Barron’s editorial page editor believes recent Supreme Court ruling should prompt tech sector action

Thomas Donlan explains in the latest issue of Barron’s why he believes last week’s Supreme Court ruling dumping aggregate campaign contribution limits could prove beneficial to the tech industry.

TechNet, the Silicon Valley lobbying organization, is an attempt by high-tech companies to influence government by saying, “Nice doggy.” Last week, it sent a group of high-powered executives to the White House to have a meeting about their industry’s major issues.

TechNet cares about improving education in science and math, lowering the corporate income tax, especially because it discourages repatriating profits earned abroad, enlarging immigration quotas for engineers and scientists, and improving the lagging government-dominated industries of education and health care.

But the White House meeting started off, participants said, with Vice President Joe Biden asking how the tech sector could address job creation. The vice president has never been known for economic acumen or tact, but he was reaching toward a new low. His question was more like a demand, and it was directed inappropriately at the business sector that has done more for the U.S. economy than any other in the postwar era. …

… Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has taken another step back to liberty of expression using political campaign contributions, Silicon Valley’s billionaires and millionaires should take big steps forward, in their own interests and the interests of their country.

No longer shackled by a limit on total contributions, TechNet and its members should start investing big money in politics. They should give up lobbying the existing cohort of Congress, especially those members more interested in the minimum wage than in investment, invention, and wealth creation.

TechNet members should invest in politics with the same acumen that they invest in their own companies and in new businesses. The group should recruit fresh candidates in every state and every congressional district, from both parties, who understand economics, statistics, and business through the power of personal experience. The members should also lead the way in making quick and complete disclosure of their political investments. …

… The alternative to greater involvement in politics is simple and degrading: Being told to create jobs at the behest of professional politicians such as Biden, who has never held a grown-up job outside of government, unless he counts two years practicing law.

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