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Aneesh Chopra  (Source: AFP)
CEA President Gary Shapiro says the government is silencing innovation

The Obama administration has already had a profound impact on technology.  From charging Intel with antitrust violations to taking majority ownership of GM and Chrysler, the administration's actions have profoundly affected the tech landscape.  And as new decisions, such as the proposed ACTA treaty and Copenhagen climate promises loom, the Obama administration is a hot topic at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show.

Obama's Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra was in Las Vegas yesterday, but received a rather icy welcome from Consumer Electronics Association President Gary Shapiro, who admonished the Obama administration's approach on many topics.

He offered mild criticism of the bailout of the financial and auto sectors, which he called "panic spending".  And he stated, "When it comes to innovation, there's a lot the government can do, and there's a lot they should not do.  The government doesn't spur innovation or entrepreneurship. The government often gets in the way."

Mr. Shapiro complains that the Obama administration isn't doing enough to make sure that the U.S.'s trade policy allows our goods to compete with cheaper goods elsewhere.  He also complains that they are dragging their feet about implementing measures to allow the faster transfer of tech savvy workers from nations like China and India.

An apologetic Chopra commented, "We have to eat our own dogfood.  Gary is right about the federal deficit. We are in an economic crisis but we are going to tackle it. We have to get it right."

Mr. Chopra is a graduate of John Hopkins and worked in government and as the managing director at a health think tank before taking on the role of government CTO.  The tech industry's leadership has thus far been rather mixed in their opinions on his leadership and that of the Obama administration.

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RE: You gotta be %^&* kidding me
By Ammohunt on 1/8/2010 3:12:52 PM , Rating: 4
Reserving funs to offer businesses loans for them to stay solvent != to nationalizing them whcih was Obamas approach not the prior administration.

This is capitalism GM should have been left to FAIL so other companies with better business sense like Ford or Toyota could come in and fill any vacuum left by GM.

RE: You gotta be %^&* kidding me
By amanojaku on 1/8/2010 3:36:35 PM , Rating: 2
GM wasn't nationalized. It was financially backed by the government to keep it from failing. GM employs nearly 250M people worldwide; the impact of letting them go during a recession would definitely lead to a depression, and would even stop a booming economy. Unfortunately, an organization the size of GM doesn't have many options for funding other than a government. You can spout capitalist ideals all you want, but if you were one of the 250M loosing your job because the government didn't help out you'd be pissed, especially if it meant no job prospects for the next 10 years. The outlook is THAT bad in some places, with folks simply moving in with family to make ends meet.

Providing funding is not the same as providing stability, however, and the government, like any lender, is presenting terms to ensure economic viability. If the government was nationalizing companies it would simply take them over without. The government is giving these companies a choice: take my money under my terms, or go find your funding elsewhere.

By the way, the government's involvement with GM revolved mostly around liquidation of assets in accordance with section 363 of the bankruptcy code. Once GM pays off its loans, or dies trying, it regains full control of its company. Needless to say, these aren't normal failures and the measure taken aren't normal as a result.

RE: You gotta be %^&* kidding me
By wookie1 on 1/8/2010 9:19:31 PM , Rating: 4
THe GM and Chrysler takeovers were simply paybacks to the union for support in the election. That's why the senior bondholders got shafted when the company was given to unions.

RE: You gotta be %^&* kidding me
By Ammohunt on 1/10/2010 8:58:10 AM , Rating: 2
The government owning a 51% share of a company is the Governement Nationalizing the company. it is no different that what Hugo Chavez did to the oil industry in Venezuela.

Either way you have a very screwed up view of what the role of governemnt should be. Proping up failed business models in my opinion is not one of them.

RE: You gotta be %^&* kidding me
By rcc on 1/11/2010 2:17:23 PM , Rating: 2
GM employs nearly 250M people worldwide;

I hope they abbreviate differently in your part of the world, cuz in mine you are off by 3 orders of magnitude.

RE: You gotta be %^&* kidding me
By vapore0n on 1/8/2010 3:51:22 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is that GM got too big to fail. Just try and think how bad the US would be if such company went under.
Not only GM but its suppliers would go under.

Ford and Toyota would have a really hard time filling in a space when no one has any money to buy their products.

RE: You gotta be %^&* kidding me
By omnicronx on 1/8/2010 3:58:54 PM , Rating: 3
Do yo really think Bush would have let GM fail had it gone bankrupt a year earlier?

Republican or Democrat, one way or another, GM would have been bailed out.

While I agree these companies should have been left to fail, there surely would have been backlash before the industry rebounded(which could have taken a while), and in the world of politics where only the here and the now counts, you are kidding yourself if you think action would have not been taken.

You would be shooting your party let alone yourself in the foot for doing so..

RE: You gotta be %^&* kidding me
By KCjoker on 1/8/2010 7:15:37 PM , Rating: 2
Difference is this Bush gave LOANS while Obama gave bail outs.

RE: You gotta be %^&* kidding me
By rdawise on 1/8/2010 9:32:31 PM , Rating: 1
For those with very short term memoryrs (coughKCjokercough) the bailout talks started DURING THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION. What he said is true neither Bush or Obama would have let the companies simply fail without some measure.

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