In the days following Obama’s re-election, there will be a lot of speculation over what it means for the economy, but at large the tech industry should be very happy with the results. Perhaps it’s stating the obvious, but the first president to hold an AMA on Reddit
and tweet his victory before his speech
, has a visible interest in the tech world and policies that will help it grow appropriately.
1. He strongly supports high-skilled immigration reform.
Immigration reform is still a hot button issue for this country, but so is job creation. Obama’s Startup 2.0 Act
will address both issues simultaneously. The bill will increase work visa availability for science, technology, engineering, and math graduates from American universities, while also creating an entrepreneurship visa for foreign workers who create jobs in the US. The Start-Up Act 2.0 most likely won’t happen until 2013, but it would do much to encourage foreign entrepreneurs and inventors to set up shop in America.
2. He will continue to advocate government tech reform and investment
With Obama still in charge, his appointees Chief Technology Officer Todd Park, and Chief Information Officer, Stephen Van Roekel, will continue to open up government data
for use by the private sector. Companies like Google
(NASDAQ:FB) and even Paypal
(NASDAQ:EBAY), will no doubt benefit from data releases which will help them identify consumer trends more accurately. In addition, his administration is dedicated to investing in the tech industry at large through the Small Business Administration
, which gives millions to early stage companies and start-ups in diverse geographic locations.
3. He will continue to support computer science education.
It’s a little-known fact that the tech industry is actually struggling to find skilled employees in the current economic climate. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has been doing its part
to increase interest in software development, but during the campaign, Obama dropped hints that education reform would be a major part of his second term. Such a focus could potentially help schools fund computer science education programs and purchase equipment.
4. He will continue increasing Internet infrastructure.
In his last term, one of Obama’s key goals was to get true broadband to every community in America. According to his National Broadband Plan’s own one-year report
, the job is 87% complete with only a few rural areas left to be connected to existing hubs. Now that Obama has been reelected, it’s a sure thing that his team will finish the job, and Web-based business like Amazon
(NASDAQ:AMZN) and Netflix
(NASDAQ:NFLX) will be able to reap the benefits. 5. His administration will continue to bolster cyber security
Obama’s administration has been fairly active in bolstering the nation's defenses against cyber attacks. It’s anticipated that Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, will be unveiling new rules of engagement regarding cyber security
that will increase the government’s ability to help prevent cyber-attacks and prosecute offenders. Panetta stated that the government will not be monitoring private networks or making invasive demands of companies, but it has been acknowledged that tech companies will be encouraged to help maintain security. How this will be encouraged has yet to be revealed, but it could represent financial opportunities to tech businesses that provide online security.
6. His administration will continue to increase health information technology.
Under Obama the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor started a program to connect community colleges and technical colleges to the resources they need to train health information technology professionals working in rural hospitals and clinics. The program is intended to boost HIT jobs and will no doubt increase the efficiency of medical treatment in rural areas with large distances between hospitals.
7. He will voice his opinion of the Internet’s biggest issues.
Specifically, the issues of SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and net neutrality have been in the news over the past couple of years. The Obama administration has played a big role in opposing the unpopular SOPA act, with the president going so far as to say that he would not sign the bill, as it was, into law. The bipartisan bill would have given a lot of power to copyright holders and media companies to block the distribution of copy-righted materials and impose fines without due process. In addition, Obama also supports net-neutrality, which should be good news for telecommunications companies that don’t want the FCC to regulate how they handle traffic or charge for it. Although companies like Verizon
(NYSE:VS) have had problems with net neutrality's current application
, Obama's administration is likely to stay active in mitigating these and other Internet issues.
No positions in stocks mentioned.