Forget Wall Street – Silicon Valley is the new political power in Washington

You would think that tech people would know to fight statism, but no. Of course crony capitalism is tantalizing and as such tech has followed the siren song just like other industries. It didn’t – at least not whole hog – for a while.

But those days are long gone. Then add the scourge of political correctness that infects the Bay Area and one can see the problem. This is where the thought police – or at least their enablers – live. And live well.

(From The Guardian)

The landmark action taught Silicon Valley’s tech titans a painful lesson: play the political game or Washington will make your life difficult.

That made a particularly profound impact on Eric Schmidt, who as CEO of Novell and former CEO of Sun Microsystems had a front-row seat to Microsoft’s public neutering. He clung on to the cautionary tale when he was hired as CEO of Google in 2001. Under his leadership, Google vastly increased its investment in lobbying to make friends and influence policymakers in Capitol Hill.

The company spent just $80,000 on lobbying in 2003. Today, its parent company, Alphabet, spends more on lobbying than any other corporation – $9.5m in the first half of 2017 alone and $15.4m the previous year. In 2013, the company signed a lease on a 55,000-square-foot office, roughly the same size as the White House, less than a mile away from the Capitol Building.

And it’s not just Google. Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft – which was hamstrung by its lacklustre early efforts to court policymakers – have been pouring money into Washington.

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