Republican presidential hopeful John McCain issues a technology policy statement supporting a permanent research and development tax, expanded H-1B visas, lower capital gains taxes and free trade agreements. McCain differs sharply from Barack Obama, however, on network neutrality. Obama favors government action to mandate nondiscriminatory handling of network traffic while McCain favors a free market approach.
Long on tax cuts, free trade agreements and expanded H-1B visas, Republican
presidential hopeful John McCain issued his technology policy Aug. 14,
prescribing a dose of open markets and unregulated competition for the nation's
While many of McCain's proposals mirror his Democratic opponent Barack Obama's
technology policy, a McCain presidency would sharply differ from an Obama
presidency on the issue of network neutrality, which would mandate that broadband
service providers treat all network traffic in a nondiscriminatory manner.
"John McCain does not
believe in prescriptive regulation like net neutrality," the nearly 3,000-word
policy statement on McCain's site
declared. "Rather, he believes that
an open marketplace with a variety of consumer choices is the best deterrent
against unfair practices."
promised Oct. 29 to impose network neutrality mandates
providers such as AT&T and Comcast if elected to the White House. Network
neutrality laws, Obama said, would create a "level playing field for
whoever has the best idea." He has also declared he would appoint an FCC
(Federal Communications Commission) chairman who supports network neutrality
and a CTO for his administration.
Instead of promoting network neutrality laws, a McCain presidency would
instead focus on creating open networks that would allow consumers to attach
devices and use services of their choice as long as the devices and services do
no harm to the network.
The McCain tech policy also calls for the Department of Labor to set visa
levels "appropriate for market conditions." The policy statement
claims, "Hiring skilled foreign workers to fill critical shortages
benefits not only innovative companies, but also our economy. For every foreign
worker hired, corporations generally hire five to 10 additional American
The McCain policy statement promises to provide an "immediate boost to
capital expenditures and reward investments in cutting-edge technologies"
by allowing companies to expense the costs of new equipment or technology in
the first year. The statement claims, "The additional investment
stimulated by such expensing will drive economic growth."
McCain would also promote a permanent R&D tax credit equal to 10 percent
of wages spent on research and development.
The former chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science &
Transportation, which handles most Internet issues in the Senate, McCain also
opposes any new state and local discriminatory taxes and fees on the Internet
or wireless services.
Included in the policy recommendations is a "People Connect Program"
that rewards companies that offer high-speed Internet access services to low-income
customers by allowing these companies to offset their tax liability for the cost
of this service.
Like most Republicans and the tech industry in general, McCain is also an
ardent supporter of free trade agreements.
"The best protection for American workers is to
ensure that they have access to the world's customers, 95 percent of whom live
outside the United
the McCain policy states. "This access is particularly important for
workers in the information technology sector where the United States has so much to offer the rest of the world. Lower
tariffs on American products benefit American companies and create American