote about politics and technology in Washington, D.C., for a series of television trade magazines. She holds a B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University.


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