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Keep politicians' mitts off the Net



Politicians: Keep your mitts off the Net

In response to the April 12 column by Rob Atkinson, "Who's driving the New Economy train?":

It is amusing to see the politicians falling all over themselves trying to run out in front of the new technology parade. One of the main reasons that the new technology was able to grow at such a phenomenal rate is that the technology changed to fast for the politicians to get in there and muck it up with regulation and taxation. Democrats Tom Daschle and Dick Gephardt, the heroes of your editorial, have a long history of protectionism and opposition to economic restructuring.

Politicians as a group inevitably work to sustain and protect existing interests. That's where the campaign contributions come from, and that's about as far the politicians' collective imaginations carry them. The Internet and new computer, Internet and communications technologies took off when they escaped from government labs and evolved in the technological rainforest which is the open market. The attempt now to bring these technologies back under the leadership and control of government will only impede their progress.

So who should "Drive the new economy train"? Not government, not magazine editorial writers, and not think-tank pundits. The people who drive the train should be the people who have the brains and guts to invent and invest in the organizations that build and sell the new technology to individuals and corporations. Government should just get out of the way and let it happen. There may be a need at some point to pass legislation to create some rules of the road, but government should have the good sense to stay out of the driver's seat.

Mike Cohen