Steve Forbes on Technology

2000 Republican Primary Candidate for President


Market will address digital divide - government stay out

Q: Should we spend government funds to address the “digital divide?” A: The key to helping Americans who are born with the least in terms of education is allowing parents to pick the schools they think best for their children. Then those schools will get their act together. Government getting involved in this will just breed corruption, lot of interest raking off money on this. The way to get universal access is to let technology flourish. The price of computing is plummeting. Access is becoming easier and more and more accessible. The government won’t guarantee universal access, the free flow of technology will.
Source: GOP Debate in Manchester NH , Jan 26, 2000

Fund NASA to Mars, but with less micro-management

Q: Would you encourage continued funding for Mars exploration, despite recent failures? A: Yes, I would. NASA still has a role. It’s very different today than it was 30 years ago, when they were the only agency to be able to get real exploration and win that race to the Moon.

What happened with Mars was a clear case of mismanagement. They tried to hasten the building of that particular vehicle and then micromanage it on the way. That doesn’t work. What we need more with NASA and with the Pentagon is less of this micromanaging, and have a fundamental reform of contracting where you say what your goals are with the vehicle and then put it in what they call “skunk works,” where you say, get the job done. We’re not going to micromanage you.

We want to go out to the stars. We want to go out to space. We are a curious people. And that’s not going to stop. But NASA has to realize it’s got to do it better and use those resources better to lead for the private sector.

Source: GOP Debate in Manchester NH , Jan 26, 2000

Aggressive space program, but via private sector

Q: How aggressive should America’s space program be in the 21st century? A: Oh, we’re going to have a very aggressive space program. But unlike what we had in the 1960’s, you’re going to see a lot more involvement by the private sector. Thanks to technology, this is becoming, in effect, cheaper and cheaper. They’re finding new ways to get these rocket ships up. And they should bear the risks when they don’t work instead of American taxpayers. So NASA has a role as a prodder, doing exploration, getting information. But I want the private sector to be more aggressively involved, just as we did exploring the Earth, we can do now, thanks to technology, the same thing with space.
Source: GOP Debate in Manchester NH , Jan 26, 2000

Internet tax ban fosters growth

Q: Do you support taxing Internet commerce? A: I believe the moratorium should be made permanent, because the Internet is allowing the growth of commerce in America. It also means more jobs.
Source: Republican debate in West Columbia, South Carolina , Jan 7, 2000

Drop Microsoft case; new tech makes it obsolete

Q: Is it in America’s best interest to break up Microsoft in order to foster competition in the software industry? A: This is an example of a Washington-based approach to trying to micromanage our economy. Already, Microsoft faces a real challenge from the explosion of band width, so the suit is going to be moot in a matter of a few months or a few years. Why go forward with something that technology has made obsolete? And in the case of Microsoft, what was the damage done?
Source: New Hampshire GOP Debates , Dec 3, 1999

Use high-tech advantage to stay ahead of our adversaries

I happen to be an optimist. My optimism stems from the fact that we have a unique opportunity to use America’s high-tech advantage to stay ahead of our current and future adversaries. New technology can help provide more accurate intelligence on the military power & political intentions of other countries, particularly in light of China’s disturbing military buildup. It can also help us develop better defenses. But nothing positive will happen unless we make the most of such opportunities.
Source: “A New Birth of Freedom,” p. 154 , Nov 9, 1999

Radio Free Europe helped spark a freedom revolution

[As chairman] of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, [I saw] the power of radio technology to bring hope to those living in fear & to inspire [those] yearning to be free. Reagan believed passionately that it could be used to help create an environment for promoting truth, tolerance, pluralism, and democracy, and he wanted us to take full advantage of the technology to help spark a freedom revolution behind the Iron Curtain and then help democracy really take hold there. That is precisely what we did.
Source: “A New Birth of Freedom,” p. 156 , Nov 9, 1999

Plan defenses against cyber-warfare

[We should take] the emerging threat of cyber-warfare very seriously. That means developing new strategies and new technologies to protect our economies from random and systematic attacks against our information infrastructures. In an Information Age economy, a disruption in the flow of information can have devastating global repercussions. This is a reminder that while the Microchip Age [presents] opportunity and economic growth, it also creates new risks and threats for which we must plan ahead.
Source: “A New Birth of Freedom,” p. 175 , Nov 9, 1999

“Microchip Age” favors decentralization

The microchip extends the reach of the human brain the way machines extended the reach of human muscle in the 19th century. The Machine Age was all about bigness - big factories, big companies, big unions, big cities and big government. The Microchip Age is anti-hierarchical, anti-authoritarian, anti-centralization. Washington [should] make the tax, regulatory and legal reforms necessary to let small business owners and entrepreneurs compete and win in the Microchip Age.
Source: www.forbes2000.com “Moral Compass” , May 21, 1999

Ban taxes on Internet commerce and phone service

Forbes is committed to ensuring that America’s technology industry continues to be the world innovation leader, and a powerful engine creating high-paying jobs and growing our own domestic economy. Steve has pressed Washington to ban taxes on Internet commerce; repeal the “Gore Tax” on long-distance phone service; pass tort reform laws to stop trial lawyers trying to destroy the technology industry; and eliminate capital gains taxes to create more high-tech small businesses.
Source: www.forbes2000.com “Economic Security” , May 21, 1999

We have technology for Y2K, but lack leadership

“Y2K is not a technology crisis, it’s a leadership crisis,” says Steve. “We have the technology and money to fix every computer and software program affected. What we have not had is real leadership from the White House. Steve urged the Administration to move quickly and decisively to fix the federal Y2K computer crisis, protect the US economy from crippling Y2K class-action lawsuits, and raise domestic and international awareness of the problem and its solutions.
Source: www.forbes2000.com “Economic Security” , May 21, 1999

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