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Obama vs. Romney: Do Their Tech Policies Differ?

The nonpartisan think tank Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) released a report comparing Obama-Biden to Romney-Ryan, point-by-point.

In an effort to spur more detailed conversation surrounding the future of the nation's technology policies, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) released a detailed comparison of the two presidential candidates' political stances surrounding technology. According to the ITIF, “the United States is engaged in a fierce race for innovation-based economic growth” that will require the future president to place science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship at the center of economic policymaking.

The organization called for innovative policymaking that includes “corporate tax and regulatory reform as well as increased federal investment in research and development (R&D), digital infrastructure, and skills.” The report -- which took information from campaign websites, policy documents, media reports, candidate statements, and party platforms -- outlines the positions of Gov. Romney and President Obama in 10 policy areas. The policy areas are Innovation and R&D, Energy Innovation, Tax, Manufacturing, Trade, Education and Skills, Broadband and Telecommunications, Regulation, Internet/Digital Economy, Life Sciences and Biotechnology.

While stressing the importance of technology, the ITIF encouraged the creation of a “bipartisan Washington Innovation Consensus” that recognizes that both parties have valuable ideas regarding how the nation should craft its policies.

The report concluded that neither candidate nor political party is correct on every issue and, therefore, ideas from each party should be adopted. Republicans, the report reads, are too focused on limiting government contributions to technological development; Democrats are too focused on “shackling” private American enterprise. A partisan approach to creating technology policy will only hamper the nation, the report suggests. “Each side has to bend if we are to restore U.S. economic greatness,” the report reads.

The Obama-Biden platform proposes keeping the private sector as the main source of innovation while creating government partnerships and intervening in the event of market failures. The Obama-Biden platform also supports the creation of stronger rules governing the Internet and telecommunications, and fostering the growth of the alternative energy industry.

The Romney-Ryan platform takes a traditional conservative approach toward business that places private enterprise at the center of technological innovation while decreasing government funding and involvement. The conservative platform also favors eliminating any government policy that steers investment in any particular direction, such as government policy that would assist the alternative energy industry. In the Romney-Ryan solution, the market and consumers would determine how the industry chooses to govern issues like privacy and telecommunications.

To learn about President Obama's stance on broadband taxation or to read about the Romney-Ryan plan to streamline energy regulations, or many other policy areas, read the full report.