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Can Tech Save The Economy?

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Concerned Nation is Heading in Wrong Direction on Spending, Trade, Immigration, Card Check and Taxes, Says Gary Shapiro

Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) President and CEO Gary Shapiro was named a “Titan of Technology” this morning by the Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) and delivered a groundbreaking speech on the future of the technology industry and our nation’s economy. Before several hundred technology executives at an event hosted by the NVTC, Shapiro called innovation and the tech industry our nation’s best hope for jobs and economic recovery. He also expressed concern that government may be making matters worse as our nation faces its toughest challenges since World War II.

Gary Shapiro, CEA, President and CEO

NVTC’s Titan of Technology honors leaders in the technology industry, including past honorees Michael Dell and Bill Gates. In his remarks, available at www.CE.org/Press/3486.asp, Shapiro questioned government policies restricting free trade, keeping the best and the brightest out of our nation and stifling innovation. “Will we continue the American tradition of openness and opportunity, or will we succumb to fear and close down our borders to the world?” Shapiro asked.

In recent public speaking engagements and written commentaries, Shapiro has been the only national technology association head to oppose card check and call publicly for scrutiny of massive increases in government spending and accumulation of debt, including the highest inflation-adjusted deficit since 1943. “We need to step back and take a ‘first do no harm’ approach to further legislative action,” Shapiro said in this morning’s NVTC speech. “If there are more stimulus packages they deserve hearings and public vetting. We need the best ideas America has to offer.”

Shapiro unveiled the new CEA Innovation Checklist, available online at www.CE.org/checklist. CEA’s checklist, provided to government officials and industry executives, poses six questions by which officials should evaluate all legislative proposals to ensure they benefit our country. Questions include whether the proposal creates jobs, spurs new technology, welcomes the best and brightest to the U.S. and rewards risk taking.

Applying the CEA checklist to certain pending proposals, Shapiro called for our government to once again welcome the best and brightest to our nation by expanding the H1B visa program. Expanding the program would allow technology companies to keep operations in the United States and more of the best students from around the world to attend our universities.

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Shapiro pushed for free trade urging passage of pending free trade agreements and opposing the reversion to protectionism that is seen in the “Buy American” provisions added to the stimulus package. He called on Congress to heed President Obama’s request to reverse the Buy American stimulus requirement. Protectionism hurts American companies more than it helps as with only five percent of the world’s population living in the United States, exports are vital to our nation’s success.

“Buy American is the type of Smoot-Hawley congressional action that led to years of the Great Depression,” Shapiro said in his NVTC remarks. “Protectionists forget that three-quarters of all technology sales will come from overseas. When you put up walls, you hurt American workers.”

Shapiro urged rejection of the Employee Free Choice Act, commonly known as “card check.” He said we should not bail out failing companies and indeed, allowing companies to fail is the best way to encourage innovation.

“If we focus on exports, avoid further debt and don’t lose on card check, we will come out of this recession with a strong technology-driven economy,” Shapiro said.

About CEA:
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the $172 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry. More than 2,200 companies enjoy the benefits of CEA membership, including legislative advocacy, market research, technical training and education, industry promotion and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA also sponsors and manages the International CES – Where Entertainment, Technology and Business Converge. All profits from CES are reinvested into CEA’s industry services.

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