In a speech given Thursday at the Michigan offices of Visioneering, Inc., Texas Governor George W. Bush lashed out at the high-tech policies of his opponent, Vice President Al Gore, and told the audience that he would be the best man to protect and grow the Internet economy.
With less than three weeks remaining until Election Day and the race a statistical dead heat, both the Republican and Democratic candidates for the White House are trying to reach out to every possible constituency — including members of the high-tech sector, which both individuals credit for driving much of the economic boom of the last several years.
‘Digital Versus Analog’
While much political fallout has occurred regarding Gore’s claim that he “invented the Internet” — a charge his campaign has called overblown — Bush said that the Vice President represents “analog thinking in a digital age, 28K thinking in a broadband era, an eight-track ideology in an MP3 world,” and that a Democratic win in November would threaten the high-tech sector with further regulation.
Al Gore says he would ensure that the next generation of the Net is built.
Bush added that while his opponent’s policies encourage too much government interference in the private sector, he wants to turn the Internet into a global duty- and tariff-free zone. “I support a ban on all Internet taxes, so the growth of the Internet is not slowed by the heavy hand of government,” he said.
The speech comes as part of an effort by Bush to push tax relief and tax cuts. One of Bush’s central campaign principles has been that no American should be forced to pay more than one-third of their income to the government.
At Odds with Gore
Meanwhile, the Gore campaign claims that their candidate is the man to ensure that the next generation of the Internet gets built, and disputes charges that a Gore administration would interfere with the growth of the Internet economy.
The Gore campaign’s Web site says that the Vice President has also urged the continuation of a moratorium on Internet taxes while encouraging programs to get more Americans connected to the Web.
Gore, who is fond of touting his work on the “Reinventing Government” campaign, is also a supporter of “e-government,” something he compares to a “national interactive town square” to connect citizens with federal services.
By placing government services online, Gore says, red tape could be eliminated, money could be saved and more people could be served. Many in the private sector, however, have criticized these efforts, suggesting that the government is encroaching on their territory.