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New York Times technology columnist Farhad Manjoo has a column about the new tax cut bill passed by the US Senate and House of Representatives this week, with President Trump slated to sign it at some point in the near future. Manjoo specifically looks at it from the perspective of technology companies and their impact on the economy and culture, and writes:

“To those who study how tech is altering society and the economy, the bill looks like the wrong fix for the wrong problem. The bill … does little to address the tech-abetted wave of economic displacement … that may be looming just off the horizon. And it also seems to intensify some of the structural problems in the tech business, including its increasing domination by five giants — Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook and Alphabet, Google’s parent company — which own some of the world’s most important economic platforms.

“These giants will see immediate and broad benefits from the tax bill. Multinational corporations with a lot of money parked offshore — Apple, Microsoft and Alphabet collectively hold about a half-trillion in cash — get a windfall from the bill. Under the new plan, offshore cash will be taxed at a one-time rate of 15.5 percent, a substantial break from the 35 percent the companies would have had to pay if they’d brought the money back to the United States under current law.”

Manjoo goes on:

“Though many of the economy’s structural problems predate the last decade’s rise of the tech behemoths, the innovations that Silicon Valley has been working on — things like e-commerce, cloud storage, artificial intelligence and the general digitization of everything and everyone around you — are some of the central protagonists in the economic story of our age.

“Among other economic concerns, these innovations are implicated in the rise of inequality; the expanding premium on education and skills; the decimation and dislocation of retail jobs; the rising urban-rural divide, and spiking housing costs in cities; and the rise of the ‘gig’ economy of contract workers who drive Ubers and rent out their spare bedrooms on Airbnb.”

You can read the entire column here.
KC's View:
I offer this story not because of any feeling one way or the other about the tax cut bill, but rather because the notion of government (this goes for both sides of aisle) not paying attention to important issues - like, in this case, the technology industry - sort of resonated with me. I suspect that one of the reasons that the bill did not focus on tech companies is that most people in government don’t really understand it.

I tend to believe that this is a common problem, especially in business - that which we do not understand, we tend to ignore.