The technological fallout surrounding Trump's first year in office
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It’s officially been a full year since Trump’s inauguration. Nothing he has said or done over the span of 2017 has cost him his job, and there still does not seem to be an impeachment on the horizon (no matter how hard we collectively wish).
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A new year is all about reflection, so what did 2017 mean for the United State’s technology sector under a Trump-led White House?
On the outside, Trump’s presidency so far has been a sight to behold. However, once you begin to unravel the various policies and legislation that Trump and his administration have committed themselves to creating and legalising over the past twelve months, laughter turns to a frightening realization.
An innate fear has certainly gripped the technological, scientific, educational and environmental sectors of the US government that the country and the world rely on in tandem. To successfully create and maintain a sustainable future for generations to come, care and attention go a long way to maintaining (and funding) vital and innovative research via individuals and companies that strive to make a difference.
If the past year is anything to go by, Trump and his mind are elsewhere regarding the importance of the technological world.
His stances on immigration, net neutrality and tax reform are beginning to have a dire impact on those working within the previously mentioned sectors, slowly creating an alarming void within a governmental faction overseen by the Trump administration that focuses more on travel bans and the construction of a wall between the United States and Mexico rather than the determinantal impact that these policies created during the past year.
Trump’s positions on these policies and his actions regarding them may not seem related to the technological world at all, but as we have begun to see this month courtesy of the Trump effect, the future doesn’t look so bright.
As explored by Issie Lapowsky in this fantastic WIRED article, the multiple (and confusing) immigration policies are beginning to hamper the United States ability to accommodate international students, with an average decline of 7% last year in contrast to the surging 25% increase of applications in neighbouring Canada.
‘International student exchange is an essential contributor to America’s economic competitiveness and national security’, said Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Policy in the Bureau for Educational and Cultural Affairs, Alyson L. Grunder via the Institute of International Education.
She further establishes the need to ‘develop the talent and skills necessary for 21st-century careers’, which is being hampered by the constant changes to Trump’s ‘travel ban’, and his recent comments regarding countries such as Haiti, El Salvador and parts of Africa.
A major portion of the big tech companies and start-ups within Silicon Valley are comprised of international employees and graduates, along with an upcoming generation of future employees and innovators that are already being affected by Trump’s controversial stance on DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).
Then there are the issues regarding and surrounding net neutrality and the newly passed tax reform, benefiting American telecom providers (AT&T, Comcast) and companies that are not subject to corporate tax, only individual – which will benefit Trump immensely.
Trump and his administration believe that cutting taxes on ‘pass-through’ companies will raise wages for all workers, whilst failing to mention that it will benefit his own company (The Trump Organization) immensely.
Sure, the tax reform will benefit tech companies such as Apple, but it’s the weird precedent that Trump has created a tax reform to benefit himself first, and the rest of the United States second.
Who knows what 2018 will hold for the tech world, where these immigration policies will stand and whether the internet will become a monthly fee. What is certain, however, is that 2017 was a catalyst for a bleak future within these vital sectors of government that Trump now presides over, which are unsurprisingly lacking in science and technology experts, as explored in this startling RECODE article.
And what do you think about the technological fallout under Trump administration? Let us know in the comments down below.