After Nevada, Silicon Valley Republicans should go for Marco Rubio

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If there’s one thing Republicans can offer startups, it’s a healthy dose of tax breaks and deregulation. Everything else though is a matter of debate.

The 2016 Republican platform is still being decided, and even after a decisive Nevada win by Trump, it is effectively a three-man race for the party’s nomination. Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are picking up most of the headlines, but Marco Rubio seems like the last ‘establishment’ candidate the GOP can offer in the primaries. Rubio is by far the most outspoken in his party’s leadership on startups, the sharing economy and other matters of concern for entrepreneurs. But, his views might not exactly be popular when compared to Clinton’s, Sanders’s or Bloomberg’s views on startups.

Here’s a quick rundown of what Rubio is offering.

Boosting the sharing economy


This is the theme of Marco Rubio’s platform for startups. He lauds Uber, Airbnb and anyone who is able to push on-demand platforms that reach customers more quickly. In a speech last year, he showcased NY startup Handy for its 11,000-strong user base for cleaning and maintenance freelancers. He has also mocked NYC taxi companies among others for their protests of Uber.

In a speech in October, he said, “The on-demand economy is a miracle that only American free enterprise could produce. That’s why it’s so shameful that the biggest obstacle to the growth of this platform is our very own government.”

He also stated that the tax code is out of date for dealing with workers on these platforms. “They can either be classified as full W2 employees or as 1099 independent contractors. But neither makes perfect sense.” He implies that employers should be able to add perks and extra training without the added responsibility of taking on a full employee, which would negatively affect workers’ ability to get healthcare through their employer. He points to the German third option, the “dependent contractor,” as an interesting blend of the two designations that might help companies like Uber weather their current, controversial relationships with their drivers.

Fewer regulations and clearer taxing rules

On lessenging regulations, he explained, “Federal regulators usually provide cost-benefit analyses for proposed regulations. But the status quo neglects the important question of whether the proposed rule will be an impediment to innovation, cause industries to consolidate into just a few firms, reduce consumer choice, or otherwise inhibit genuine competition.”

He has spoken out in support of the “disruptive” nature of the modern sharing economy, explicitly naming Uber and Airbnb as promising leaders here. Calling regulations “outdated” and prohibitive, he smoothly transitions between talking up regulatory hurdles and how new taxes on online sales would inhibit the darlings of Silicon Valley. Along these lines, he also proposes to block tax measures like those of the Marketplace Fairness Act, which in his words potentially subjects “online retailers to thousands of different tax systems and audits from those jurisdictions.”

He goes on to demand “clarity” for taxing digital goods and to avoid multiple taxation by state and local authorities. Far from being the first person to propose this, there have been bipartisan attempts to address multiple taxation of digital goods, such as the Digital Goods and Services Tax Fairness Act proposed by Reps. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) and Steve Cohen (D-Tenn) in 2013.

“Internet freedom,” not net neutrality

Net neutrality has been a partisan ballgame since the FCC instituted new regulations treating the internet like other telecom services, effectively preventing telecom companies from offering premium services to certain online services and websites such as faster internet, which could affect free speech. Rubio and other Republicans think that the government regulation is contricting speech anyway and inhibiting free enterprise.

On his website, it states, “President Obama’s net neutrality takeover of the internet, which subjects 21st century technology to an early 20th century regulatory system, will hamper innovation and raise costs for Internet users.”

That also means crushing public internet companies like those in Wilson, North Carolina and Chattanooga, Tennessee, in favor of private telecoms like Comcast. Rubio wants to “reallocate wireless spectrum controlled by the federal government, to shift it toward commercial wireless services.”

A Republican opening up immigration

H-1B admissions by country in 2005. India remains a top origin point for foreign technology professionals working in the United States (image credit, CC BY-SA 4.0 Alex Muller via Wikimedia Commons)
H-1B admissions by country in 2005. India remains a top origin point for foreign technology professionals working in the United States (image credit, CC BY-SA 4.0 Alex Muller via Wikimedia Commons)

While this might sound interesting at first glance, it has the hallmarks of a traditionally pro-business Republican. Rubio wants to increase the number of H-1B visas given out to foreign professionals recruited by hi-tech companies. That definitely contrasts with his rivals Donald Trump and Ted Cruz but places him on the same side as Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and if he enters the race, Michael Bloomberg.

It remains to be seen if Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurs and successful businessmen are going to go for a message that opposes net neutrality and argues that minimum wage should remain low so workers don’t get replaced with machines (looking at you McDonald’s). But if you’re a conservative in the San Francisco Bay or any emerging tech market in the United States, Rubio is probably the clearest choice in the Republican field to get your vote. Otherwise, make piece with Hillary Clinton or Michael Bloomberg.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Rubio doesn’t care about the American working class or even how Government programs are affecting the working class.

    Rubio does as Rubio is told by Senior Senators and his political donors. The man does not think for himself, and that is a dangerous thing and disqualifies him for the Office of President.

    When asked about the replacement of workers at Disney with H-1b workers. American workers that were better qualified and more experienced, and forced to train the H-1b workers. He stated he wasn’t sure whether Government could really help the situation (he just repeated the talking points of the Chamber of Commerce).

    WELL A GOVERNMENT PROGRAM CALLED THE H-1B VISA CAUSED THIS PROBLEM, BECAUSE H-1B IS A GOVERNMENT PROGRAM THAT BYPASSES THE NORMAL FREE MARKET FOR LABOR IN THE UNITED STATES.

    H-1b isn’t an even immigration program, since most H-1b visas are used by Offshore Outsourcing companies, companies that literally sponsor only handful of people for Green Card each year (of the hundreds of thousands of H-1b workers they employ).

    H-1b, isn’t even capitalism, H-1b is a semi-feudalistic government program that tethers a worker to a company, thereby bypassing the normal Free Market conditions in the United States. Unless of course, if you think Slavery is Capitalism, which it most certainly is not. Slavery was a government program that took away the God given rights of a person to own themselves and the products of their labors.

    Offshore Outsourcing companies use the most H-1b visas, and it is because of this deliberate over-subscription to the H-1b program that our domestic tech companies cannot get reliable access to the H-1b visa. Expanding the number of H-1b visas will not help, because the Offshore Outsourcing companies already are requesting 2x more H-1b visas than are available. Our domestic tech companies barely request half as many.

    I don’t care if the Offshore Outsourcing companies use the free market to find their workers, that’s fine. Hey Rubio, ever thought about that? Ever thought about having companies that are destroying jobs, shouldn’t be given a market manipulating hand from the Federal Government? Every thought, maybe, just maybe, they can try Capitalism? Have you ever thought?

    Why on Earth should we expand the H-1b government program, when most of the visas go to Offshore Outsourcing companies, that do nothing but destroy jobs in the United States. The only reason is the lies about the program spread by the Donor-Class candidates like Marco Rubio. Candidates that are the mental equivalent in IQ and behavior of comical puppets.

    Look we need a President that can think. Rubio doesn’t think. A President that can’t think is recipe for deeper disaster in times of crisis.

  2. “If you’re conservative and looking for a pro tech candidate, Marco Rubio is honestly your guy”

    pro tech? tell the truth, wogs. just say you’re anti-american.

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