Obama stimulus plan aims to boost digital economy
Debate may focus on whether U.S. tech investments can drive long-term productivity
Computerworld - WASHINGTON -- In pledging to "renew our information superhighway," President-elect Barack Obama has offered a broad outline of an economic stimulus plan likely to lead to major increases in IT spending -- especially for broadband deployment and technology for schools and health care.
Obama is mixing proposals that could offer a combination of gains, such as short-term spending on equipment and longer-term investments aimed at lasting productivity gains for the economy. The spending plan, outlined in barebones detail in Obama's weekly video address on Saturday, would mean new computers for schools, expanded broadband access -- particularly in rural areas -- and funding on technologies to reduce medical costs. That could mean increased spending on networking technologies to support services such as telemedicine.
Obama hasn't yet put a price tag on his plan, but since his overall stimulus package is expected to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars, money for any Internet-related initiatives could be large. But in spending big sums on technology, the Obama administration will have to show that these tech investments will deliver. Linking the bottom line to IT investments is not an easy case to make.
James Gabberty, a professor at Pace University's Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems in New York, said that determining the impact of tech spending on productivity is still difficult to measure. There's no quantitative figure that shows, for instance, "the growth of a nation's goods and services will be 'x' if you spend 'y' number of dollars on hardware, software and communications gear," Gabberty said.
He pointed to the recent financial meltdown as an example. How is it, he said, that among financial firms with similar growth rates, revenues per employee and roughly equal amounts of IT spending some failed while others did not. ''How can you have disparate yields?" Gabberty said.
But Robert Atkinson, who heads the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) in Washington and is also on the Obama transition team, believes tech investments will stimulate the economy. While many traditional economists focus on state and local government projects such as building roads and bridges, "we need to expand our vision," he said.
Obama's plan will represent the first major stimulus effort since the creation of a "digital economy," said Atkinson. As a result, the U.S. can't afford to focus only on a "consumption-based [effort] that leaves the nation with little to show after consumers spend the money and the economy gets back on track," according to a paper published by the ITIF in October. The ITIF argues that IT investments produce outsized productivity gains.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
If you use ‘password,’ one the worst passwords, as your password, fail to keep antivirus protection updated and don’t bother to deploy security patches to close critical vulnerabilities, then maybe you should consider working for the cybersecurity-clueless federal government; you’d fit right in, according to Senator Tom Coburn's cybersecurity and critical infrastructure report.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Changing the Way Government Works: Four Technology Trends that Drive Down Costs and Increase Productivity
- This paper discusses four technology-based approaches to improving processes and increasing
productivity while driving down department and agency costs.
- HP HAVEn: See the big picture in Big Data
- HP HAVEn is the industry's first comprehensive, scalable, open, and secure platform for Big Data. Enterprises are drowning in a sea of data...
- What Datapipe customers need to know about the new PCI DSS 3.0 compliance standard
- This handy quick reference outlines what PCI DSS 3.0 is, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the new...
- The 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements addressed by Peer 1 Hosting
- This handy quick reference outlines the 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the...
- Defense Throughout the Vulnerability Life Cycle
- This whitepaper provides insight into how to leverage threat and log management technologies to protect your IT assets throughout their vulnerability life cycle. All Government IT White Papers
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the...
- Containerization Options: How to Choose the Best DLP Solution for Your Organization This webcast outlines a framework for making the right choice when it comes to containerization approaches, along with the pros and cons of...
- Mobile Apps and Devices Slash Customer Cycle Time Consolidated Engineering Laboratories' field employees used to collect data on triplicate forms that were sometimes hard to read and difficult to manage. After...
- All Government IT Webcasts