Issue Position: Technology
John McCain has a broad and cohesive vision for the future of American innovation. His policies will provide broad pools of capital, low taxes and incentives for research in America, a commitment to a skilled and educated workforce, and a dedication to opening markets around the globe. He's committed to streamlining burdensome regulations and effectively protecting American intellectual property in the United States and around the globe.
Transformative information and communications technologies permeate every aspect of our daily lives. In the last decade, there has been an explosion in the ways Americans communicate with family, friends, and business partners; shop and connect with global markets; educate themselves; become more engaged politically; and consume and even create entertainment. America has led the world into this technology revolution because we have allowed innovation to take root, grow, and prosper. Nurturing technology and innovation is essential for solving the critical problems facing our country: developing alternative fuels, addressing climate change, stopping the spiraling expense of health care, and better educating our children.
John McCain is uniquely qualified to lead our nation during this technological revolution. He is the former chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. The Committee plays a major role in the development of technology policy, specifically any legislation affecting communications services, the Internet, cable television and other technologies. Under John McCain's guiding hand, Congress developed a wireless spectrum policy that spurred the rapid rise of mobile phones and Wi-Fi technology that enables Americans to surf the web while sitting at a coffee shop, airport lounge, or public park.
To maintain American leadership in the world, John McCain believes we must nurture the conditions under which entrepreneurs can prosper and the American people can reap the rewards.
As President, John McCain would:
* Encourage investment in innovation
* Develop a skilled work force
* Champion open and fair trade
* Reform intellectual property protection
* Keep the Internet and entrepreneurs free of unnecessary regulation
* Ensure a fully connected citizenry
John McCain Will Encourage Investment in Innovation
John McCain Supports Risk Capital For Investment In American Innovation. Innovation requires risk capital to turn bold ideas into reality. A ready supply of capital willing to invest in innovative ventures has been a hallmark of America. To maintain our innovative edge, our next President must promote conditions favorable to investment. John McCain knows the stakes - and he knows what it will take for America to remain competitive. Federal tax and fiscal policy must create and protect the incentives to innovate.
John McCain Will Not Tax Innovation By Keeping Capital Gains Taxes Low. Cutting edge ventures fail more than they succeed and it takes daring to invest in unproven ideas. High capital gains taxes dampen incentives to create something new. Many will undoubtedly lose money trying to build clean energy technologies. It discourages the effort, to the detriment of society, if the government confiscates too large a share of the profits for those who succeed.
John McCain Will Reform And Make Permanent The R&D Tax Credit. Basic research and development is the lifeblood of an innovative economy and is essential to keeping America competitive. A top priority needs to be putting private capital to work in research and development. As President, John McCain will establish a permanent Research and Development (R&D) tax credit equal to 10 percent of wages spent on R&D. Offering a tax credit for R&D wages will encourage the creation of innovation-driven jobs in the United States.
John McCain Will Lower the Corporate Tax Rate To 25 Percent To Retain Investment In U.S. Technologies. Currently, the United States has the second highest corporate tax rate in the world, and it is the American worker who suffers the consequences. When corporations put their money and investment into countries with lower tax rates, those companies invest less in American facilities, new hires, worker training, and employee compensation. A 2006 study by the Congressional Budget Office found that 70 percent of the corporate tax burden falls on the American workers. John McCain will help our nation compete more aggressively against the likes of China, South Korea, Singapore, and Ireland by bringing taxes to a competitive level that encourages entrepreneurs to reinvest their earnings in American workers.
John McCain Will Allow First-Year Expensing Of New Equipment And Technology. To provide an immediate boost to capital expenditures and reward investments in cutting edge technologies, John McCain would allow companies to expense the costs of new equipment or technology in the first year. The additional investment stimulated by such expensing will drive economic growth.
John McCain Will Ensure Technology And Innovation Is Not Hampered By Taxes On Internet Users. Ten years ago, Senator McCain led the bipartisan fight for legislation to keep the Internet free of taxation. From its inception, John McCain has seen the Internet as an engine of growth for the next generation of American innovation. Burdening that engine of growth with heavy taxes only harms American competitiveness in this vital sector.
John McCain Opposes Higher Taxes On Wireless Services. John McCain has opposed new state and local discriminatory taxes and fees on wireless services, which are relied upon by over 250 million Americans. Taxes account for over 20 percent of many mobile phone users' bills. Such excessive taxation dampens innovation and hits vulnerable Americans.
John McCain Will Ensure the American Workforce is Skilled and Ready to Lead the Technological Revolution
America Must Educate Its Workforce For The Innovation Age. America's ability to compete in the global market is dependent on the availability of a skilled workforce. Less than 20 percent of our undergraduate students obtained degrees in math or science, and the number of computer science majors has fallen by half over the last eight years. John McCain will fully fund the America Competes Act to help address these trends in education and training. Our nation's education system should also help re-train displaced workers. Invigorating our community college system is a good place to start. John McCain has long supported grants for educational instruction in digital and wireless technologies, targeted to minorities and low-income students who may not otherwise be exposed to these fields.
Fill Critical Shortages Of Skilled Workers To Remain Competitive. American workers should always be the first choice for highly skilled technology jobs. However, there is a critical shortage of these workers and American competitiveness is suffering as a result. John McCain will expand the number of H-1B visas to allow our companies to keep top-notch talent - often trained in our graduate schools - in the United States. The Department of Labor should be allowed to set visa levels appropriate for market conditions. 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 ten additional American workers.
John McCain Believes in a Global Marketplace and Will Champion Fair and Open World Trade
John McCain Has Been A Long And Ardent Supporter Of Fair And Open World Trade. Trade greatly benefits America and the American worker. 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 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 jobs. Moreover, the Internet allows a global marketplace to emerge as the Internet knows no boundaries. As President, John McCain will promote fair trade agreements to give America's high tech workers the opportunity to compete and continue to win in the global marketplace.
Competition Has Been A Great Strength For America Offering Opportunity, Low Prices, And Increased Choice For Our Citizens. Markets work best when there is robust competition. Competition means that any new devices invented cost less because there are more choices. This ensures more Americans can afford to be part of the digital economy.
John McCain Will Protect The Creative Industries From Piracy. The entertainment industry is both a vital sector of the domestic economy and among the largest U.S. exporters. While the Internet has provided tremendous opportunity for the creators of copyrighted works, including music and movies, to distribute their works around the world at low cost, it has also given rise to a global epidemic of piracy. John McCain supports efforts to crack down on piracy, both on the Internet and off.
John McCain Will Protect Inventors Intellectual Property
The patent system has been with us since the founding of our nation. Protecting intellectual property creates the incentives for invention and investment in commercial innovations. Yet too much protection can stifle the proliferation of important ideas and impair legitimate commerce in new products to the detriment of our entire economy.
John McCain Will Push For Greater Resources For The Patent Office. The increased workload at the United States Patent and Trademark Office threatens to undermine the quality of our patent examinations. New resources to hire and train quality examiners are needed to ensure timely, predictable and effective patent review.
John McCain Will Pursue Protection Of Intellectual Property Around The Globe. Intellectual property protection is increasingly an issue for U.S. innovators operating in the global economy. John McCain will seek international agreements and enforcement efforts that ensure fair rewards to intellectual property.
Provide Alternative Approaches To Resolving Patent Challenges. For many important technologies, the only effective way to challenge a patent in the United States is through litigation, but litigation on patents is much too expensive. The lack of an affordable, reliable means to ensure that the Government only grants valid patents has led to overly broad, frivolous lawsuits designed to force innovative companies into big settlements.
John McCain Has Fought to Keep the Internet Free From Government Regulation
The role of government in the Innovation Age should be focused on creating opportunities for all Americans and maintaining the vibrancy of the Internet economy. Given the enormous benefits we have seen from a lightly regulated Internet and software market, our government should refrain from imposing burdensome regulation. John McCain understands that unnecessary government intrusion can harm the innovative genius of the Internet. Government should have to prove regulation is needed, rather than have entrepreneurs prove it is not.
John McCain Will Preserve Consumer Freedoms. John McCain will focus on policies that leave consumers free to access the content they choose; free to use the applications and services they choose; free to attach devices they choose, if they do not harm the network; and free to chose among broadband service providers.
When Regulation Is Warranted, John McCain Acts. John McCain does not believe in prescriptive regulation like "net-neutrality," but rather he believes that an open marketplace with a variety of consumer choices is the best deterrent against unfair practices. John McCain has always believed the government's role must be rooted in protecting consumers. He championed laws that penalized fraudulent marketing practices, protected kids from harmful Internet content, secured consumer privacy, and sought to minimize spam. When businesses struggled to assess the legal role of electronic signatures, John McCain led legislative efforts to ensure that these Innovation Age signatures were legally sufficient so that e-commerce could thrive. His record reflects the careful balance between protecting the essential elements of the Internet and securing the Internet as a safe tool of commerce, education and entertainment for our citizens. Offering simple common sense solutions to real problems is at the core of the McCain's innovation agenda.
John McCain Will Ensure America is a Connected Nation
America cannot afford to lag in providing its citizens access to 21st Century infrastructure. Our children cannot count on a good education without high-speed Internet access. Without access, our citizens risk being left out of the societal and cultural changes that are sweeping the planet on a wave of innovation. Solving the problems of health care, immigration, climate change, and energy dependence all require connecting our citizens to a world-class network.
John McCain Will Pursue High-Speed Internet Access For All Americans. John McCain has long believed that all Americans, no matter if rich or poor, rural or urban, old or young, should have access to high-speed Internet services and receive the economic opportunities derived from technology. Access to high-speed Internet services facilitates interstate commerce, drives innovation, promotes educational achievements, and literally has the potential to change lives. As President, John McCain would continue to encourage private investment to facilitate the build-out of infrastructure to provide high-speed Internet connectivity all over America. However, where private industry does not answer the call because of market failures or other obstacles, John McCain believes that people acting through their local governments should be able to invest in their own future by building out infrastructure to provide high-speed Internet services. For this reason, Senator McCain introduced the "Community Broadband Bill," which would allow local governments to offer such services, particularly when private industry fails to do so.
John McCain has fought special interests in Washington to force the Federal government to auction inefficiently-used wireless spectrum to companies that will instead use the spectrum to provide high-speed Internet service options to millions of Americans, especially in rural areas. As President, John McCain would continue to encourage research and development in technologies that could bring affordable alternatives to Americans, especially in rural areas.
John McCain would seek to accurately identify un-served or under-served areas where the market is not working and provide companies willing to build the infrastructure to serve these areas with high speed internet services incentives to do so. He also supports private/public partnerships to devise creative solutions and help rural area and towns and cities in their efforts to build-out broadband infrastructure through government-backed loans or low-interest bonds.
John McCain will establish a "People Connect Program" that rewards companies that offer high-speed Internet access services to low income customers by allowing these companies offset their tax liability for the cost of this service.
Ubiquitous connectivity can allow employees to telecommute, or better yet, open up job possibilities to millions of Americans who wish to work from their home. As President, John McCain would pursue an agenda that includes encouragement of telecommuting in the federal government and private companies.
John McCain Would Place A Priority On Science And Technology Experience. As President, John McCain will be committed to bringing talented men and women of science into the federal government. He will strive to ensure that Administration appointees across the government have adequate experience and understanding of science, technology and innovation in order to better serve the American people.
John McCain Would Ensure That The Federal Government Led By Example. Government can advance Americans' access to high speed Internet services by using it to better serve the people. Government services should be available online and government can better serve the American people by operating more efficiently through the use of technology, including videoconferencing and collaborative networks. For over a decade, John McCain has supported placing more government information online for the benefit of all of the American people. Since 2001, he has called for an Office of Electronic Government to set a strategic vision for implementation of electronic government
Government must also use these important tools to protect our nation. John McCain has led the fight for the creation of a nationwide public safety network that would support our local, state and federal first responders. As President, John McCain will ensure the network is being deployed by the end of his first term.
John McCain Would Support The Federal Government As An Innovator. John McCain as president would push for a renewed emphasis on innovation through Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) where industry and government enter into public/private projects, sharing in the cost, benefiting from solving real problems, accelerating the application of technology in the government. This way the government is a leader of the technology revolution and not simply a beneficiary.
John McCain Would Make Sure that All Citizens Can Participate In The Technology Revolution. For his 26 years in Congress, John McCain has consistently stood up for those Americans who might lag behind this tide of innovation. For example, when Americans with disabilities found their paths to innovative technologies sometimes blocked, John McCain led the charge for closed captioning, hearing aid compatibility, and video description. He will bring these priorities to the Presidency.