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Democratic platform cites outsourcing, broadband issues

Some stands, including the call for universal broadband, mirror GOP positions

By Grant Gross
July 22, 2004 12:00 PM ET

IDG News Service - The U.S. government should focus on protecting U.S. workers' jobs and creating universal access to broadband services, says the Democratic Party's 2004 platform (download PDF).
The platform, approved by the party's Platform Committee July 10, doesn't mention offshore outsourcing by name, but it does seem to focus on the position taken by some Republicans that U.S. companies have the right to move jobs overseas. "We believe Americans are the smartest, toughest competitors in the world," the platform says. "Our products and ideas can compete and win anywhere, as long as we're given a fair chance. And our companies can keep and create jobs in America without sacrificing competitiveness."
While presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) hasn't been involved in a lot of technology issues in his Senate career, the Democratic Party included a handful of technology-related issues in its 41-page platform, which was released as the party heads toward its national convention in Boston next week. Some issues, including the party's advocacy of universally available broadband and a permanent research and development tax credit, mirror positions by many Republicans.
Most of the document, titled "Strong at Home, Respected in the World," focuses on issues not directly related to IT, including fighting terrorism, achieving energy independence and reforming health care. But in a section titled "Creating Good Jobs," it takes a handful of technology-related positions.
The document accuses President George W. Bush's administration of defending policies that "weaken America's competitive position and destroy American jobs. ... Instead of meeting the challenge of globalization by strengthening our workers' ability to compete and win, this administration uses globalization as an excuse not to fight for American jobs."
The Republican National Committee didn't immediately respond to a request for comments.
Democrats are concerned about offshore outsourcing, and the two parties have some major differences on the issue, said Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.), who has been frequently involved in congressional high-tech issues. In February, N. Gregory Mankiw, chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisors, called outsourcing "just a new way of doing international trade."
Tax laws should offer incentives to encourage U.S. companies to keep jobs at home, Boucher said, echoing a Kerry campaign theme. Democrats have decried a tax loophole in which corporations can defer taxes on money made overseas, as long as the money stays overseas.
Boucher suggested penalties for companies moving jobs offshore. "I think we should have tax incentives the reverse of what we have today," he said.
Technology groups such as the Information Technology Association of America have opposed most legislation designed to curb outsourcing, saying

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