How Trump’s tech policy could undermine American jobs and economic growth
Posted On July 14, 2021
The president-elect, in a surprise announcement last week, named a series of companies to help oversee the transition of technology from the federal government to the private sector, including a tech executive who has a long history of fighting government efforts to crack down on cybercrime.
The administration’s announcement comes as it is reviewing a cybersecurity bill that would give the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) authority to seize private companies’ data and shut them down, as well as a plan to privatize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
In a separate move, Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday that calls for ending the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) “crisis grant” program, which gives NIH grants to private companies to pay for research.
The new executive order, which has yet to be signed, has been condemned by scientists and other critics who say that it could have a chilling effect on scientific and medical research, particularly on cancer treatments.
Trump’s decision to pick Boeing, one of the country’s largest defense contractors, has caused controversy and raised concerns among scientists who say the company has shown little interest in advancing its own research and could hurt the United States’ global standing.
Boeing’s president and CEO, Brian Jones, said in a statement Thursday that he was “deeply disappointed” by the new executive orders and plans to fight the president’s moves.
“Boeing has made clear its intention to lead and innovate in a world of increasing cybersecurity and innovation,” Jones said.
The company, a member of the Trump administration, will be investing $1.3 billion in cybersecurity research over the next decade, the company said in the statement.
The Trump administration also is moving to privatizing the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which it has long argued is too expensive and burdensome for small businesses and universities.
In his announcement, Trump said he wants to cut NIST’s budget by $100 million to $75 million and replace it with a new agency that would oversee the “federalization” of the technology industry.
But critics have said the proposed changes would harm small and medium-sized businesses, which are already struggling with rising costs and dwindling federal support.
In recent weeks, the White House has been grappling with how to deal with the increasing influence of Silicon Valley companies on the administration and other policies, including the proposed rollback of President Barack Obama’s health care law.
The tech industry is expected to contribute more than $300 million to Trump’s campaign coffers this election cycle.
In December, the Trump transition team said that it would provide $2.6 million to the National Science Foundation (NSF), which supports the research and development of new technologies.
The NSF is funded by the U.S. government and its private sector partners.
The White House said Thursday that it will continue to support the NSF and other scientific institutions, including other research agencies.
Trump is expected take a new direction on immigration, particularly the controversial DACA program, where the Obama administration expanded the use of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, known as DACA, for people brought to the United State as children.
Trump also said he would end the Defund DREAM Act, which allows undocumented young immigrants brought to this country as children to apply for legal status through the DREAM act program.
A number of Trump’s nominees have received support from Silicon Valley, which is a major funder of his presidential campaign.
The list of companies that have given to the Trump campaign includes PayPal, Google, Uber, Twitter, Airbnb, Facebook, Intel, Netflix, Intel Capital, Microsoft, Yelp, Spotify, and more.